The Yuletide season is just around the corner. Soon we’ll be smelling cinnamon wafting through the air, making eggnogs, and picking a Christmas tree. For most of us, setting up and decorating a Christmas tree is the most fun part of the holidays. However, one question comes to mind for dog owners: “how to keep dog away from Christmas tree?”
By experience, dog owners know that dogs and Christmas trees aren’t a good match. Naturally, we want to enjoy the yuletide without anything happening to our dog or the tree. Read on to learn about Christmas tree topics like ‘Christmas tree safety tips for dogs‘ and ‘toxicity of Christmas trees.’
Why are Christmas Trees Dangerous for Dogs?
People who’ll spend Christmas with their dogs for the first time ask themselves: ‘are Christmas trees toxic to dogs?’ The answer is not entirely. While some of the parts are safe, some Yule trees can be dangerous for our furry companion. Here are several dangers lurking in your Christmas tree:
- Pine needles – They aren’t toxic, but they are small and sharp. When ingested, they can injury your dog’s mouth and intestines. Make sure to sweep the fallen needles under your tree regularly to avoid any injuries
- Ornaments and decorations – Glass ornaments can fall and shatter and result in paw injury when your puppy accidentally steps on the shards. Moreover, do not put any mistletoe within your dog’s reach. According to the FDA, mistletoe contains lectins and Phoratoxins, which causes vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing
- Live trees – When you set up your Christmas tree weeks before Christmas day, you need to keep it alive and green. The preservatives put on the tree and the water it’s submerged in can be dangerous to dogs. They can get sick when they drink from the water of the tree
- Artificial trees – Christmas trees are mostly made from PVC but can also be made from aluminum or other materials. The needles of the artificial tree can cause gastrointestinal problems to your dog
- Electrical cords and lights – These cords or Christmas lights can cause electric burns if your dog gets its mouth on them. The blinking lights can also irritate your dogs
Keeping Dogs Away from the Christmas Tree
There are several ways to prepare for the Christmas festivities when you have a dog. However, the top priority of fur parents is to keep their dog away from the Yule tree. Here are a couple of tips and tricks that you can do to keep your dog away from the tree:
Put a Fence or Gate
Some dog owners get a dog enclosure and isolate their dogs. Although a good idea, your dogs will bark and howl when they get tired of being inside the section enclosure. The best way to keep your dog away from the tree is a dog Christmas tree fence. There are a lot of dog fences or gates in the market, and here’s how to choose the right one:
- Size – The height and width of the fence will depend on the size of your dog. If your dog’s a Great Dane or other taller breeds, pick a taller dog fence
- Material and durability – Choose a fence that can withstand intense chewing and the strength and weight of their dog
- Ease in installation – Do not pick a fence that is not easy to set up. Always check for product reviews if other customers mentioned the difficulty level of assembling the dog fence
Fix the Tree on the Wall
Dog fences and gates are very bulky and can get in the way of the Christmas celebration. If surrounding your tree with a wall is not for you, opt to affix it on the wall. Dogs get excited around something new, and you need to secure the tree so your dog can’t topple it over. Use an eye bolt or a molly hook and a durable fishing wire to secure the tree to the wall.
As a pro tip, choose a place that hides the fishing wire (i.e., the wall behind the tree). Hiding it will prevent your dog from playing with it and prevent you from tripping from it. Also, as an added measure, secure the tree on your ceiling to become sturdier and more secure. With this tip, your tree will be safe from the zoomies and running of your dog.
Choose the Right Location
People place their Christmas trees in the living rooms most of the time as it is the main family room. Pick a perfect spot to put your Christmas tree. The place where you’ll place the tree depends a lot on your dog’s size. For example, you can put your tree on a table or stool if you have a Chihuahua or a Pug. It would be best if you secured the tree and table to avoid falling when bumped by anyone.
However, this tip will only work for smaller trees. If your tree is more massive, choose a spot for it so your dog will not reach or play with it. Please do not put it in a cramped space or near a piece of furniture. A dog can use the pieces of furniture as a ramp or jump-off point to reach for your tree. Also, check the decorations you put on your Christmas tree. Here are some of the tips when decorating your tree:
- Minimize fragile ornaments on top – It would be better if you don’t put any at all. Delicate ornaments are mostly made from glass, which can be a choking hazard. It can also injure the little paws or mouth of your furry companion when shattered
- Switch to natural and non-toxic decorations – Invest in ornaments made from fabric, wood, pine cones, or other pet-friendly materials
- No food – Do not put any edible ornaments on the tree as it may attract your dog more
- Use twist ties – Throw away your metal hooks and use twist ties to secure your decorations. Small metal hooks can injure your dog when they ingest it
How to Train Your Dog to Stay Away from the Christmas Tree
Another way to keep your dog away from the Christmas tree is to train them. When they know how to behave around Christmas trees, you don’t need to worry about them messing up the decorations. Here are steps on how to train your dog to stay away from Christmas tree:
- Observe and teach the command – Look at your dog carefully and observe how they approach the tree. When your dog comes near the tree, say “away,” “stay,” or any command that will make your dog from going there
- Divert their attention – Now that you have gotten their attention, you need to distract your dog from the Christmas tree. You can either play with your dog, let your dog go outside, or give your puppy a toy. There are some interactive toys that you can give your dog so they can play
- Repeat steps one and two – As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Repeat steps one and two whenever they get near the tree. After setting up the tree, train your dog by saying the command word and distracting them from the Christmas tree
- Reward them – It is a fact that giving treats while training your dog will significantly help teach them. When your dog gets accustomed to your command, you can amp it up and offer treats as a reward. You can cook some great Christmas treats instead of ordinary ones to make it more unique
- Remove the reward – Lastly, you can slowly switch from treats to giving verbal praise when giving your command
You can train your dog to stay away from the Christmas tree.
Christmas is an extraordinary occasion for almost anyone and extra special when you have a Christmas tree on display. However, keeping dogs away from Christmas tree is a challenging task any pet owner will ever do during the Holidays. As they always say, “prevention is the key.” Dog owners can avoid broken decorations and injured puppies when they keep in mind the simple tricks. By following the tips in dog-proofing your Christmas tree, you can have a pleasant time celebrating Christmas with your dog.