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How to Dog-Proof a Christmas Tree (8 Easy & Effective Ways)

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Dog lying beside a christmas tree

How to Dog-Proof a Christmas Tree (8 Easy & Effective Ways)


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Christmas is a fun time of the year that is enjoyed by people across the world. Many people with dogs, however, may feel like they’ll never be able to enjoy having Christmas décor in their home. The top item that people find difficult to keep in a home with dogs is Christmas trees.

The good news for you is that you can absolutely have a Christmas tree in a home with dogs. It does take some planning and forethought, though, so make sure to read through our suggestions so you’ll be prepared for managing both your dog and your Christmas tree this year.

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The 10 Ways to Dog-Proof a Christmas Tree

1.  Secure Your Tree

Dog beside christmas tree
Image By: Maximiliano Pinilla, Pexels

The more secure your Christmas tree is, the better it will function in a home with dogs. Even if you have dogs that ignore your tree, they still may bump it or roughhouse around it, which can often lead to accidental injuries to your dog or the tree, or accidental ornament damage. If you can find a way to secure your tree in the space it’s in, the better off you’ll be. You can even install a dog-specific fence around the Christmas tree!

Some people like to anchor their Christmas trees to the wall or curtain rods via twine, rope, or string. This is a good way to help your tree stay upright, even if bumped by a rambunctious dog. In recent years, Christmas trees suspended from the ceiling have partially come into style. Even if this design isn’t your thing, it is still a good option for keeping your tree and dog safe from one another.

2. Keep Fragile Items Near the Top

Although it may sound counterintuitive, it’s a great idea to keep your more fragile and valuable ornaments near the top of the tree. This is because it will keep them well out of your dog’s reach. You may also consider keeping them toward the back of your tree where they are unlikely to be damaged if the tree gets knocked down, as well.

Many people have extremely fragile Christmas ornaments, while others just have ornaments with sentimental or familial value. Keeping them near the top of the tree will ensure they are well out of your dog’s reach. For extremely fragile and valuable ornaments, you may consider keeping them off of your tree and completely out of your dog’s reach. This is the best way to ensure their safety from your dog throughout the Christmas season.

3. Ignore the Bottom of the Tree

Dog beside a christmas tree
Image By: Helena Jankovičová Kováčová, Pexels

When it comes to homes with dogs, it’s best to decorate as though the bottom portion of the tree simply doesn’t exist. This is because the lowest parts of your Christmas tree will be accessible to your dog, regardless of their size. Some dogs may be able to reach Christmas ornaments and other tree decorations much higher up, however. And don’t forget about the damage a happy tail can inflict!

Keeping the lower portions of the tree clear of ornaments, as well as lights and anything else your dog may grab or trip over is the best way to keep your tree and dog both safe, along with your tree decorations.

4. Avoid Ornament Hooks

Believe it or not, those list ornament hooks that cost about $3 for a box of 100 are one of the worst options for your Christmas tree. This is because the soft metal is easily bent out of shape, making your ornaments far less secure if your dog gets to them. They can also pose a risk to your dog if consumed.

Oftentimes, things like twine or ribbon are recommended for putting ornaments on trees that may be reached by dogs. These items will hold your ornaments more securely on your tree than the hooks will, and they’ll be safer for your dog. However, if your dog consumes any type of ribbon, twine, or metal hooks, you should immediately contact your vet for further guidance.

5. Be Cognizant of Electrical Cords

Fluffy dog getting belly rub under Christmas tree
Image By: Elina Fairytale, Pexels

Electrical cords are everywhere on a daily basis, but once the Christmas tree goes up, you’re likely inundated with a variety of cords that aren’t native to your home, like those that power Christmas lights and other special Christmas tree features. While most adults will step over or around these new electrical cords, it may be difficult for your dog to adjust.

Not only do some dogs struggle to adjust to not tripping over a new cord added to their walkway every day, but some overly curious doggos may attempt to chew on these new cords. It’s best to simply keep electrical cords well out of the way of your dog. There are lots of temporary options, like cord keepers and specially designed Command hooks, that will keep your electrical cords away from your dog throughout the Christmas season.

6. Avoid Foods

These days, most people decorate their Christmas trees only with ornaments and Christmas lights. However, there are still a large number of people who choose to use food items in their tree decorations. Candy canes and popcorn are the most common food items used as decorations on Christmas trees.

Overall, it’s best to avoid using any food items on your tree if you have dogs. These tasty treats may be too tempting for your dog. While things like sugar and food additives aren’t great for dogs, there are larger concerns. If your dog consumes string that has been threaded through pieces of popcorn, for example, then there is a serious risk for intestinal obstructions. Other foods may lead to stomach pain or upset, as well as vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs.

7. Keep the Area Clean

Dog with christmas backdrop
Image By: Karsten Winegeart, Unsplash

Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and adding a whole tree into the middle of the home can be an overly tempting thing for them. Aim to keep the area around the Christmas tree free and clear of extras that may be too tempting for your dog to leave alone.

The most common items that are too tempting for dogs to ignore include pine needles, ornaments, and pieces of ribbon and paper. These items can lead to digestive upset if ingested, and in some cases, may lead to digestive obstructions. For your dog’s health and well-being, it’s best to keep the area around your Christmas tree clean and free of “extra” items that may be consumed by your dog.

8. Keep the Tree Out of Reach

When it comes down to it, the best way to keep your tree safe from curious or clumsy dogs and your dog safe from the concerns associated with Christmas trees is by keeping your Christmas tree fully out of reach of your dog. Some people prefer to keep their tree in a closed room that is assigned to be dog-free throughout the season, while others may just make the rule that their dog isn’t allowed in a specific room unless accompanied by a responsible adult.

Dogs are curious and social animals that will want to see what’s so interesting about the tree and the gifts around it. It’s only natural for them to take an interest in the tree and its dangers. It’s your responsibility as a pet owner to keep your dog safe from themselves by keeping them away from your Christmas tree.

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In Conclusion

Christmas trees are a fun addition to your home during the Christmas season, but it can be dangerous for your dog to be allowed access to your Christmas tree. By following the above ideas, you’ll be able to keep your tree and ornaments safe from your dog. You’ll also be able to keep your dog safe from the dangers of Christmas trees, like tinsel, lights, and electrical cords.


Featured Image Credit: Prystai, Shutterstock

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