Image of a cat beside the Christmas tree

It ain’t Christmas without the Christmas tree. Each year, families gather to fashion the best Christmas bush. But for pet owners, prepping can be quite a challenge.

Dogs and cats have a notorious reputation for ruining Christmas trees. You don’t want your Christmas shrub to end up in the garbage before it's time.

More importantly, you don’t want your pet to get serious injuries from glass shards or broken ornaments. Follow these steps to cat-proof and dog-proof your Christmas tree.

1. Choose a Medium-Sized Tree

Large trees take a lot of space and could turn into unsafe hideouts for pets. Medium-sized trees are roughly 5 feet tall and are just the right size.

Image of 2 dogs and a cat in front of a Christmas tree

On the other hand, avoid small trees as your dog or cat could easily topple them.

2. Use Simple Decorations

Cats and dogs are attracted to flashy, glowing ornaments, so it’s best to use simple ones. Avoid using glass as it can break easily and hurt your pet. Try using lightweight or paper decorations.

Photo of a cat eyeing on a decor

Steer clear of items that your pets might want to chew like thin ribbon or salt dough ornaments — they can deliver a toxic level of salt to dogs. You may even want to avoid decorating your tree for a few days so your pet can get used to it.

3. Get an Artificial Tree

If possible, consider getting an artificial tree. Real trees are a natural scratching post for cats. Alternatively, wrap the trunk of your tree with tin foil to dissuade your cat from scratching it.

Photo of a cat hiding under a Christmas tree

Your cat might want to climb to the top of the tree, potentially damaging the whole setup and hurting your cat. Some trees have sharp needles that can hurt your pet. Artificial trees, on the other hand, are less dangerous and soft.

4. Pick the Right Location

Christmas trees and pets do not mix. Don’t place your tree near furniture as cats can easily reach them when climbing on other items. When decorating your tree, make sure that your pets aren’t around; they might think that you’re playing with them.

Image of a dog behaving beside a Christmas tree

Try putting your tree in a different room where your pet cannot reach it. Remember to close the door when you go out.

5. Keep it Stable

Keep your Christmas tree stable by using a wide, solid base. It’ll keep the tree standing even if your pet bumps into it.

Photo of a dog sitting in front of a Christmas tree

And, if possible, anchor your tree against a wall so it will not fall off easily. Or you can tie the top of the tree to the ceiling. This will prevent the tree from tipping over.

6. Don’t Leave Candles Unattended

Be careful with candles; your pet could easily topple them with their tails and paws. You’ll not only end up with a toasted Christmas tree, you’ll might also end up homeless. Try using flameless candles or lights instead.

Photo of a dog enjoying the Christmas lights

7. No Food Decorations

Don’t use food as decorations. Decorating your Christmas tree with candy and other sweets could tempt your pet to gobble them up. Worse, your pet could swallow other items too.

Photo of a cat about to grab a candy

8. Go Natural

Using natural plants will add more spirit to your holiday. But be wary of some plants that can poison your pet.

Photo of a cat hiding under the tree

Avoid these plants: mistletoe, holly berries and ivy, poinsettia, lilies, and daffodils. Meanwhile, roses and white orchids are safe for your pets.

9. Spritz Water on Your Pet

Lightly spray some water on your pet when it’s near the Christmas tree. Your furry buddy will consider it a small punishment.

Image of a cat hiding in tree

It’ll eventually avoid going near the tree. Remember that you’re doing this for the safety of your pet.

10. Spray Citrus Scents on the Tree

Spray some citrus or bitter apple scents on the Christmas tree. This is an effective way to deter your pets from going near the tree.

Photo of a cat scaling a tree

The bitter apple solution is non-toxic and creates a smell that pets don’t like. Citrus spray will keep your tree smelling fresh. You can also put orange peels at the base of the tree.

11. Always Check the Lights

Check for any exposed wires, loose bulbs, and damaged wiring. Your pet could chew the wires, so try wrapping them with tape or pipe. You don’t want to get your pet electrocuted.

Photo of a cat in a Christmas tree again

Tape wires to the floor so they aren’t moved easily. Also, use shorter extension cords (pets love to dabble with tangled stuff). Lastly, always make sure you turn off the power to your tree when you leave the house.

12. Use a Pet Camera to Spy on Your Pet

Unless you have all the time to watch over your cat and dog, you need a way to remotely check on your pet when you’re out of the house or at work.

Photo of a cat caught on a Petcube Camera

Pet cameras like Petcube Play let you remotely monitor, talk to, and play with your furry baby. No more shenanigans and wrecked Christmas trees.