woman decorating the christmas tree with her dog

Holidays are a time of joy, festive gatherings, and gift-giving! And if you’re a pet owner, you know that your furry friends love to participate in all of the festivities, from snacking to unwrapping new toys. Here at Bayside Animal Hospital, we dive into our holiday decorating by keeping these simple dos and don’ts in mind. These will ensure that all of our clients have the best season yet— and holiday decorating with pets is filled with the ultimate care, love, and joy the season brings, as well as pet holiday safety.

DO: Reconsider Fake Snow and Icy Elements

small white dog surrounded by fake snow flocking and christmas decorations

Although faux snow, flocking, and tinsel can add interest to mantels and reflect your holiday lights beautifully, dogs and cats are also attracted to the shine and shimmer. If ingested, tinsel, fake snow, and flocking can create blockages in your pet’s digestive tract, which could require surgery to remedy. Choose alternatives like traditional popcorn garlands, ribbons, or bows.

DON’T: Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Although lovely, real mistletoe and holly are also highly toxic to pets. Poinsettias are extremely popular this time of year, and although they are not poisonous, they can cause tummy upsets if eaten. If these are a must for your holiday decorating, consider using silk versions of fake plants for these species. They’ll still add all the vibrant colors without the risk!

If you prefer live trees for your holiday centerpiece, choose your evergreen wisely. Although most are non-toxic to dogs and cats, the needles may cause oral irritation and upset stomachs if eaten by curious pets.

DO: Safely Secure the Tree

Cat looking at the camera menacingly while standing under christmas tree

For those of us who celebrate Christmas, a well-chosen, purposefully-decorated tree (real or artificial) is the centerpiece of all our holiday cheer. However, our favorite element of the holidays can easily topple as four-legged friends run and romp (or try to climb). Use guide wires, that are invisible to the naked eye, to safely attach your Christmas tree to the ceiling or wall. Or, consider vintage tabletop trees if you have rambunctious kittens or puppies or are decorating a small space.

DON’T: Tempt Your Pets

Holiday decorating should invite your guests to enjoy drinks, gifts, and meals together…not your pets. Long tablecloths and runners look a lot like toys to your dog and/or cat, so opt for shorter options or festive placemats to create your formal tablescape for holiday meals.

DO: Have a Holly Jolly Holiday with Pets

dog laying on a couch near a christmas tree

Our fur babies bring so much joy to our lives. It only takes a few minutes to ensure that this joyful holiday season allows them the space to continue to give the gift of their love in the coming year. With a few minor tweaks to your pre-pet holiday decorating, you can create a festive, inviting, pet-friendly space for all your loved ones to safely enjoy the season! If you have questions about what kind of holiday decorating to consider for your pet, browse our blog for more pet-friendly holiday tips or ask your favorite Bayside veterinarian or vet tech.