If you're a new pet owner, you might not have thought about how you're now going to decorate your home for Christmas. Before our dog joined the family, our house was like Santa's grotto, a huge 8ft tree in the living room with decorations on every branch, tinsel on every surface, parcels under the tree before Christmas eve (the elves dropped them off early) and fairy lights in every room. We'd had our puppy 3 months before we started our usual Christmas prep and after about an hour of the decorations being put up, we soon realised that we were going to have to re-think the whole lot.

The dog had pulled off every bauble from the bottom of the tree along with half the pine needles, was running around the house with tinsel in his mouth and he had tried to chew every fairy light cable that was in his sight.

As you can imagine, it wasn't really the magical start to Christmas that we'd imagined, it also wasn't our puppies fault. In essence, he is still a young dog who enjoys playing and causing mischief, and we should have realised that all the sparkle and twinkling lights would be too tempting.

It's not only dogs that can cause chaos, cat's are also prone to climbing Christmas trees and playing with the decorations, so I'm hoping that these tips will help make the start of the festive season a little less stressful.

 

1. It's advisable to purchase plastic ornaments and lights rather than glass and placing these further up the tree out of your pets reach.

2. Find the right location for your tree and make sure that it can't be easily knocked over. We secured ours by attaching small hooks to the wall and tying string around the pole of the tree. I have also seen pictures of people using unfolded pet cages to surround the tree.

3. We used to have chocolate decorations hanging on the tree, but we now put these in a Christmas box which is kept on the sideboard. You could pop them towards the top of the tree but if they had been knocked off it could have caused problems for our dog, so we decided against it.

4. The little bits that fall off tinsel can be very attractive to young pets, but if they are eaten they could get tangled in their stomachs. You could replace tinsel with decretive bows that can be placed high up away from your pets inquisitive eyes and paws.

5. I've heard that some people spray orange oil around the base of their trees to stop cats from climbing up. Cats are known to dislike this citrus smell as well as citronella, so it might be worth giving this a try.

6. On Christmas Eve we shut the door to the living room so our dog can't enter. Not only does this stop Santa being spooked by him, but it also avoids the disappointment of all our presents being ripped open when we go down on Christmas morning. Once all the presents have been opened and the paper tided away we let the dog back in to enjoy the festivities.

If you have any more top Christmas tips for pets, pop us an email to [email protected]