Caring for Pets During the Holidays

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can often be a little overwhelming for pets. With so much going on it’s easy to forget that our four-footed family members need some attention, too. Maintaining routines and pet proofing your decked out halls are keys to a stress-free and enjoyable holiday for everyone in the family.

We created a helpful checklist (many of us around the office have pets) to ensure pet safety and comfort. Plus, we suggest some of our favorite pet gifts.

Pet Safety

  • Keep plants that are dangerous to dogs and cats out of paw’s way, including holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, lilies and pine needles.
  • Tape down or cover cords to avoid shocks, burns and other serious injuries. Unplug lights before leaving your home.
  • Anchor your Christmas tree to the ceiling or wall to prevent any unfortunate incidents.
  • Wait a day or two to decorate the tree to provide some time for adjustment and correction in behavior before the glass balls go up.
  • Spray Bitter Apple on cords or tree branches if your pet is overly curious. The smell will deter your pet without leaving a noticeable odor to humans.
  • Don’t let your pet drink the tree water. It can contain fertilizers, plus stagnant tree water can harbor bacteria.
  • Keep ornaments and tinsel out of reach of dogs and cats and forgo the artificial snow altogether.
  • Clean up after gifts are opened, including putting away toys with small parts and disposing of ribbons and wrapping paper.
  • Put candles on high shelves and use fireplace screens to avoid burns.


Pet Comfort

  • Reduce your pet’s stress by trying to keep your regular feeding and exercising schedule, even when you have guests or are preoccupied with holiday preparations.
  • Designate a safe, quiet room to confine your dog while you’re cooking and entertaining. (He might need a break from the chaos, too!)
  • Be sure your pets have a current I.D. in case they escape as guests come and go.
  • Keep fresh water out since dogs tend to pant more when they feel stressed.
  • Tell guests what is acceptable to feed your dog, so they can indulge your pet safely without spoiling or, worse, making him sick.


Our Favorite Pet Gifts

Whether you want to surprise a fellow pet lover with a unique gift or you want to lavish your own pet with up-to-the-minute style, check out our top five picks.

Our Leopard Pet Food Containers are so cute, you won’t want to put them away.

Every dog deserves a plush retreat, like our Berber Topped Dog Bed.

This personalized Dog Bowl Mat keeps floors clean while offering a fine dining experience.

Our go-anywhere Quilted Protector Pad is perfect for older dogs and puppies.

A special gift for any dog owner, our Dog Prints highlight features of more than 40 dog breeds.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


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    December 5, 2015

    I love Ballard Designs…but as a cat lover…it would be nice to see more kitty items in your product line. 🙂