December is just around the corner and that means its almost time to put up your Christmas tree. Having a Christmas tree when you have dogs, can certainly be a real challenge.
Whether your dog is full-grown or a puppy having a Christmas tree can be a real source of distraction for your dog. We have all known someone’s dog that has completely knocked down their Christmas tree. It can even be dangerous for them.
Christmas tree and dogs are something that every dog owner should be sure to be aware of. Safety tips are such an important bit of keeping everyone safe through the holidays.
Real or fake tree
For many dogs, a Christmas tree is often perceived as a toy. They may want to chew the branches, hide under the tree and for sure be distracted by the pretty lights that shine.
Some dogs don’t even care if the tree is real or just an artificial (fake) tree. The sheer fact that it is a tree is more than enough to seriously peak their interests.
The problem with dogs and having a tree in your house is the danger that lurks around every corner.
Choosing to put up a real tree in your living room has a few seriously different safety issues than a fake tree.
For example things like:
- drinking the tree water
- eating the branches
- peeing on it
- falling needles
Any and all of these issues could potentially harm your dog. Nobody wants their Christmas holidays ruined by having to make a trip your Vet because your dog was injured. Dogs are just an inquisitive animal that can’t help but investigate something new in their house. This is a natural reaction, so don’t be surprised.
By putting up a fake or artificial tree instead of a real tree does protect your dog from some issues you get with the real tree. But at the same time, a fake tree is still a tree and can still be potentially dangerous to your dog.
Dangers still exist like:
- knocking the tree over
- eye injuries from the branches
- toxic to your dog if he ingests it
Artifical trees over time, can also become very brittle and cause the branches to easily snap off. This of course could be problematic if your dog decides to chew on the branch than ingesting it could lead to dangerous issues like an intestinal blockage, nausea and vomiting.
Plus most artificial trees are made of metal or PVC plastic. On top of the fact that the plastic is treated with unknown chemicals to allow it to be ply able. None of these things are good for your dog.
OK so now that I have explained what safety issues could arise by putting up a tree, lets talk about what are some ways to still put up a tree, but safely.
The easiest thing to do is to safely secure your tree once it is put up. You can easily attach it to the wall with a hook and wire or string. Also, make sure to have a proper tree stand for your tree, so that it stands up sturdy in side the stand. This will easily stop your dog from either becoming trapped under the tree if it were to fall on them, or from trying to pull on the branches to pull the tree down.
To stop your dog from potentially drinking the water from the tree stand you could easily just cover the opening with foil, plastic, cardboard, or really anything you can find around the house. Just something that doesn’t allow your dog to drink the water.
Tree safety can also be created by putting a barrier around the tree when you leave the house. Depending on how persistent your dog is around your tree that will tell you how serious your barrier needs to be to stop them from going near the tree when no one is at home.
Use things like tin foil on the floor around the tree, or using chairs to create a circle around the tree for protection. There are also things like Sticky Paws which is a double-sided tape product that you could put under your tree, dogs won’t want to walk on it. They don’t like that sticky feeling on their paw pads. X-Mat pet training mat is a mat that has plastic nubs on it that is actually quite uncomfortable for your dog to sit on. This could easily put under the tree to create a dog free zone.
One easy fix to keep your dog away from the tree is to buy a smaller tree and put it up on something so it is off the ground.
Any of these easy tricks will help stop your dog from being able to get near the tree. When both of our boys were younger we would put our tree in a corner, secure it to the wall than would use our kitchen chairs side by side to block it off if we were going out. After that we never had any issues with our dogs destroying the tree.
We all have special decorations that we like to put on our tree year after year. There are so many special ornaments that bring us joy just simply from the memory that it gives us. Some of them can almost be as old as we are. For this reason, we don’t want anything to happen to them. We also don’t want our dog to be the cause of this.
Decorations can be things like balls, garland, tinsel, lights, popcorn strings and even stuffed toys or edible ornaments. Even the strings of lights that are on the tree can be harmful to your dog.
For many reasons, all of these items could seriously injure your dog from them ripping them apart. Eating or ingesting them or even cause them be to be choked. A simple string of lights, can become wrapped around their neck or worse they could bite the cord and get electrocuted.
Some easiest things you can to protect your dog from these issues are:
- Do not put any edible ornaments on your tree
- Put the ornaments higher up on the tree
- No tinsel at all
- Put covers over your electrical cords
- No scented ones
- Use plastic ornament hangers instead of metal ones
Although many of these items make it seem like putting decorations on a tree, it really doesn’t. Most of these safety tips won’t stop you from still having a beautiful looking tree. Just be cautious with your decisions when it comes to your specific dogs behavior around the tree. If your dog just won’t leave the tree alone, than barricading it off is likely the only answer.
I always found great success in just not putting any super special ornaments low on the tree. I put things that were dog friendly type ornaments. That way if they actually grabbed something off the tree, it wouldn’t hurt them to play with it.
Present under the Christmas tree is such a pretty picture. That image is what we think of when we look at the perfect tree. Normally the fancier the wrapping paper and bows the better.
Well when you have dogs, you need to think about what type of decorations your presents have under your tree. Things like bows made of ribbon for example are something you would really want to avoid. The ribbon is easily accessible for your dog to want to pull on or chew. Even accidentally get wrapped up in. in the blink of an eye your dog could be in a bad situation.
Small size gifts are also something you will need to be aware of. A gift that is super small, can easily be destroyed, batted around and even lost. Keep those small items away and do not put them under your tree to the last minute. Many people also like to give chocolate and baking as a gift. Definitely make sure that you don’t have any edible presents under the tree. Chocolate and dogs are toxic and do not mix.
All it would take is for your dog to sniff out that gift and rip it open to eat the goodies. Again just make sure not to put them under your tree. Don’t test your dog and think that it should be fine. It really is best not to test your luck in this situation. Better to be safe than sorry.
Puppies and their 1st Christmas
Puppies and their very 1st Christmas can certainly be a challenge. A puppy is always so interested in anything new that comes into the house. Their curiosity is more times something they have trouble controlling. Making sure that you create boundaries with your puppy is very important the first time.
Your puppy needs to be watched and supervised around your tree at all times. They are not to be left alone with your tree, the ornaments or the presents. Keeping them safe and teaching them discipline around the tree will help set them up for success year every year after.
Being tough and strict the right off the bat will show them that your tree is not a toy and that they need to respect it. As we know teaching a dog something new is that much easier when they are babies than full-grown. At the same time, you can always teach a dog new tricks. What I mean is even if you have a dog that is a bit older, you can still teach them boundaries and what is acceptable behavior around the tree. It is never too late.
When it comes to a Christmas tree and dogs, you always need to be thinking one step ahead. Keeping your head on a swivel and always make sure that your dog can be trusted to roam free with your Christmas tree up in the house.
A dog that can’t be trusted with anything else in your house when you are gone, than the tree should definitely be off limits for your dog. To be on the safe side you can always put only dog friendly ornaments on your tree.
You can put your tree in a room that has a door, so that your dog is never able to even be alone with it.
For many years, we would put our big tree in the basement rumpus room and that way we could shut the door at the top of the stairs. Our dogs were never allowed downstairs when no one was home. That was a perfect solution to making sure our dogs were safe with a tree up in our house at all times.
Sometimes things like putting the tree there just made the holidays so much less stressful for us. On the other hand, our dogs also spent many years together with the tree on the same floor as them, we just did the barricade idea.
Everyone things that their dogs won’t touch the tree and that they need not worry about it. Unfortunately finding out that you were wrong and you put your dog in an unsafe situation will break your heart. When it comes to things like this, you always want to lean on the side of being over cautious. Christmas time is supposed to be joyful, happy and a great sense of family time. Yes include your dog in your Christmas, just please do it carefully and safely.
Happy Holidays to all of you.