Decorating Dangers: How to Make Christmas Merry for Animals

Posted on by PETA Australia

The holidays are here, which means it’s time to trim our trees and deck the halls. But as you get to work making sure your house is the most festive Santa’s ever seen, it’s important to think about how our seasonal showboating affects – and in some cases harms – the animals we share our homes and the planet with.

Hang Stockings – and Everything Else – With Care

Like fake spiderwebs at Halloween, outdoor tinsel and strings at Christmas can entangle birds and small animals, causing distress and even death. Similarly, wreaths and decorations that contain small loops can act like lassos, ensnaring wild animals and choking them. Make sure that decorations can’t be swallowed by wild animals, too.

Bird sitting on outdoor Christmas decorations

Don’t Make the Tree Too Tempting

With its shiny baubles, twinkling lights, and oh-so-climbable branches, a Christmas tree looks like a fun new plaything to dogs and cats, but it can be dangerous. Delicate or glass decorations can break and cut little paws. Lights, if chewed, can cause oral burns or even electrocution. If you have animal companions, pop your tree up high or consider a gate to keep it out of reach.

Cat with Christmas tree

Covet Your Christmas Countdown Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, and rabbits, so make sure the animals you love can’t get their paws on it, whether it’s in an Advent calendar, in a stocking, or wrapped up under the tree. The same goes for onions, leeks, and products containing xylitol and alcohol – all of which could send your furry friend to the vet.

Keep Candles Clear

Candlelight and Christmas go hand in hand, but fire and fur don’t mix! Cats famously love to knock things over, so make sure candles can’t be reached, or better yet, choose LED candles without a real flame to create a cosy atmosphere. The same applies to outdoor candles – Australia’s wildlife doesn’t need any more bushfires.

Be Prepared for Fireworks

Festive celebrations often mean city or neighbourhood fireworks displays, which can be terrifying for our furry friends who may run away and be injured, lost, or killed. If fireworks can be heard where you live, ensure that escape routes are sealed and that animals have a safe and secure place to hide. Playing music to drown out the sound can help, too.

Wild animals can also become spooked by fireworks, so be extra mindful of those who may be seeking refuge in backyards or crossing roads. Find out how else to live in harmony with wildlife here.

Dog hiding from fireworks

Of course, the kindest thing you can do for animals is to leave them off your plate. Grab a free vegan starter kit here and put peace on your plate to ensure everyone has a Merry Christmas.