Decorations dazzle the eyes and minds of many a holiday reveler and our curious pet companions are rarely exempt from this same fascination. Unfortunately, what we humans often find to be ambient and festive, pets tend to consider a sparkling invitation to all out mad destruction. From shattered ornaments to chomped up garland, (not to mention those toppled trees!) the opportunities for yuletide obliteration can be found just about anywhere.
During our first season with Bear we learned just how much he loves to whack the knick-knacks from any reachable surface, make off with anything even resembling ribbon (and hide it in places you only discover 2 years later,) and yes…bring down the tree. To be fair, he only did that once, but he’s still pretty young so we’re not counting on him keeping a low score.
Now some animals don’t make much of a fuss about all the glittery changes and if you happen to be one of those lucky pet people who doesn’t face these kinds of problems during the season- enjoy your holidays while the rest of us try not to resent you too much. For those of us who do have little whirling furballs of annihilation, here are some tips that might help you, your pet pals, and your decorations get safely through season:
- Hide your cords in places pets can’t get to. Not only is chewing destructive to your festive ensemble, it can be incredibly dangerous for those unwitting little mouths.
- Use plastic ball ornaments instead of glass. If you can’t keep curiosity in check sometimes it’s better to let it have its way. Playing daily ornament pickup isn’t fun, but at least if they’re only plastic, no real harm’s done.
- Mix in a new toy, or two, when you bring out the decorations so your pals have something of their own to investigate during all the festive changes. Make sure to keep some toys out too so they’ll always have something to bat around, or gnaw on instead of your treasured décor.
- Mind those poinsettias, or any other new plants, because most of them are deadly to our four legged friends. Try setting out a Christmas cactus instead. They might not be quite as festive, but for cats and canines alike they’re also non-toxic.
- Reinforce good behavior with extra affection and treats. It’s a crazy time of year and some pets act out simply because they’re confused, or even frightened. Make sure things like litter box locations and potty routines don’t change too much and when you see your pet doing well, don’t forget to remind them that they’re a good sport for putting up with all this holiday madness.
- Tin foil and citrus sprays can keep kitties from prowling around the baked goods. For the best security use lidded dishes and containers that make nibbling pretty much impossible. You might also want to monitor where you place your goodies. Our little Bearnado sometimes shoves whole cakes off the counter just to make things extra fun.
- While decorating, let your pets sniff and inspect items before they get placed. We’ve noticed a lot of that initial curiosity wears off once an animal’s had time to give things a once over. It’s not fool proof, because almost nothing is, but it can help prevent a lot of disastrous investigations.
- Bypass those cute costumes even though they’re really adorable! Some animals might think playing dress up’s a real howl, while others are ready to claw your face off. If you have one of the latter it’s probably better to skip the elf ears and stick to decking the halls. And if you just have to make that Spot Santa photo for the annual Christmas card, make sure it’s brief and that your pet gets lots of praise for their model participation.
- Above all – pay attention to your pets. They’ll usually give you clues as to what works and what doesn’t. Like any other member of your household, compromises might be required, but in time, with a little effort and patience, you can all find your way to a very happy holiday routine.
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