Puppy Safety Around the Christmas Tree

Cute puppy celebrating Christmas

When it comes to "decking the halls" for the holidays, remember to consider Christmas tree dog safety. Your puppy could think the Christmas tree is an unique present intended only for his amusement. Puppies naturally like to chew on trees, rip off decorations, and other such activities. As a result, the holiday season may be everything but joyful.

Everything becomes a or a game for puppies. The space beneath the tree is ideal for a puppy hideaway. Tree decorations that dazzle, move, or make noise entice pups to grasp and chew; garland provides a fun tug-of-war game; and dazzling lights entice them to inspect or even gnaw, perhaps causing shocks. Trees are fallen, presents and decorations are ruined, and dogs are occasionally injured.

Young puppies might also listen to nature's call and lift their leg in the same manner that they would a tree outside. The base of the tree may resemble a drinking vessel. Puppies may become ill if the tree water contains chemicals such as aspirin or other preservatives. Teething puppies want to munch on everything, and they may ingest inedible things unintentionally. Tinsel, tree needles, ornament hooks, and other Christmas décor can kill a pet if eaten.

Puppy Proof the Christmas Tree

First, make sure that any breakables or potentially dangerous ornaments and decorations are not on lower branches, and that they are placed out of reach of pets. Anything that fits in the puppy's mouth might be dangerous. Garlands, decorations, chains or hooks, icicles, and artificial snow spray can all cause issues. Edible popcorn strings may appear festive, but they lure dogs to consume them, and swallowing the thread might kill your pet.

Keep Puppies Away

Next, make the area around the tree unpleasant or difficult to keep puppies at bay and away from danger. There are various solutions, some of which work for some pets but not others.

  • Aluminum foil is a great deterrent for tiny pups and cats since they dislike walking on that odd-feeling and sounding surface. Silver foil also offers a festive holiday look.
  • The soft "tacky mats" available from home products stores designed to keep throw rugs from sliding around work well to keep some pets at bay because they dislike walking on sticky surfaces.
  • Another option is Sticky Paws which is a double-sided tape product. Sticky Paws is available in larger sheets as well as strips that you can apply directly to carpets beneath the tree or wherever needed.
  • Try the X-Mat Pet Training Mat from Mammoth Pet Products. These hard plastic mats with the uncomfortable nubby surface can be placed in “pet-free zones” such as around the Christmas tree, plants, furniture, or front door to keep pups at a respectful distance. You can also make something similar yourself using the clear plastic carpet runner/protectors placed nub-side up on forbidden zones.
  • You can also use the pet's sense of smell to keep her away from the tree. Vicks Vapo Rub (menthol smell) may work as a pet repellent. Dip cotton balls in the ointment and stick in the lower branches of your tree. Bitter Apple or other nasty tasting substances help keep pups from chewing but don’t rely on any of these options entirely. Some dogs actually seem to like the flavor.

Create a Barrier

  • Set smaller trees on table or counter top out of dog reach.
  • Place your tree inside of an enclosure like those meant to be used as dog exercise pens.
  • Block off the “tree room” with a baby gate.

Create a Puppy Holiday Tree

If you don't mind your tree being turned into a puppy playground, make sure it's resistant to attack. To keep the tree from tumbling over, use guy-wires or rope, and make sure the bottom decorations are pet-safe. You may even give the puppies their own tiny tree. This is how.

  • Get rid of the lights and any materials that could be swallowed. Water your real tree with plain water or choose an artificial one.
  • Decorate the tree with safe materials like nontoxic dried flowers or paper ornaments.
  • Soft puppy toys with squeakers make great decorations for lower tree branches and won’t be destroyed during puppy play.
  • Jumbo-size (too big to swallow) jingle bells offer movement and sound when hung from ribbon on a branch.
  • Chews or puzzle toys stuffed with smelly treats can be placed around the base of the tree. That offers something for Junior Dog to smell and chew—safely.

Decorate with the pet in mind and you’ll keep the fur-kids in the family happy and safe.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.