By LuAnn McLain
I noticed that decorating for the Christmas season began in the Havre area before Thanksgiving. It can be one of the fun aspects of the season, adding to a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere during the holidays.
For those with new pets or pets that are especially curious or playful, there are safety considerations when decorating. Many of the tips here are also safety tips for humans.
Keep your decorating supplies such as ribbons, bows, cellophane, tape, and scissors put away except when you are using them and can keep pets out of them.
String and similar items may be enticing to an animal but if ingested can get tangled in the intestines, perhaps requiring major surgery to save the animal. The list of these types of items includes: tinsel, icicles, yarn, string, garland, strung popcorn or cranberries, angel hair, and strings from around cooked meats.
It is safer to use lace, wide ribbon, paper chains, tulle (lightweight netting) and cotton.
Ribbon can be looped to attach ornaments rather than the metal hooks. Unbreakable ornaments are advised rather than the glass ornaments that can cause cuts if broken. We all know how sharp pieces can be from a broken glass ornament.
A tree will intrigue some pets. Make every effort to keep them from exploring it too closely. A cat may be tempted to climb it and this could be disastrous.
To better secure a tree, a fishing line can be tied to the top and secured to a hook on the ceiling or attached to a wall stud. Leave the tree up for a day or two before decorating. This will give pets a chance to "check it out" and perhaps loose interest by the time it is time to decorate.
The decorative "snow" that is sprayed can be toxic, as is lead glaze on ceramic ornaments. Sprays designed to preserve trees are also potentially dangerous.
Keep the water on a living tree fresh and keep it covered to prevent pets and small children from getting into it. Needles from the tree need to be kept from accumulating on the floor and other surfaces.
Be sure to keep cords covered and unplug lights when they are not on. Pets could chew on them and the result could be electrocution.
Open flames and hot materials are a danger to our pets. Burning candles, incense, or burning pot pourri pots should not be left unattended. A pet can get into them and be burned or knock them over possibly causing a fire. A fire in the fireplace needs to be well protected with a sturdy screen.
Hot plates, pans, and dishes from the oven or stove should be cooled in a place where pets can't get to.
Some plants that are often seen in homes during Christmas can be poisonous to our pets. Christmas rose, Mistletoe, Poinsettia, Star-of-Bethlehem, Hemlock, Holly, Christmas Cherry, and Hyacinth are on the list of plants potentially dangerous to pets.
Don't forget that chocolate is toxic to pets and cooked bones can be lethal for them, too.
Have fun preparing for the holidays. Creativity can result in being safer! If you would like to write to Pawsitively Pets, send your letter to P.O. Box 1731, Havre, MT 59501.