11 tips to make your home pet-friendly this Christmas

French bulldogs

From trees sprouting up in the living room to flashing lights on the front door, Christmas can be a confusing time for our four-pawed friends. Topped off with hazardous holiday treats and decorations around the home, it can also be unsafe.

Safe and happy pets are always at the top of every pet owners’ wish list, and so TrustedHousesitters.com, the world’s largest house and pet sitting platform, has put together a survival guide for a pet-friendly Christmas. The eleven tips will help you find everything you need to know to make sure your pet stays merry and bright over the festive season.


1. Keep them away from the Christmas tree

Glittering with lights and adorned with ornaments, a Christmas tree is the ultimate festive feature for any home. In the adorable eyes of a pet, however, it can easily be mistaken for a giant chew toy or a shiny climbing frame.

To avoid calling ‘Timber!’ or causing an accident this Christmas, make sure your tree is sturdy, secure, and positioned in a safe place away from your pet’s usual play area.

2. Deck the halls with pet-friendly Christmas plants

Decking the halls with boughs of Holly and other festive flowers may seem harmless, but did you know that not all Christmas plants are pet-friendly?

In fact, most plants traditionally associated with the season are toxic to cats and dogs. The list even includes holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias. So, if you have a four-pawed friend in the home over the holidays, be sure to only decorate with safe plants, such as African Violets, Roses, or a Christmas Cactus.


3. Dangle your decorations high

If your pet enjoys playing with toys like tennis balls or fishing rods, imagine their excitement when they see a tree full of shiny round baubles and glittery tinsel.

In the wrong paws, your pretty baubles can quickly become a choking hazard. To avoid the temptation to paw, play, or gnaw on them, hang your decorations high and avoid displaying anything edible. For extra peace of mind, you can also pet-proof your Christmas tree by only hanging ornaments labelled as non-toxic.

4. Pick up those pesky pine needles

The hazards to your pets aren’t just on the tree, they can be found underneath it too. Whether you have a real or artificial Christmas tree, it’s important to regularly pick up any fallen needles from the floor. With even the plastic ones getting stuck in paws, pesky pine needles are a common cause of pain and discomfort for pets at Christmas.

5. Beware of feeding them festive treats

From puddings and pies to turkey with all the trimmings, ‘tis the season of temptation for foodies. And while indulging can leave us feeling a little uncomfortable, many Christmas foods can make our pets extremely unwell.

Turkey bones can cause your pet to choke, and festive favourites like raisin-filled mince pies and Christmas cake can poison them. You must also make sure those tins of chocolates are kept away from your pet because chocolate is highly toxic to both pups and kitties.

6. Create a safe and snug getaway grotto

With flashing lights, loud music, and family members around every corner, Christmas can be overwhelming for everyone — particularly our pets.

To make sure your pet has a happy Christmas, you can create a safe space for them to retreat to when they feel the festivities getting too much. Whether it’s a spare room or a snug corner in the kitchen, all it needs is their bed, a favourite toy or two, and some food and water. If your family party is particularly loud, you can also cancel out the noise by putting on the radio or television.


7. Be sure to wrap it up

Tags, ribbons, and bows may look pretty, but they can quickly turn into a choking hazard for our pets. This doesn’t mean all owners must only use plain packaging and paper — just make sure you tidy away any wrapping paper as you go.

8. Give them the gift of their regular routine

Packed with parties and plans to see friends and family, it’s easy to get swept up in the season’s festivities and fun. However, it’s important to remember the importance of our pet’s routines; from their walks in the fresh air to regular feeding and fuss, it’s this familiar pattern that keeps our pets feeling safe and happy.


9. Let them stay safe at home with a special little helper

Going away for the festive season? By finding a kind and trusted pet sitter to stay in your home while you’re away, your pet can stick to their much-loved routine. They’ll stay safe at home for Christmas, and you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with complete peace of mind.


10. Treat them to a pet-friendly present

Let your good boy or girl know they’re on Santa’s Nice List by treating them to a Christmas gift. Whether it’s a chewy snack or new toy, the special treat will make them feel part of the festivities and might even keep them entertained during the hustle and bustle of the big day.

Alternatively, let your pet share the gift of love by donating to a pet charity in their name to help fellow pets less fortunate, or buy them a gift that gives back to an animal charity.

11. Prepare your pet for fireworks

Once your pet-friendly Christmas is over, it’s time to prepare for New Year’s Eve.

With fireworks playing a big part in the celebrations, it can be a very distressing time for animals of all sizes. However, you can help them welcome in the new year with a wagging tail by keeping them indoors with easy access to their bed, food, and water. By turning on the television or radio, and covering the cages of smaller animals, you can also help cancel out the noise.