Choosing Your Pet-Friendly Christmas Wrap And Ribbons

PET CHECK BLOG - Jack Russell dog looking naughty by presents

\\\ Pet Christmas

\\\ updated October 2021

What Pet-Friendly Christmas Wrap And Ribbons Are Best?

Pets are renowned for mischievous behaviour when it’s Christmas time and that includes finding and eating the wrapped chocolates that you forgot about, placed under the Christmas tree, having spent time wrapping your present with designer paper and ribbons!

Pets Ingesting Christmas Wrap And Ribbons

Left unattended, pets can suffer disastrous consequences through mishaps, even life-threatening, where a trip to the vets is inevitable.

Wrapping ribbon is manufactured in a number of widths ranging from 1/8 inch to 1 foot and sold often by the metres and yards made from natural or synthetic fibres, providing lots of chances for your pet, if left unattended to consume long lengths of ribbon left lying around. It’s not so much whether the ribbon is made of natural fabrics and less harmful than the length consumed and damage that can be caused by the sharp edges of the ribbon, cutting mouths, and intestines.

Vet pulling out 3' ribbon from cat in surgery
Image Courtesy of Vets Now

The above picture is frightening, published early 2020, by Vets Now of a cat that consumed 3 feet of gift wrap ribbon when their pet sitter wasn’t looking. The vet is seen pulling out the 3 feet of ribbon from the cat’s intestines.

Hendrick The Cat who ate 3' wrap ribbon
Hendrick – Image Courtesy Vets Now

You can read more about Hendrick now feeling better after surgery

  • Christmas wrap or ribbon becomes a problem depending on how much a pet may have consumed.
  • In most cases, it may become obvious with paper and ribbon strewn across the floor as to actually how much your pet has consumed.
  • If ingested this can cause gastric or intestinal obstructions and may show signs of loss of appetite, vomiting, excessive drooling and abnormal bowel movements, having the potential to become life threatening.
  • More worrying is if your pet has had time to chew into the gift contents. Chocolate as most pet owners know is highly toxic, along with other seasonal offerings such as dried nuts or even alcohol, and pets that accidentally swallow batteries can cause chemical burns threatening their lives.
  • Contact your vet immediately.

\\\ Wrapping and Ribbons

What makes pet-friendly gift wrapping paper and ribbons?

Gift Wrapping Paper 

According to the UK population buy approximately 28 presents a year and uses 227,000 miles or more of wrap paper providing lots of mega opportunities for your pet to forage and swallow.

Much gift wrap is now made with a plastic lining and becomes non-recyclable and trends to add glitter and tape trimmings definitely make it non-recyclable so that’s huge amounts of paper going to landfill waste each year.

There must be a consideration of whether gift wrapping with manufactured paper and ribbon is really a viable option and ecological sound, let alone being pet-friendly.

Wrap paper bought from most stores is not dangerous in itself to pets but will cause staining from the mouth by the printed ink mixing with the pet’s saliva if the pet tries to eat it. It is usually low in toxicity.

Christmas Gifts wrapped with Kraft and eco friendly trimmings

Other more sustainable paper alternatives are available all year to use

Kraft Paper 

Brown Kraft paper is a great alternative to using highly manufactured and non-recyclable gift wrap paper, along with certain tissue papers and bags made from sustainable forests, being eco-friendly, sometimes working out to be as cheap, or cheaper, with certain products, and can be re-used after use as Transpack explains.

Buy from

The RSPB, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has a super Christmas shop with many environmentally-aware gift wrap options, paper, tissue, and string.

WH Smith has improved their all-year-round gift department to include tags, wrap, ribbon and string and with a selection of Christmas prints as sustainability issues become more and more important to our plant.

Paperchase, a favourite of ours with shops and online store selling lovely fun ideas, stocking kraft paper all year round, and a host of other present wrap products.

Oxfam charity shops sell kraft paper all year round with a growing range of sustainably sourced gift tags and, ribbons especially at Christmas time.

Ocado can deliver Christmas gift kraft wrap paper and ribbons along with your weekly groceries.

Ruff wear the dog clothing company, developed a non-toxic dog-friendly gift wrap paper, and launched it in the UK 2017. Sadly, it has been hard to find a stockist selling this Christmas wrap and their website currently provides no stock.

Gift Ribbon

In the UK there are numerous suppliers now advertising selling re-cycled ribbons, such as Berrisfords, a large, well-known trimmings supplier, and has a range of eco-friendly ribbons made ultimately from recycled plastic bottles. Whilst this is good news for the environment, recycled gift ribbons are as strong as normal synthetic or natural ribbons and can be easily ingested by pets.

The Global Campaign to Reuse Reduce Recycle

Recycled Paper is another alternative that includes keeping your gift paper after presents are opened and recycled the following year, or using recycled brown paper used already through the post during the year, which can be reinvented into gorgeous wrapping designs with added touches of a sprig of evergreen or stick of cinnamon and dehydrated orange slice. Still very appealing to any foraging pet if left under the Christmas tree needing careful storing away until Christmas present opening time.

Solutions For A Pet-Friendly Household

  • Consider making the change this year and wrapping your gifts in a more sustainable way.
  • Don’t stack presents around the tree.
  • Take time to carefully store your gifts wrapped for the big day.
  • Keep stored presents out of cats reach who can climb to higher areas.
  • Don’t leave pets unattended in your Christmas display room.
  • Have a general tidy through the house before Christmas, including putting away any sewing needles and cottons, buttons, children’s small toy items such as Lego, puzzles, writing crayons and more.
  • Ensure that new toys once unwrapped aren’t left lying around where they can be chewed and destroyed.
  • Keep wrapping papers and ribbons safely for use again.
  • Consider buying gift e- vouchers online which reduces waste and possibility of less pet accidents.

If you suspect your pet has eaten paper and ribbons contact your vet immediately for advice.


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