For pet owners, this time of year poses new challenges, one of them being “How do I keep my pet away from the Christmas tree?” We’ve collected some tried-and-tested tips.
Decorate the tree gradually
Start with a bare tree as that’s plenty of excitement for your pets already. Sight unseen, an entire tree in the living room. Let your pets sniff around while supervised and wait for the initial excitement to settle. Then you can start decorating. Don’t rush to put out the gifts right away as so many new things can easily overwhelm even usually well-behaved pets.
Avoid edible decorations
It may be nice to get out some cinnamon decorations from your childhood or decorate with candy and chocolate but with pets, it may not be worth it. You'll end up constantly worrying if your pets will eventually get to the treats or knock down the tree trying. The smell might be wonderful and festive but there are safer options for making your home smell like Christmas: bake some gingerbread cookies or put aromatic sachets out of your pets’ reach.
Put fragile and valuable decorations up high
It may not seem intuitive to put the more treasured decorations high up on the tree (after all, it’s a higher fall if an accident happened) but generally, there's less of a chance your pet will be able to get to these. Attractive ornaments hung low might be chewed up or broken just as easily so keep them farther away from your pet's immediate reach.
Use a gate around the tree
One of the easy options for protecting the tree is a fence around it. Transparent plastic fences won’t obstruct the view of the gorgeous tree but might be enough for your pet to decide it’s too much trouble to climb over to get to the tree.
Work on your pet’s behavior
Most dogs as well as surprisingly many cats are very trainable and can be taught to stay away from certain objects, even when you’re not around to supervise. While the methods for training dogs and cats differ, working on your pet’s behavior doesn’t only make your pet more obedient but also provides much-needed mental stimulation for indoor pets. Make sure your pet’s home environment is comfortable (a cozy cat bed or warm cushion for your dog to rest next to you on the sofa make nice house gifts) and entertaining enough for them to leave the Christmas decorations be.