Your dog or cat can become ill from drinking the water in the tree stand. Any fertilizer in the water can harm animals, but even plain water will develop bacteria if it is stagnant—often bad news for a pet’s stomach.
Change the tree’s water every day and don’t use any fertilizers (experts say you don’t need them—just refresh the water regularly). Better yet, invest in a tree stand with a covered water chamber that makes it virtually impossible for pets to access. Try the Swivel Straight Tree Stand ($47.50;Amazon.com).
Hazard 2: Potpourris
Yes, they smell festive, but if your pet knocks over a liquid potpourri, he could get severe ulcerations in his mouth and eyes. The dangerous oils can also be absorbed through skin (even if it’s only on his paws), and may damage his liver. And depending on what’s in them, ingested dry potpourris can cause diarrhea, vomiting—even death. Keep them out of reach.
Hazard 3: Tree Decorations
Cats love to bat at low-hanging ornaments, which is dangerous for paws if the item breaks. Dogs may eat strung popcorn (ingesting the string in the process), which can require surgery to remove. Electric lights, when chewed on, can deliver a life-threatening jolt. And be wary of tinsel—it’s one of the most common items surgically removed from pets this time of year.