Christmas tree safety is important if you have a dog. Even if you don’t have a tree at your own home, people you visit may have one. Trees, real and artificial, pose several dangers for dogs you need to avoid. If you have a really young puppy, the best solution may be to skip the tree this year or place it in a place the puppy does not have access to.
I’ll never forget, years ago when I brought my first dog home from the shelter a couple days after Christmas. She was an 18-month-old Labrador/Newfoundland mix, about 100 pounds, with a big wagging tail. We walked into my house, and within seconds, ornaments were flying through the air, and the tree was wobbling. I had never thought about dogs and trees before bringing my girl home. Taking the tree down immediately seemed to be my best option at the time to keep my dog and house safe.
1. Putting Up The Christmas Tree
Whether your tree is real or artificial, it needs to be stable. The best location for a tree is in a corner. Make sure your tree stand is designed to really keep a tree upright. Some dogs will have no interest in trees, others are fascinated. If you have a dog who won’t leave the tree alone, consider anchoring the tree to the wall or ceiling to prevent it from falling over. Keep the needles vacuumed up, or your dog may try to eat them. Both real and artificial needles can cause problems if your dog ingests them.
2. Watering The Tree
Why is it pets always find water not in their own water bowl so tasty to drink? Once a dog sees your tree is sitting in water, she may want to get a taste of that flavored water. The water in your tree stand may contain sap, fertilizers, and bacteria from the tree. Drinking this water could make your dog ill. Cover the opening to the bowl with a tight tree skirt or create a cover for the bowl. It may be more difficult to add water to your tree, but your dog will be safe.
3. Lighting The Christmas Tree
Some dogs find the lights on a tree fascinating and may want to bite them or pull on them. Tails can also become tangled in the cord as a dog passes closely by the tree. Keep your string of lights up a bit higher to avoid your dog getting injured or tangled in them.
4. Hanging Tree Decorations
At my house, we don’t place any ornaments within the dog’s reach. Fragile ornaments should always be up higher to keep them from being damaged. Ball driven dogs may see round ornaments as balls to be played with. It is very dangerous to dogs to bite into, and crunch an ornament in their mouth. Always avoid tinsel. It is tempting to dogs, and can create intestinal blockages that may require surgery. No stringing up popcorn or other food items on your tree. Edible is edible for dogs, and your pup may try to eat food decorations.
5. Placing Gifts Under The Christmas Tree
The tree looks so festive when there are gifts under it, right? If you have a dog, avoid putting gifts out until the last minute. Who knows what is in those boxes, or where they may have been. Some dogs will shred the packages, or ingest the ribbons. Not only will you be out some of your gifts, but your dog may become sick from all the dye in the wrapping paper, and ribbons.
Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean you can’t have a Christmas tree. One needs to use common sense, and think of your dog as a young toddler. Dog-proof your tree to prevent accidents from happening.
Joy Schneider is dog mom to GBGV’s Bailie and Madison, and is the human behind the blog, MyGBGVLife.com Technically, she’s a Real Estate Transaction Coordinator, but her heart is with dogs. Most of her time is spent with her dogs, doing training, sports, running, and walking. My GBGV Life is a fun,photo based blog about creating a healthy lifestyle for dogs through diet, physical, and mental exercise.She shares her dogs’ adventures, products she loves, and things she learns along the way to help others create a wonderful lifestyle and bond with their own dogs.