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How to Dog Proof Your Christmas Tree

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How to keep your dog safe from your Christmas tree

You take a step back, proudly admiring the beautiful tree you and your family spent all day decorating. Then in slow motion you see your dog run to the tree, grab a branch in his mouth and tug. Or he runs over, grabs an ornament thinking it is some weird dangling tennis ball. Or he might have even run over and peed on your tree. All of these annoyances have happened and do happen every year. But the bigger problem is the dangers that all these behaviors pose.

When you really look into it, Christmas trees are a walking minefield. SO dangerous! Like, why do we even want them? Oh yeah, they’re so pretty! And where else would Santa leave presents? I was actually surprised about the many ways a Christmas tress is dangerous, a few of these hazards had never even crossed my mind before.

  1. If your dog knocks the tree over anyone or anything under is can get hurt or damaged
  2. If you tree falls over it can also start a fire
  3. The tree or the water in its stand can both be poisonous if ingested
  4. The cords can cause eclectic shock if chewed (which can cause brain damage or even death)
  5. Glass ornaments can shatter and cause emergent problems if swallowed and superficial cuts if stepped on
  6. All ornaments can also be a choking risk or need to be removed surgically if swallowed

How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Safe from Your Dog

Sometimes it is best to pick and choose your battles and how you are going to spend your time. That is why I recommend to use management as a tool to survive the holiday season with an intact Christmas tree. Management is when you make a change to the environment to prevent the dog from engaging in or displaying a specific behavior. In this case, we want to prevent them from interacting with the Christmas Tree. Part of the reason management is so important is that the more a dog does a behavior, the more likely they are to do it in the future. So if they have tons of fun playing with Christmas ornaments this year, they are going to be more likely to have fun playing with them again next year.

3 of the most important things management accomplishes:

  • Changes behavior immediately
  • Keeps your dog and your family safe
  • Removes the opportunity for the dog to rehearse an undesired behavior. Which makes it less likely your dog will mess with the Christmas tree when you bring it out again next year.

Some easy management plans for you this Christmas:

  1. Buy plastic or shatterproof ornaments that are large enough your dog cannot swallow them
  2. Unplug all cords unless you are supervising your dog
  3. Anchor the tree so it cannot fall over

Now my favorite part! How do you dog-proof your whole Christmas tree?

These creative folks had some fantastic ideas!

Only decorate the top half of your tree

Put the tree inside something

Make sure the tree is out of reach

If you hang your tree on the ceiling, I NEED you to send me a picture!

If putting the tree inside something sounds like the best plan for your family, any sort of gate or playpen will likely work. Not your style? I found this cute example on Etsy: Christmas Tree Fence and there are lots of inexpensive options on Amazon.

And, most importantly, stay safe and Happy Holidays!

© Leash and Learn 2022

Still need help? Please reach out!

If you have made it this far and you still do not know who to hire or where to start, send an email to us at info@leashandlearnnyc.com, and we will help you. Include your zip code, your dog’s name, and what you need help with. Give us a few days but we will get back to you with some ideas


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