Survey Finds Pets Sometimes Naughtier Than Nice Around Holiday

Pets and holiday decorations can be a dangerous combination

A home with a brightly decorated tree surrounded by wrapped gifts with shiny ribbons can keep Fido and Kitty occupied for hours during the holiday season, but the results may not be all that jolly. One in five Americans has experienced a family pet being injured by a holiday decoration, according to a new Leger Marketing national survey on pet safety and the holidays conducted on behalf of CSA International.

“Staying safe and sound during this busy and festive season should be top of mind for people while they enjoy their time with family, friends and pets,” said Anthony Toderian, safety spokesperson for CSA. “Taking a moment to practice safety around the home can be as simple as following a few basic steps to help ensure the well-being of our pets and family.”

Seasonal decorations, if not properly installed and monitored, can tragically result in electrocution, poisoning, choking or burns for common household pets such as dogs, cats and birds. Two-thirds of survey respondents recognize the potential danger and expressed concern when leaving their pet home alone with holiday decorations.

“Pets are involved in an alarming number of accidents, from chewing on electrical cords to knocking over trees or eating toxic decorations or plants,” said Adam Goldfarb, director of pet care issues for the Humane Society of the United States. “Avoid an emergency visit to the vet’s office by thinking about how your pet might interact with your holiday decorations.”

To help keep pets and family safe during the holiday season, CSA International offers these holiday safety tips:

  • Cords are not chew toys: Carefully inspect holiday light strings yearly and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections as sometimes you can’t prevent a curious and playful pet from sniffing around new things. Ensure that all holiday decorations are in proper working order and all cords are fully insulated to help avoid electrical and fire hazards.
  • Up, up and away: When decorating a tree or other indoor areas, place breakable ornaments and electrical decorations up high to help protect both pets and small children. It’s also important to keep potentially deadly eatables out of a pet’s reach, such as chocolate, poinsettias, tinsel, ribbons and colorful, breakable ornaments that may look like a ball or toy.
  • No sparks for Sparky: Whenever possible, protect family and pets from electric shock by connecting all outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters.
  • Cat and canine candle concerns: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface, out of the reach of children and pets. And if you leave the room, blow out the candle.
  • Safe storage: After the holidays, wrap and store lights and decorations in their original packaging, as they likely contain manufacturer’s instructions on replacement bulbs and details for proper product use. Keep pets away from packages and your gift wrapping area. Ingested string, plastic, and even wrapping paper can lead to intestinal blockage and require a trip to the vet.

Next on the List: Holiday Fire Prevention and Safety

Sparky’s favorite holiday spot might be relaxing in front of the fireplace but families shouldn’t overlook safety risks when it comes to fire, smoke and gas. CSA offers safety tips to help Sparky sleep the day away in front of a warm fire while ensuring American’s enjoy a safe holiday season:

  • Fireplaces: Check to ensure your gas fireplace glass front is not cracked or broken and in good working order and that children and pets are kept a safe distance from hot surfaces and open flames.
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke alarms: Install at least one carbon-monoxide (CO) alarm near bedrooms, and test your smoke alarms monthly. One smoke alarm is not enough; install them on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. For more information on correct placement of alarms, visit your local fire department.

Holiday Safety Starts with Smart Shopping

  • Spot the mark to help keep Spot safe: When purchasing light strings, extension cords or electrical decorations, look for a certification mark such as one from CSA International. This provides assurance that products are tested and certified to applicable standards for safety and performance.
  • Fresh or fake, be safe: If you buy a real tree, make sure it’s fresh. Fresh trees are less likely to dry out and become a fire hazard. Artificial trees with electrical lights should have a certification mark on them and should be made of fire-resistant materials. Pet owners should take the time to tether their Christmas tree to a wall or the ceiling to avoid tipping by a pet or child.

The online consumer survey, conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of CSA International, a leading testing and certification organization committed to public safety, polled more than 1,000 Americans on pet safety and the holidays.

More holiday safety tips can be found at www.csaholiday.com. For a fun holiday safety video visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TqZa-97vKo

About CSA International

CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA International certification marks appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of CSA Group, which also includes CSA Standards, a leading solutions based standards organization, providing standards development, application products, training and advisory services; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers. For more information, visit www.csa-international.org


Andy Grabel
Environics (for CSA)
202-296-2002 x108
[email protected]


December 1, 2011