‘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
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.