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How to Pet-Proof Your Christmas Tree

While hilarious, repeated Christmas tree mishaps can become a royal pain. They make excellent YouTube fodder, but it gets old after the hundredth time the tree topples over or an ornament shatters. Luckily there are several ways to pet-proof your Christmas trees so you can have a smooth-sailing holiday.

Fix the Problem with a Fake

Christmas tree purists might oppose artificial trees, but real trees have a number of disadvantages. The pine needles can cut delicate skin and are actually somewhat toxic to pets. If you have a pet that eats everything in sight, you definitely want to stay away from a real Christmas tree. Cats also tend to think trees are a giant scratching post – prompting them to scramble up the trunk.

Medium Is a Must-Have

If you have a large dog or a small pet that likes to climb, your animal is probably able to knock over a tabletop tree. It doesn’t help that these trees are also lightweight so it takes less strength to topple them. Stick to trees that rest on the floor and choose a medium one that’s approximately 5 feet tall. Anything larger will have you yelling, “Timber!” all December long.

Get Away from Glitter

Holiday decorations tend to be all shiny glamour and glitz, but sparkles are frequently extra-tempting for curious dogs and cats. If you end up selecting an artificial tree, opt for a natural-looking one. The shiny ones send a siren call to accident-prone pets. Also lay off the tinsel. While seemingly benign, tinsel can prove fatal if ingested.

Select a Stable Base

Don’t skimp when you go shopping for a Christmas tree base. Get the most stable one you can find. Once your tree is set up, keep the water inaccessible. While some pets are drawn to alluring decorations, some of them just want to drink the water around the trunk. Wrapping the base in tin foil also helps since dogs and cats hate the sensation of rubbing against the foil.

Location, Location, Location

Make sure you put your tree in an ideal location. The spot shouldn’t be too cramped and keep your tree away from other furniture. Pets will use chairs, sofas and tables as a “jumping off” point. They’ll launch themselves from the furniture to your tree!

Stick with Bitter Apple or Citrus Spray

Coat your tree with bitter apple or citrus spray. They’re non-toxic to pets but your animals can’t stand the smell. The sprays work like natural repellents.

Don’t Entice with Electricity

Power down the tree any time you can’t actively watch it. Pets can get in all sorts of trouble with string lights. Also be sure to use a short extension cord. Long ones look like a toy to curious paws! And If you can, tape down cords to the floor or wall.

Opt for an Alternative

If pet-proofing your Christmas tree sounds like too much of a hassle, simple forgo having a tree altogether. Embrace other holiday decorations or create an “alternative tree.” Some dog and cat owners make a paper tree and attach it to their living room wall. No harm in keeping things simple!

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