“What a curious pup!” Any pet owner with one of those dogs eager to get their wet nose in things has uttered these words. Doggos tend to investigate stuff, plain and simple. And Christmas provides a fantastic opportunity for those overly-inquisitive pets to get into all sorts of trouble. Really, what pet can resist a big, shiny tree in the corner of a room, adorned with a wide assortment tantalizing toys hanging off of it?
Whether it’s dangerous pine needles, yucky tree water, or delicate ornaments that can easily shatter, your dog could face some hazards. If you want to keep your pet out of harm’s way, while preserving the beauty of the family Christmas tree, consider these ideas.
If you build it, they won’t come
It might depend on how handy you are but a small fence around the perimeter of your tree could prove to be a useful deterrent. Fence height would depend on your dog’s size (and athletic prowess) but it should do the trick. If it’s something you can’t build on your own, check the local hardware store or search “Christmas tree fence” to find all sorts of options available to purchase. They look homey and also provide the dual purpose of keeping not just dogs away from a tree, but also toddlers!
Light up your life
Lights are always one of the best features of a Christmas tree – and an obvious target for those devious dogs! It’s best to keep the lights up high on the tree out of the pup’s reach. It’s equally important to secure all the cords involved so there is no opportunity for chewing. Either hide the cord up the decorative skirt at the bottom of your tree or try keep them off of ground level by securing them to nearby walls.
No food allowed
It’s a must to avoid putting anything edible on your tree. Candy canes, popcorn strings, cookies, and even chocolate ornaments (toxic alert!) make for lovely, traditional decorations but if you have a pup in the house, especially a little troublemaker, you’re asking for trouble. It’s non-negotiable for households with dogs – food-free trees are the way to go.
Consider rigging the area around your tree with a little trip wire (safe string, of course) and an attached bell. Even if that nosy doggie gets within striking distance, you might have enough time for an intervention if you hear that bell a ringin’!
Consider an artificial tree. We can be romantic about the whole process of securing a Christmas tree, from cutting it down with loved ones, to hauling it home for decorating, and then basking in that lovely forest scent that fills up a room. But real trees, specifically the needles, can be a big problem for some dogs. There isn’t a big concern about the toxicity of needles but they can be sharp and cause irritation if ingested, or even an unwelcome poke in the eye. An artificial tree also means you don’t need water at the base, which can contain dangerous bacteria.
Out of sight, out of mind
You can investigate a variety of ways to keep your dog away from the Christmas tree but wanna know the best and safest route? Don’t even give them a chance. If possible, pick a room that’s isolated from the rest of the house, where you can easily prevent the dog from entering.