7 Tips to Dog-Proof your Christmas Tree (and Tree-Proof your Dog)

7 Tips to Dog-Proof your Christmas Tree (and Tree-Proof your Dog)

Dogs and Christmas trees do not go together. Decorated trees with their breakable ornaments and electric lights can be hazardous to dogs and also… curious dogs can be a hazard to Christmas trees.

Don’t worry, you can still have a Christmas tree! You just need to take some precautions. Here are 7 tips how to keep your dog safe around the Christmas tree (and vice versa).

1. No food on the tree

Popcorn, chocolate ornaments and sweets make beautiful decorations but they are a no-no for dogs. Chocolate is among the most dangerous foods causing vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, restlessness and an increased heart rate for dogs. During the holidays, it’s important to keep sweets completely out of reach of your dog which may mean leaving it off the tree.

2. A bare tree

Before you decorate the tree, leave it up for a few days. This will help your dog get used to having a tree in the house so they’ll be more likely to leave it alone once it’s covered in lights and baubles.

After a few days with a bare tree, chances are your dog will lose interest entirely!

3. Go artificial

Invest in a quality stand to secure the base of the tree. To prevent accidents to curious dogs, place the Christmas tree in a corner and securely anchor it to the ceiling or wall with some fishing line around the trunk and tie it to an anchor such as a molly bolt in the wall behind it. You can also tie the line around the top of the tree and tie it to a screw in the ceiling. This will keep the tree from tipping over if a dog gives it a bump.

You can also create an “alarm” to alert you if the tree is in danger. Simply place an aluminium foil or a can filled with beans on the tree’s bottom limbs. If your dog starts nosing around the tree, you’ll hear it in time to intervene.

4. Be careful of electrical cords

Bright, shiny lights are hard to resist, but they can be dangerous to your dog. Not only can your dog get tangled in the wires, but if she’s a chewer, there’s a risk of electrical shock. If you put lights on your Christmas tree, leave the bottom branches bare.

You should also secure cords leading to and from the tree. Hide cords with the tree skirt or decorative package, or use adhesive-backed cord clips to keep them off the floor and out of reach.

5. Keep toxic plants out of reach

Holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are common houseplants are potentially toxic to dogs. If you decorate with any of them, keep them way out of reach of your dogs. Better yet, look for pet-safe alternatives. Artificial versions can be just as lovely and a lot safer for your dog.

While pine needles aren’t particularly toxic, they are small and sharp and can cause injury in your dog’s mouth and intestines. If you have a natural Christmas tree, be sure to hoover up fallen needles every day.

6. Put fragile ornaments on higher branches

Your dog with his/her wagging tail can be dangerous to delicate Christmas decorations. Broken decorations may be a choking hazard or cause paw or mouth injuries.

To keep your family heirlooms safe, and protect your dog from broken glass, put fragile ornaments towards the top of the tree or switch to plastic. Depending on your curious dog, you may want to leave the bottom third of the tree bare.

7. Candles? Keep ’em up high and off the tree

Candlelight makes Christmastime cosy and bright, but open flames and dogs don’t mix (neither do open flames and Christmas trees). But flickering candlelight is hard to resist so if you’re decorating with candles, place them on secure shelves well out of reach of your dog. To get that flickering effect on the Christmas tree, try clip-on LED candles.

Christmas time is extra special with a dog. By following our 7 top tips for Christmas tree safety, you can make sure the holiday season is happy and bright for you and your best friend!