LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Decorating for Christmas can bring lots of joy... unless you have an overly curious pet.

You know the type: the cat or dog who thinks your tree and everything on it is their domain.

So, what can you do to keep your tree merry and your pets safe this holiday season?

Many of us look forward to decorating for the holidays, but if a new pet has joined the family this year, it may be a bit of a shock to them... and to you as well.

Viewer Mandy Huffman reached out, asking, "Can you please give me some tips on how to keep my cat out of my Christmas tree? I had to take it down and am very sad about it."

So, what is it about Christmas trees that attract your animals and how does it affect them? According to Veterinarian Janine Oliver, most real Christmas trees are some sort of pine, which can be very irritating to pets.

"It's not considered deadly, but irritating to the mouth and GI tract in animals. anything that a dog chews on can become a foreign body," Oliver said. "Cats tend to be very attracted to tinsels and things like that, stringy things."

She also explained pine oil and sap are the problems. That's also why you shouldn't let your pet drink water from the tree stand.

Side effects include upset tummies and all that goes along with it, which is something you do not want to deal with when you have family in town for Christmas.


So, how can you make Christmas trees less attractive to your pet?

"People who don't have the ability to keep their animal in another room from the Christmas tree, I recommend hanging bells on the lower branches so that as your cat or dog decides to encroach on the tree, you get a warning and stop them from whatever mischief they're about to get into."

Her other ideas:

  • put orange peels in the tree water, as cats don't like orange.
  • try hanging cinnamon sticks on your tree—neither cats nor dogs like the hot, spicy smell.


Oranges and cinnamon aren't poisonous and might just do the trick. But, if your pet eats anything and everything regardless of how nasty it tastes, your only solution is to supervise or keep pets away from your Christmas tree.

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