Most people would agree that there’s nothing like the look and feel of a live Christmas tree.  It makes a home smell so nice and has a texture that you just don’t get with artificial trees, but how will it affect your pets?

Just like people, our pets tend to spend more time indoors during the winter months, and that’s especially true during the holiday season.  So, when choosing your holiday tree (and other decorations), it’s important to consider them, as well.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If your pet has seasonal allergies that seem to be at their peak during spring or fall, the most common culprits are things like grasses, weeds, and trees. Mold spores are often a cause, as well.  So, when you bring a live plant or tree into your home, it’s safe to say that it will have the same affect.  If you notice any unusual redness of the skin or overall itchiness that occurs around the time that you bring your tree into your home, speak with your family veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist.  It’s very likely exposure to the tree (and the mold spores it may be carrying) could be the cause of your pet’s unexpected discomfort.
  • It’s a fact that cats absolutely love shiny dangling “toys”, and in this case, that applies to your holiday ornaments. The ornaments can be dangerous to pets all on their own, but it may be compounded by the smell of a live tree.  For some cats, live evergreen trees are more attractive than artificial ones.  You can offset this a bit by placing the tree in a corner where access is limited, and by choosing ornaments that are not easily destroyed.
  • If you have chosen a live Christmas tree, remember that the trees have often been exposed to fertilizers and other toxic compounds. The last thing you want is for your dog or cat to be exposed to these harmful substances.  The chemicals find their way into the water that is kept at the base of your tree, so be sure that your pets are not able to drink from it.  One way to deter your pets is to simply wrap a towel around the base so that they no longer notice the water or have access to the base.

Something else to consider, whether you have chosen a live or artificial tree, is the risk of electrocution that is associated with Christmas tree lights and extension cords.  Electrocution is a relatively common pet emergency during the holiday season, and we want to encourage to take it seriously.  Be sure to keep all cords as hidden as possible by running them behind the tree or under adjacent furniture.  There are also cord covers that are available at many pet supply and home improvement stores.

Featured Photo Credit: aarontait via Compfight cc