There are lots of things that can go wrong with a Christmas tree: It could be crooked when you finally get it situated in its stand, or you could run out of string lights only halfway up the trunk. But a Christmas tree's real worst nightmare? Your pets.
Even though it happens every year, our pets remain baffled by the sudden presence of a tree in the family room when it comes time to decorate for Christmas. It's like they're compelled to sniff, bite, claw and pass overall judgment on the mere existence of it.
It's not always their fault! You know how curiosity and cats are, and any new hiding spot is like a beacon for them. As for your pups, we're all aware that they're just big dopes we allow to live in our homes -- meaning, they don't know what they're doing 99 percent of the time, so if they look guilty next to a broken ornament, we can't entirely blame them. Plus, dogs love sticks, and what's a Christmas tree? The stick jackpot.
The issue arises when we can't control our pets' hazardous advances on the Christmas tree. For their sake as well as ours (we don't want them shocking themselves on the lights or choking on an ornament!), what can we do to train them to treat the tree as a no-go zone?
Blocking off the area is an obvious option, but if your pet is basically your child, you want to enjoy Christmas and everything that comes with it together! So, take precautions: Always put your tree on a stand, and take it one step further by anchoring it to the walls and/or ceiling using fishing line and bolts. This will stop any paws that may wander from doing serious damage.
Also be sure to put the most fragile of your ornaments toward the top of the tree -- lest a wagging tail get the best of it -- and sacrifice lights on the bottom branches for the sake of safety.
But if you're looking for a more long-term solution, consider actually teaching your pets to respect the tree. A bunch of TikTokers have taken to scaring their four-legged friends in an attempt to keep them away, but experts are saying that's not the way. Instead, try:
- Introducing the bare tree first. Pets are less likely to care about the tree when it's all done up if they've hung out with it for a while.
- Surround the tree with Scat Mats or sticky pads that will deter getting close enough to mess with it.
- Spray the tree (or room that houses the tree) with a pet-deterring spray. If they don't like the smell of it, they won't try to taste it!
Will your cat or dog find a way to get all up in the tree, anyway? If they're determined enough, yes. But taking a few extra steps will help everyone in the house have a happy and healthy holiday.