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How to Keep Your Dog from Peeing on Your Christmas Tree: 8 Vet Approved Tips

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Jack Russell Terrier and aa Christmas tree

How to Keep Your Dog from Peeing on Your Christmas Tree: 8 Vet Approved Tips


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree is the centerpiece of the holiday décor in many homes. However, dog owners may find that their pups enjoy having an indoor tree for a different purpose. If you catch your dog lifting their leg to add their own “decoration” to the branches, this article is for you. Here are eight tips for how to keep your dog from peeing on your Christmas tree.

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The 8 Tips to Keep Your Dog from Peeing on Your Christmas Tree

1. Watch For the Signs

Observe your dog the next time you take them outside to pee. Most dogs spend some time sniffing, pacing, and pawing the ground before they get around to peeing on a tree. To keep your dog from peeing on your Christmas tree, pay attention to their behavior and intervene before they start urinating.

If you spot your dog sniffing the tree, grab the leash and get them outside quickly. For this tip to work, you’ll still need to keep your dog away from the tree using other methods when you are not directly supervising them.

labrador dog looks in surprise at a decorated Christmas tree and waits for a miracle
Image Credit: ShineTerra, Shutterstock

2. Block Access to the Tree

One simple solution to keep your dog from peeing on the Christmas tree is simply to block their access. That might mean placing the tree in a separate room and shutting the door. It could also involve using baby gates or barriers to surround the Christmas tree and keep your dog away.

This solution may not work well if your dog is big enough to push past or jump over the gates. However, it could serve dual purposes if you’re also trying to protect your Christmas tree from a marauding human toddler.

3. Distract Your Dog

Another way to keep your dog from peeing on your Christmas tree is to distract them with treats or toys when they start sniffing or circling. Someone will need to be available to monitor your dog’s behavior for this tip to work effectively.

If you’re not close enough to your dog to get their attention with a toy, try whistling or calling them to distract them from the Christmas tree. Avoid harsh or scary methods of distracting your dog, such as yelling at them or physically manipulating them.

bichon frise puppy being trained with a dog treat
Image Credit: sergey kolesnikov, Shutterstock

4. Go Back to Housetraining

To keep your dog from peeing on your Christmas tree, you may need to get back to basics and refresh your pet’s housetraining knowledge.

Reward your dog when they pee outside, just like you did during the first round of housetraining. Don’t punish your dog for accidents, either. You can clean up indoor accidents using an appropriate product, which will help prevent your dog from returning to the same location, in this case, the Christmas tree, to pee again.

5. Reward Good Behavior

A slow but effective way to teach your dog not to pee on your Christmas tree is to positively reinforce them for resisting the urge to mark. If you spot your dog smelling the tree and walking away without peeing, praise and reward them.

Dog owners who use clicker training should mark the desired behavior using a click-and-treat method. You can combine this reward technique with careful monitoring to train your dog to avoid peeing on the Christmas tree.

woman hugging her dog at home on the couch
Image Credit: Evgeny Atamanenko, Shutterstock

6. Check for Hidden Problems

Before blaming your dog’s rogue bladder on a behavioral problem, you’ll want to rule out any hidden medical concerns. Dogs who suddenly start having accidents in the house could suffer from a urinary tract infection or a systemic problem like diabetes.

You can make an appointment with your vet to look for a medical cause for your dog peeing on the Christmas tree. Once your pup receives a clean bill of health, you can utilize the other tips on our list to halt their unwanted behavior.

7. Neuter Your Dog

Urine marking is frequently a territorial behavior, with dogs wanting to put their stamp on new items like the Christmas tree. Marking is most common in unneutered male dogs and neutering can reduce or eliminate the behavior, but it is not a guaranteed cure. It’s best to talk to your veterinarian to determine whether castration is right for your dog, they can answer any questions you might have and advise on the best age for the surgery.

veterinary medical team performing an operation. spaying and neutering surgery
Image Credit: MAOIKO, Shutterstock

8. Get an Artificial Tree

If your dog cannot leave your live Christmas tree alone, your only option may be switching to an artificial option. Frequently, it’s the strong scent of a live Christmas tree that triggers your dog to pee on it.

Artificial trees don’t have that classic Christmas tree scent, and that may be enough to keep your dog from marking. Some prefer artificial trees because they’re more cost-effective and less messy than the real version.

If marking is still an issue with your artificial tree, having a pet-friendly cleaner on hand is a must while your dog learns where his appropriate bathroom spots are.

If you are interested in an all-natural ezyme cleaner, our favorite is the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray. It does an excellent job of successfully lifting set-in stains and odors the first time without odor masking. It's available in 3 light scent options - Neutral, Citrus Splash, and Floral Fresh. Best of all, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee - click here to learn more. 

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Christmas Tree Hazards

While the point of this article is to protect your tree from your dog, the truth is that your pup is also at risk from this Christmas decoration. Preventing your dog from peeing on the tree may also serve a secondary purpose of keeping them safe.

One significant hazard posed by Christmas trees is the decorations. For example, dogs can be injured if they break glass ornaments or step on and swallow ornament hooks. Chewing on the tree lights could also electrocute your dog.

Another concern is the tree’s needles. Sharp needles can puncture your dog’s lips, eyes, tongue, or even intestines if swallowed. Ingesting artificial Christmas tree needles could cause an intestinal blockage.

Some varieties of Christmas trees might be toxic to your dog if chewed or eaten. Drinking Christmas tree water, which frequently contains toxic additives, can also poison dogs.


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Pet ownership frequently requires sacrifices, whether time, money, or your favorite pair of shoes. When decorating for the holidays, your Christmas tree doesn’t have to be something you give up. You can follow the tips in this article to keep your dog from peeing on your Christmas tree and enjoy a safe, happy holiday season at the same time.

Featured Image Credit By: Dezy, Shutterstock

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