Tips To Pet Proof Your Christmas Tree & More


“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches—” to scratch and climb on if you happen to be a cat, that is. From a cat’s perspective, a Christmas tree is a glorious new jungle gym to pounce and climb on, which often becomes an annual holiday dilemma for cat owners. And some dogs like to get in on the fun too, pawing at low hanging ornaments that they think surely must be chew toys.

While toppled trees and broken ornaments are frustrating, the more serious concern is our pets’ health and safety. Too many vets have stories to tell about dogs and cats they’ve treated, sometimes surgically, due to holiday hazards. That said, there are steps you can take to make sure your holiday season is a happy and healthy one for your furry friends:

  • Make sure your Christmas tree stand or base is sturdy, and consider securing the tree from the top with a ceiling hook or to the wall for additional support.

  • Place the tree away from furniture that could be a jumping off point for cats.

  • If your tree is real, wrap the base of the trunk with aluminum foil. Cats hate the sound and texture of foil, so will be less likely to scratch the tree trunk. This may prevent climbing as well.

  • Block your pet’s access to the electrical cords of any lights you string on the tree or around the house. Pets that chew on electrical cords can get shocked, so if you can’t easily hide or block the cords then consider coating them with bitter apple spray.

  • Christmas tree water may contain bacteria or fertilizers that, while not poisonous, could cause vomiting or diarrhea. Keep the water covered if you can’t easily block access to the water in the stand.

  • Keep wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons away from pets who might be tempted to chew and ingest them. Doing so could cause intestinal blockages that may need to be surgically removed.

  • Likewise, avoid using tinsel if you have cats. Cats are too often drawn to it, and when accidentally swallowed it can get stuck around the base of the tongue or in the stomach, resulting in a life-threatening situation that could require surgery.

  • Leave ornaments off the bottom of the tree, and make sure those higher up are well secured.  

  • Always be sure to unplug lights when you’re not home.

With planning, your holiday can be merry and bright while also remaining hazard-free for your pet. It’s just another wise step in proactive, preventative care for your beloved pets, which is what we’re all about at the PetWellClinics® of Knoxville and Alcoa.

By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for safe flea and tick preventative products, vaccinations, wellness exams, and treatment of minor conditions—with quick in-and-out service during convenient evening and weekend hours and no appointment necessary.

If you’re curious about how we’re able to offer more affordable pet care without compromising quality, check out our free and quick guidebook to how PetWellClinic® can save you time and money.

PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at


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