Holiday Hazards – Electric Cords

We all remember that scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” You know the one – the cat chews on the cord for the Christmas lights and gets electrocuted.

National Lampoons cat 1(Image from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”)

While this was just one more thing that went wrong with the Griswold’s “perfect” Christmas, it is a good reminder. Pets who chew on electric cords won’t meet quite the same end that the cat in this movie did, but they can still be dangerous.

Cats and dogs (and other household pets like rabbits or ferrets) can chew on electric cords. They can hurt themselves, or even be electrocuted, by doing chewing on cords. Luckily, electrocution is not very common. But chewing on electric cords can lead to frayed and exposed wires that are a fire hazard.

Be sure to inspect every strand of lights you are using before you plug it in to be sure the cords are in good shape, and there are no exposed wires. Before you turn the lights on every day, check the wires near the outlets (and any wires in reach of pets) to be sure they are not chewed or frayed. If you have any cords that look questionable, throw them out to be on the safe side.

After you’ve followed some guidelines to keep your Christmas tree secured and safe for your pets, you also need to think about the decorations you put on the tree. Use extension cords only when you need to and only use enough electric cords to safely reach from the outlet. Keep any extra cord coiled up and out of reach of your pets. Pets (just like children) can get caught in loose cords – they can get their legs, tails, or even heads caught in loose cords. Make sure any electric cords are well out of reach of pets (and kids).

Until you know how your pets will behave around your tree and the sparkling lights, you should not leave your pets in the same room as the tree and the electric cords without supervision. If you need to, keep your pets in a room away from the tree when you are not home, until you are sure they will not play with or chew on the electric cords.

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