How to Pet-Proof Your Holiday Dcor

Does your cat or dog destroy your holiday decorations as quickly as you put them up? Never fear: You can have your pet and your garland too! We asked the American Kennel Club's animal behavioral specialists for holiday pet-proofing tips.

Avoid Tasty Decor
Those cranberry or popcorn strands may look pretty, but they also smell delicious to your pup. When decorating your home, avoid using food as décor—animals don't know the difference. If your family pet eats them, they can cause blockages, which often require surgery to remove.

Don't Catch the Eye
Nothing catches a kitty's eye like a swinging, round, shiny object. Keep your cat from pouncing on your favorite ornaments by placing tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle higher up on your tree. Fragile or valuable ornaments should also be hung at least two-thirds of the way up the tree where they can't be reached. Use floral wire to secure lower ornaments to the branches.

Frightening Flora
As lovely as the scent of pine is, real Christmas trees pose threats to the health of your pet. Consider an artificial tree, or, if a natural tree is a must-have, make sure animals are supervised when in the room with the tree. If your pet swallows pine needles or drinks tree water, it can cause stomach irritation. Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets and should be kept out of reach.

Chompers and Chewers
Got a pet that loves to chew or claw wires? Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your pup can’t reach them. Indoors, try pretty patterned Japanese masking tape to add a festive touch to your pet proofing.

Dangerous Delicacies
Common holiday foods like butter, meat, and candy can make pets very ill. (Baking chocolate and dark chocolate in particular can be very dangerous for cats and dogs.) Take care to keep these foods out of reach and ask your guests to refrain from sneaking treats to your pets.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit http://www.akc.org/.

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