Can Holiday Decorations Harm Animals? 12 Animal-Friendly Decor Tips

Starting to feel those holiday vibes? ❄️🌲 A lot of us like getting into the festivities by fancying up our homes with seasonal decor. But we can all agree that no decorations are worth risking our animal companions’ lives, right? Follow these 12 tips for animal-friendly decor that will keep everyone in your home safe during the holidays. 🐱🐶❤️

1. Tinsel’s Too Tempting

Image from Unsplash of a cat with a toy

If you have a cat, you know how much they love to play with stringy things. 😻 That’s why you should take tinsel out of the picture. Cats can’t resist playing with shiny, glimmery tinsel, but if they swallow it, they can get an intestinal obstruction and need surgery.

2. Don’t Deck the Halls With Holly

If you want to keep your animal companions safe, deck the halls with something other than holly. It’s toxic to dogs and cats and can cause vomiting, seizures, and hallucinations. 😢 Leave holly out of your home to keep your animal companions from getting painfully—and maybe fatally—sick.

3. Mistletoe’s a No-Go

Like holly, mistletoe is toxic to your animals. Ong, there’s nothing romantic about seeing your animal companions experiencing vomiting and diarrhea or having trouble breathing. You don’t need a dangerous green plant hanging over you if you want to smooch someone consensually. 😘

4. Pass on the Poinsettias

Image from Unsplash of roses

Poinsettias aren’t as toxic as holly and mistletoe, but your animal companions can still get sick if they ingest them. Instead of making the holidays potentially miserable for them, opt for plants like roses, Phalaenopsis orchids, and Boston ferns. They are totally safe for animals and can make your home look hella festive. 

5. Safetree First

Image from Unsplash of Christmas tree

If you bring a real tree into your home for the holidays, secure it carefully so it doesn’t tip over and injure your animal companions. You also want to make sure that the water in the pot—which may contain unsafe fertilizers—doesn’t spill over. And clean up any pine needles that fall onto the ground, as your animal companions can get an upset stomach if they eat them. 🥺

6. Secure Snow Globes

Image from Unsplash of snow globe

These wintertime ornaments are def pretty to look at, but some of them contain antifreeze. If they break and your animal companion licks up the liquid, you’ll need to seek emergency care immediately. 😨 Let’s avoid this situation in the first place by keeping snow globes out of reach, taping them down, or surrounding them with solid items.

7. Upgrade Your Ornaments

Glass or plastic ornaments just look like decorations to us, but they look like brand-new toys to our cats. They can get cut by broken glass or ingest part of an ornament and get an obstruction in their system. Try buying or crafting ornaments made of wood or other materials that wouldn’t break into eatable pieces.  

8. Some Light Adjustments

If you want to line your home with stringy lights, there are a few things to consider. Curious animals might chew on the cords, which could shock or burn them. Go for animal-proof cords that you can spray with bitter, icky-tasting deterrents. 🤢 Keep an eye on your animal companions when you have the lights on—and turn those lights off when you’re asleep or not at home.

9. Keep Candles Out of Reach

PETA-owned image of a candle from PETA shop

PSA: Fire is dangerous. 🔥 Your animal companions can knock over lit candles and get burned or even start a fire. To safely fill your home with a warm, heavenly scent, keep candles out of reach—and only buy candles made of soy wax. Beeswax candles prop up an industry that steals bees’ honeycombs and rips off their legs and arms in the process.

10. Costumes for Humans Only

Ask yourself this: Who is dressing our animal companions in costumes really for? It’s certainly not for them—it can make them feel uncomfy and anxious. Since animals can’t consent, let’s leave costume-wearing to the humans. (Putting a sweater on your animal during cold weather is all good if they aren’t stressed.) Besides, our animal companions already look cute enough as they are. 😍

11. Safe Smells

We totally get wanting your home to smell tantalizing for the holidays. But when we put liquid potpourri or essential oils in a diffuser or an oil burner, we’re also putting our animals in danger. They can easily knock the liquid potpourri over, get it on their coats, and end up with ulcerations and damage to their skin and face. 😰 Plus, essential oils are highly toxic, especially to cats. For top-tier smells, we recommend lighting a soy-wax candle kept out of reach, simmering a mix of herbs and spices on the stove, or spraying animal-friendly scents.

12. Wrap It Up High

Image from Unsplash of Christmas gifts

What’s even better than getting gifts? Giving them! 🎁💙 Just make sure that you wrap them on a table or when your animals are in another room. The crinkly paper and tape are choking hazards, so keep these materials away from your animal companions and clean up scraps when you’re done.


Know what other animals we put at major risk during the holidays? Turkeys. 🦃 Help prevent them from being slaughtered for the holidays by sharing on social media why you’re leaving them off your plate.  

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