All pet owners fear the day that their carefully decorated Christmas tree is bulldozed by a curious pet. No need to be a Scrooge. Check out these simple tips on how to keep a dog away from the Christmas tree this year.
You spend hours decorating for the holidays, or worse, you forgo decoration entirely because of a playful but mischievous pupper. Good news! We can help you take back your festive decorating passions and keep your pet out of harm’s way.
10 Tips for keeping your dog and your Christmas tree safe
The last this you want to do is spend your time and effort setting up a beautiful Christmas tree only to have it ruined by an inquisitive pup. The last thing you want is to find your cat or dog in the Christmas tree, peeing on the Christmas tree, eating the Christmas tree, or even catch your dog drinking Christmas tree water.
These are just a few common fears that we pet owners have when mixing our pets with the holidays. Your dog might seem like a Grinch, but they’re just exploring your festive display in the only way they know-how.
Don’t get mad; get smart with these creative dog Christmas tree and pet-proofing pointers. We can help you put together a dog proof Christmas tree to keep your dog safe and your holiday centrepiece intact.
1. Build a wall
Use gates, exercise pens, or even larger presents to wall off your tree.
One of the easiest solutions for how to keep your dog away from your Christmas tree is to use an exercise pen, a baby gate, or anything else fence-like. This Christmas tree dog fence will keep your pets from climbing up, bumping into, and getting underneath your tree.
It may not be the most visually appealing solution, but for nosey pets, it may be the safest solution.
For smaller dogs, you may even be able to get away with making a wall out of heavier or larger presents. Make sure that the gifts are not filled with food products or anything that your dog may want to open early.
2. Tree in Shining Armour
Make a Tinfoil tree skirt to deter pets.
Aluminum foil is a universally hated texture and sound to both dogs and cats and can be an excellent tool to keep dogs away from the Christmas tree. Make yourself a tin foil tree skirt or an aluminum "moat" to protect your tree. This could help to deter your pets from venturing too close to the tree.
The sound may also make a good alarm system for those pets brave enough to walk across it. Make sure that your dog isn’t trying to nibble on Tinfoil. It could damage their mouths and should never be ingested.
3. Durable Decorations
Avoid using fragile decorations and food items to reduce temptations.
Some decorations are more pet-safe than others. Avoid fragile pet Christmas tree decorations that can be hazardous to your pet. Glass and ceramic ornaments are likely to shatter if they hit the floor, so opt for plastic instead.
Edible decorations can also be an issue. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, as are many artificial sweeteners used in candy. This means no candy canes, either.
Popcorn garlands are another popular Christmas tradition. It may look cute, but using any kind of food on your tree will only encourage your pet to explore. It’s best to avoid them all.
4. Fortify your Tree Base
Weigh down your base to prevent your tree from tipping.
To prevent your tree from tipping, if your pet or kids were to climb or push on it, make sure that you have a sturdy foundation to keep your tree standing. Most tree bases aren’t designed to fend off pet attacks, so weighing down your base will make it more secure.
Add weight over the legs of the tree stand and cover it with your tree skirt, Tinfoil, or otherwise.
Fake trees are less sturdy than real trees, so a heavy base may not be enough to keep it vertical. This next step can help with that.
5. Drop Anchor
Anchor your tree to the walls or ceiling for extra support.
This may take some MacGyvering, but you can use a fishing line, chain, or wire to secure your tree to the wall or ceiling. We recommend two points of contact if you are anchoring to the wall.
This type of home renovation may not be for everyone, but it may be the price you have to pay to have your Christmas last the season.
6. Pet-Proof your Ornaments
Use twist ties or string to firmly secure your decorations to your tree.
Make sure your ornaments can’t be knocked off of your tree by securing them with twist ties, zip ties or string. This won’t guarantee that your pup won’t go after them, but they are much less likely to get taken out by a drive-by tail swipe if they’re stuck on the tree.
7. Hide Your Cords, Hide your Wires, They’re Chewing Everything
Tape down cords to prevent electrocution risks.
The cords from your lights, tree, and power bars should be tucked away and hidden. Many small cords can simply tuck in between the carpet and the baseboards.
For those that can’t, use tape to prevent the cords from being chewed or tripped on. Try to cover them with your tree skirt to remove the temptation of your inquisitive pet.
8. Real Trees = Real Danger
Needles from real trees can be dangerous. Consider a fake tree instead.
Having a real Christmas tree may not be as popular as it once was. However, tradition is still important to many. We’re not saying don’t, but you will need to be more vigilant.
Fallen needles will need to be cleaned up frequently to prevent your dog from getting injured. If your pet were to start munching on the pointy needle, they could harm their mouth or digestive system.
Another risk with real trees is that you may catch your dog drinking water from the base of the Christmas tree. Christmas trees could be treated with fertilizers and pesticides, so the water in the base could collect these toxic chemicals. It's best to prevent access to the water under the tree with a cover, like a tree skirt.
9. Pet Deterrents
Use a pet deterrent spray, or try dabbing hot sauce near the base of your tree.
Deterrent sprays for pets may be effective for discouraging your pet from getting too close to the tree. Most have an extremely bitter taste, so your pet only needs one lick to realize how awful it is.
Cats may not be as easily swayed by the bitterness, so something with a stronger smell may be needed. Natural options like orange peels or hot sauce can be more effective.
Be cautious not to put hot sauce in areas where you, your family, or your pet can accidentally get it in their eyes. It's best used at floor level. If you are nervous about that one, then stick to the orange peels.
10. Set a Trap
Set a trap with bells to alert you when the tree is approached.
Catch your pet in the act with a Home Alone-style trap. Set up some bells on a string around the bottom of your tree to let you know when trouble is brewing.
This will allow you to stop them before they get hurt, take them to another area of the house, or provide a more appropriate activity.
Looking for some great pet gifts to put under your Christmas tree? Check out these lists of our favourite dog and cat Christmas gifts:
Want even more gift ideas? We have you covered!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to keep my dog away from the Christmas tree?Dogs may be tempted to chew on or knock down the tree, which can lead to safety hazards and damage.
How can I physically prevent my dog from reaching the tree?Use baby gates or playpens to create a barrier around the tree or place the tree in a room that can be closed off when you're not around.
What types of ornaments should I avoid using on the tree?Avoid using ornaments that are fragile, edible, or have small parts that could be a choking hazard for your dog.
Can I use pet-friendly decorations on the tree?Yes, consider using dog-safe decorations like unbreakable ornaments, non-toxic garlands, and pet-themed ornaments.
Are there any tree decorations that are harmful to dogs?Tinsel and artificial snow can be harmful if ingested, so it's best to avoid using them on your tree.
How can I stop my dog from chewing on the tree or ornaments?You can use bitter apple spray on the lower branches of the tree and provide plenty of dog-appropriate chew toys and treats.