Pet Proof Your Christmas Tree

One of Santa's Reindeers?
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By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Here are a few ways to pet-proof your Christmas tree this year.

Trees are such an attraction for both dogs and cats. To make sure everything stays where you originally place it, secure your tree and the individual ornaments well.

Make sure your tree is firmly anchored in its stand. If you have a real tree this year, make sure to cover the stand with a tree skirt to prevent your pet from drinking the water in the base. Sometimes preservatives are used in the water and can cause gastric upset. Avoid sugar and aspirin additives in the water as well. It’s best to block your pet’s overall access to the base.

Keep tree area clear of fallen needles. Pine needles, if sharp enough, can possibly puncture intestines if ingested.

Mistletoe, Holly berries and Poinsettias can be highly toxic to both dogs and cats, and can produce gastrointestinal disorders and cardiovascular problems. To be safe, keep all plants out of every paw’s reach.

Avoid using breakable ornaments on your tree as well as small decorations, which can be easily swallowed. Stay away from using strands of icicles on your tree. Most dogs, and cats especially, cannot resist the temptation of playing with the individual strands and can ingest it, causing potentially serious intestinal blockage and even choking. Same goes for string and ribbons. Never use edible items such as a string of popcorn on the tree.

Keep all small items such as small decorations and tree ornaments, replacement string light bulbs, ornament hooks, thumb tacks, etc, and anything small out of sight as these are severe choking hazards and can become dangerous if swallowed.

Keep it difficult for your pets to get near the tree’s lights. Unplug the lights when unsupervised and keep all wires and extension cords out of sight. Remember to inspect all cords before plugging back in to make sure your pets stayed away from chewing on the wires, so as to avoid a potential fire hazard.

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