If you're getting into the Holiday spirit this year and have decided to purchase a Christmas tree, you may want to check out our regularly updated Christmas Tree Vendor map. And if you're a pet owner who's worried how your little friend will handle the new addition to your cramped apartment, we've got some tips for how to keep your four-legged friends from turning your holiday bush into a pile of fragrant wood chips.
First off, whether you've got cats or dogs, there are some holiday plants you probably want to keep out of the house: If ingested, holly (leaves and berries) causes stomach upset and can be potentially fatal to both dogs and cats. Mistletoe upsets stomachs and can cause heart collapse. Hibiscus may cause diarrhea. Poinsettias have an irritating sap that can cause blistering in the mouth and an upset stomach. Also, depending on the variety of tree, pine needle ingestion can cause complications that range from upset stomach to death. Which is why many owners go the plastic route (even though plastic can also be harmful if chewed and digested).
Now for some animal specific tips!
There are lots of tips for keeping your feline safe during the holidays but the most important thing is to make sure you've got a solid base so your friend won't tip the whole thing over. Wrap the bottom in aluminum foil (cats don't like the feel of it) to keep them from climbing and position the tree away from things the cat might use to get a boost into the tree.
If possible, try and keep your tree in a room away from the cats, but if not, wait a day or two to decorate so the cat gets used to it. When you decorate, keep the nice ornaments up top so kitty isn't tempted—and try and avoid the tinsel, not good for the tummy.
Keep the tree well watered so the needles don't fall—they can be toxic to cats (as can the tree water!). And probably best not to put presents wrapped with ribbons under the tree—that just looks like cat toys to them.
Finally, be wary of wires! Cats like to chew on them, so please make sure you turn off your Christmas lights when you aren't in the room (which, really, you should be doing already).
Tips for trees with dogs are pretty similar to the ones for cats. Like with felines, you'll want to make sure to have a heavy base so that the pup doesn't knock the tree over. You'll also want to make sure the tree stand water is inaccessible to him.
The other big tips for holidays with pups? Don't decorate your tree with food items (just looks like a snack to dogs) and put the nicer ornaments up top (assuming you've firmly secured the base!). If your guy is particularly frisky, you might want to consider just getting a small tree on a table that Lassie can't leap onto.
Or, you could just nail your tree into the wall well out of the reach of animals!
(with Nell Casey)