May 05, 2021 3 min read

Decorating the Christmas tree marks the start of the Christmas season, but can be difficult if you have a curious dog or puppy. Learn how to dog-proof your Christmas tree to keep your dog (and ornaments) safe from harm.

How to dog-proof your Christmas tree

1. Anchor your Christmas tree

Dogs and cats may be curious about your Christmas tree and if it is not tightly anchored, it may tip and fall. The tree could fall and injure your pet, break fragile ornaments, or spill the tree water on your floor. Anchoring your tree will keep it in place throughout the Christmas season. A Christmas tree gate will help keep dogs and curious puppies from getting too close.

2. Leave it bare for a few days

Dogs, especially new puppies, can be curious about a new item in their home. Real Christmas trees have lots of smells and scents and a curious pet may feel inclined to investigate. Leaving your tree bare for a few days will allow your dog to get used to the tree without risking breaking any of your fragile ornaments.

3. Hide electrical string lights and wires

Christmas is filled with lots of twinkly lights and lit decorations – which all require wires. Keep wires out of sight and reach for your pet to discourage any chewing. The bright lights and colors may be tempting for your pet, so keep them out of reach to avoid electrocution.

4. Keep poisonous plants out of reach

Are Christmas trees poisonous for dogs? The answer is no, Christmas trees are not particularly toxic. However, mistletoe, holly, and poinsettia are all toxic for your pet. Poinsettias can cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation, while holly and mistletoe are more dangerous. They can cause more serious gastrointestinal issues and, in rare cases with mistletoe, cardiovascular issues.

5. Avoid hanging food on your tree

Whether they’re candy canes, sugar cookies, or salt dough ornaments, food products should stay off your tree and be saved for Santa’s plate. Your dog might eat your decorations and get an upset stomach or feel sick. Playdough and salt dough ornaments can be tempting for your dog, even if they are dried. Excessive salt ingestion can cause dangerous imbalances in electrolytes.

6. Hang fragile ornaments higher on your tree

If your dog investigates or bumps your Christmas tree, your favorite ornaments can be at risk! Put your fragile or delicate ornaments on sturdy branches at the top of your tree to avoid them getting knocked off and breaking.

7. Keep candles off your tree and out of reach

Though it is not as common to put lit candles on Christmas trees today, the tradition should definitely be avoided if you have a pet. Not only are lit candles a fire hazard, but your dog could get hurt if they bump into them or knock them over. In general, make sure any lit candles are away from your Christmas tree and out of reach of your pet.

8. Avoid tinsel

Bright, shiny tinsel is eye-catching to not only you but your pet as well. Dogs and cats may ingest the tinsel, which can result in intestinal blockage and a trip to the vet.

9. Keep tree water covered and inaccessible

Always ensure that your tree water is covered, and your dog or cat is unable to drink from it. Not only do many people put fertilizers which can be toxic and upset your dog’s stomach, but stagnant water is a great place for bacteria to grow. Your dog may end up with nausea or an upset stomach.

10. Save the presents for Christmas morning

Many people keep presents from friends, family, and neighbors under the tree until Christmas Day. Wrapped presents may contain food that’s toxic for dogs such as spiced nuts, chocolate, raisins, and more. It’s safest for your pet to keep wrapped presents out of reach until it’s time to open them.

Wondering what other common plants are toxic for dogs? check out our blog post on 9 Common Poisonous Houseplants for Dogs. For more pet tips, check out our blog. And for great deals on all-natural dog chews, visit our website.


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