‘Break­able or­na­ments and lights on trees can be se­ri­ous haz­ards’

After a guide was re­leased to help stop an­i­mals from harm­ing them­selves and sea­sonal or­na­ments, Dave Knap­per asks North Stafford­shire pet own­ers for their own top tips

The Sentinel - - NEWS -

PET own­ers as­sem­ble their Christmas dec­o­ra­tions with a dis­tinct mix­ture of sea­sonal ex­cite­ment cou­pled with the un­shake­able fear their four-legged pals could soon undo all their hard work.

From bauble-steal­ing cats to bois­ter­ous dogs knock­ing down trees and rab­bits nib­bling their way through wires, the pit­falls over the fes­tive pe­riod are very real for those house­holds with an­i­mals liv­ing with them.

But there is also the dan­ger that beloved pets could suf­fer an in­jury due to the dec­o­ra­tions, or be­come ill if they di­gest some­thing they shouldn’t.

Now own­ers have been handed a list of tips to keep not only their dec­o­ra­tions safe – but also their pets.

The ad­vice has come from Gar­den­build­ings­di­rect.co.uk, who’ve re­vealed nine pieces of ad­vice to make sure every­one is happy over the fes­tive sea­son.

A spokesper­son for the firm said: “They look fan­tas­tic, but break­able or­na­ments and elec­tric lights on Christmas trees pose se­ri­ous haz­ards to cats and dogs.

“We’ve heard all sorts of hor­ror sto­ries about pets eat­ing parts of branches or dec­o­ra­tions, getting spiny nee­dles stuck in their paws, or pulling trees down and hurt­ing them­selves in the process.

“So, to avoid any ca­su­al­ties and hefty vet bills, we’ve looked into the best ways to keep our beloved cats and dogs from dam­ag­ing the trees – and them­selves – over the fes­tive pe­riod.”

Dog trainer and owner Lor­raine Heames says keep­ing sweet treats away from the tree al­ways helps.

Lor­raine, of Chell, said: “My tree is on a lit­tle cof­fee ta­ble so he can’t reach it.

“I’ve never had any prob­lems with mine re­ally, but I’d say never put choco­late on the tree as they can smell it.

“It’s im­por­tant the dog is trained to leave the dec­o­ra­tions alone.”

Amy Kirk has two dogs – a Chi­huahua named Archie and a res­cue dog from Crete called Toby. She also has a cat called Boo.

The 35-year-old, of Trent Vale, said: “With the dogs, I’ve never re­ally had any is­sues.

“We gave them both a bauble to play with each time, and that keeps them busy.

“The cat on the other hand used to be a night­mare, chew­ing through lights.

“Again, we found that if you gave her some­thing that looked like light ca­ble, such as string, she leaves the tree alone.

“We also gave the cat an empty tree box to play in, and it helped keep her happy.”

Mean­while Laura Bet­taney, who lives in the Moor­lands, says her pet rab­bit Henry is the real threat to the dec­o­ra­tions – and not her Ger­man Shep­herd.

She said: “It’s Henry we have to keep an eye on. His teeth are that sharp he will nib­ble straight through a light ca­ble, and if he does that we’d have to start all over again.

“Seth, the Shep­herd, isn’t re­ally both­ered, he just runs past the tree like it’s not even there.

“But when he wants your at­ten­tion, he’ll chew on a branch.”

DAN­GER: Pet own­ers are be­ing warned to take care with Christmas dec­o­ra­tions.

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