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How to Pet Proof Your Christmas Tree

Artificial Christmas trees are beautiful to behold, are the centerpieces to holiday decor and fill the home with Christmas spirit. However, they can be a danger for pets, as these large and colorful centerpieces are magnetic to the eyes, paws, noses and tongues of your four-legged friends.

Pet-proof your Christmas tree with these tips:

Keep them away from the tree

Christmas trees and pets do not mix, and you may have to lock your tree or your pet away from one and the other. Very small pets, such as toy dogs and rabbits, may not need protection (but can be kept from the tree with small, foot-high barriers). Other pets may need barriers that they cannot climb on or topple over. Artificialtrees.com suggests baby gates to keep your pet away from the tree. However, larger dogs and cats may need to be kept out of the room where the tree is kept, as they have a higher reach (cats love to climb) and will be able to jump over or bulldoze their way through gates with their strength.

Deter them with smells

Cats are known to hate citrus smells so have them liberally around your tree. Orange peels or orange air fresheners at the base of the tree are a good idea. Both cats and dogs are turned off with the smell of citronella oil, so use an atomizer to spray the oil diluted in a bit of water on pinecones or other ornaments that do not sustain water damage. They won’t approach a tree that irritates their strong sense of smell

Decorate your tree so it won’t be attractive to pets

Cats are attracted to tinsel and ribbon, so avoid these decorations to keep the feline in the house away. The life-like bark of artificial Christmas trees can also be very attractive to dogs who love to chew. Wrap your tree in fabric or paper at its base so Fido won’t be tempted to try it as a chew toy. Never decorate with edible items; if it smells like food to pets, they will try their best to reach it. (That means no peppermint canes, strung popcorn strings or cookie ornaments, especially chocolate items!)

Train them to stay away

Use a spray bottle or other training tools for pets and use them repeatedly when they approach the tree. Continued association with water or a jerk on a choke collar will eventually deter them from trying to conquer it on a daily basis.

Secure all items (including your tree)

Whether you use a rope or wire to secure the tree to the wall, make sure it is perfectly steady and fastened so it will not tip over. Avoid glass ornaments that might fall and break. Securely hang each decorative piece so it will not drop from the tree and be grabbed by an excited pet to taste. Hide electrical cords from pets that chew. Accidents can happen in a house with a pet, and preventative measures will ensure that there will not be accidental swallowing of plastic Santa Claus ornaments!

Pet-proofing your Christmas tree requires diligence and the knowledge of the personalities of your four-legged friends. Cater your pet-proofing technique to fit the needs of your family and pet so you that your tree and your beloved companions are safe this holiday season.

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