How to Make Your Winter Holiday Decorations Pet Friendly

Posted on
December 19, 2019
a golden retriever in front of a christmas tree
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Nothing gets you into the holiday spirit better than some cheerful decorations. No matter the holiday we want to hang up lights and bring out the decorations. But when you have a pet in the house you need to make sure your decorations are both festive and safe (for and from your indoor pets!) Read up on how you can make your decorations pet-proof for the winter holidays!

All of these decorations can lead to minor injuries in the house. Add Fauna Care healing sprays to your pet first-aid kit for minor cuts and burns your indoor pet may get this holiday season. The spray creates a moisture barrier that won’t get in the way of your pet getting involved in the holiday festivities! 

This article covers:

  • Pet-proofing Christmas decorations
  • Pet-proofing Hanukkah decorations

Christmas Decorations

Thanksgiving is over so you know the drill. Bring in the tree, wrap it in lights and hang the ornaments! These Christmas decorations are certainly eye-catching, for us and your pets. You have cats flinging ornaments off and dogs chewing at the tinsel. Some changes need to be made to ensure the safety of your pet and the decorations.

Christmas Tree

Let’s start with perhaps the biggest and most celebrated decoration of the house: the Christmas Tree. The tree has a lot of hazards going with it. You’re going to have to make some conscious decisions on the type of tree you get, how you set it up, and where you hang the ornaments. 

If you buy an artificial tree, you’ll need to avoid a tree with flocking on it. Flocking is the white spray added to trees to make it appear it has been covered in snow. Flocking is hazardous to dogs when they consume it. It’s best to avoid buying anything with flocking that may be in your dog’s reach, from trees to wreaths. 

If it’s a real tree you’re getting, one of your priorities has to be to keep your dog out of the bottom of it. Real trees have oil that can cause vomiting in dogs. Needles are also a hazard, as when ingested they can hurt the stomach and even puncture the lining of the intestinal tracts. The tree may also have preservatives on it. While these preservatives help keep your tree fresh, they run into and poison the water.  

Cat sitting under a decorated Christmas tree
The bottom of the tree has many perils for your pet! The water may be toxic to drink, the needles, and dangerous to eat, and all of your ornaments are going to get knocked down. There are several methods you can try to keep the pets out from under the Christmas tree!

To keep your pets away from the bottom, you have choice over several options. You can tightly wrap the bottom in a tree skirt and plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can also spray the base of the tree with lemon-scented air freshener to ward off the pets. For the especially tenacious pets it may be in everyone’s best interest if you elevate the Christmas tree. If the tree is small enough, and you have a big enough table, place your Christmas tree on the table to keep your pet out of the lower branches. Elevating can prove successful at deterring your pet, unless they’re also a climber or jumper. 

Tree Decorations

The decorations we wrap and hand on the tree have always been an issue with pets. Luckily we have a pretty good idea now what decorations to avoid and the most secure locations for the tree ornaments. 

Avoid using tinsel in any pet accessible areas. Tinsel is the shiny tree trimming that can cause serious harm to your pet if even a little bit of it is ingested. It can cause intestinal blockage, which may require surgery to remove. So to avoid an emergency trip to the vet, no tinsel.

Ornaments which hang in the lower branches are playing a dangerous game. The lower branches are the most accessible to pets, so to avoid anything being broken or chewed, move all ornaments (or just the important ones) to the top of the tree. You should also do this with lights to prevent your indoor pet from chewing on the cord.  

You should also avoid edible ornaments and decorations. Candy canes and strung together popcorn and cranberries will be too irresistible for an unsupervised pet. It will likely end in the foreseeable disaster of your pet jumping into and destroying your tree. Plus you don’t want your pet eating these decorations that can be hazardous for them to consume. So best to avoid edible decorations all together before they become a game and a treat. 


Mistletoe is a beloved Christmas decoration, but it may not be safe to have in the homes of pet owners. If you do hang mistletoe, keep it far out of reach of pets, as it has effects such as low blood pressure, a swollen mouth and throat tissue, and vomiting. However if you want to swap out mistletoe for another festive plant, you can try poinsettias. While this plant has a bad rep with pets, it’s actually not that bad. Of course if your pet consumes the entire plant they will have a reaction. But otherwise poinsettias have no effect if only a few leaves are consumed.


Candles are great for setting the festive mood, and less great for reckless pets. If you light a candle, it’s best to keep it under close supervision, in case a dog knocks it over or a cat hops up next to it. Candles are more likely to be set during this time of year and caution should be practiced, especially as other flammable Christmas decorations are around. 

Safe Space During Holiday Parties

Holiday parties are great to share holiday cheer with your favorite people, but don’t let the party distract you from your favorite pets. Parties are loud and crowded, which can intimidate any pet. To ensure your pet is comfortable during the party, set up a safe haven. Pick a room you don’t plan to make available to your guests and make it the pet safe space where your pet can escape to relax in. 

Outside, dog sitting almost under the table that is set up for a party
Pets can get a bit overwhelmed at parties. There are lots of new strangers, which may excite or scare your pets. To make the party safe and enjoyable for your pets as well, give them a room which they can retreat to when partying prove to be too much for them. 

Hanukkah Decorations

 It’s time for the holiday we’ve been looking forward to. Eight days of celebration filled with menorah lighting and dreidel spinning! Hanukkah decorations have some obvious and less obvious hazards for your indoor pets. Read about what precautions to take with Hanukkah decorations to avoid any holiday disasters. 


The lit menorah is the highlight of the holiday, but the open flames are an obvious concern for pets. Make sure your lit menorah is out of reach to your pet. Keep close supervision of the menorah to ensure your pet doesn’t knock it over or get themselves burned. If it’s a cat in the house, keep in mind your menorah may not be completely safe on a table as some cats like to jump up. If this is the case for you supervise the menorah and your pet for the duration of the menorah being lit. 

A menorah with all the candles lit
Keep pets away from the lit menorah! They may knock it over and cause a fire, or burn and injure themselves. Keep your menorah in a secure location and keep close supervision on your indoor pet. 

Game Pieces

Hanukkah games include small pieces that are hazardous for pets to consume. Once you’ve finished a game make sure to safely put away the dreidel so your pet doesn’t choke on it while you’re not looking. Chocolate gold coins should also be kept away from pets. The chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine which is toxic to pets, and the shiny foil wrapper if consumed can cause intestinal issues. The chocolate coins should therefore also be kept in a place not accessible to your indoor pets. 

Hanukkah Meals

Latkes and sufganiyot (doughnuts) are not pet-friendly. If your pet gets their paws on these delicious foods, they may have a variety of gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting. Other dangerous ingredients such as onions can cause Heinz body anemia in both cats and dogs. Your cat or dog best stick to their pet food.  

We enjoy our end-of-the-year holidays as we gather friends and family and bring out the decorations that complete the holiday cheer. This winter your pet deserves for their holiday gift a bit more attention from you! Keep them occupied this holiday season, which will not only make their days, but will also keep their eyes off of the holiday prizes you’ve set up in the house. Happy holidays! 

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Posted on
December 19, 2019

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