It’s almost that magical time of year again where we put up our Christmas trees for that festive sparkle. But unfortunately, dogs and Christmas trees don’t really mix.
There are more potential threats to our pooches than normal during the festive season. Christmas decorations, sweets and holiday plants can all put our pup’s safety at risk. But it’s not all doom and gloom. You can still have a Christmas tree with a pup in the house; you just need to take a few precautions first.
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Stabilise the tree
Trees falling over is one of the main problems dog parents face around Christmas time. If your pooch is curious to explore or they’re playing nearby, your tree could topple over without the right support.
Ensure your tree stand is big enough and sturdy enough for the weight and size of your tree. For extra security, you could use wire to tie it to the wall or ceiling. But if you don’t fancy making new holes in your walls, you could use two bulky sand bags placed on the stand of the tree, then cover with a tree skirt.
Elevate your tree
Keep your tree out of reach by elevating it off the ground. Not only will this keep curious paws off the tree, it will avoid any potential toileting issues too.
Simply pop your tree on a table. You also get the added bonus of giving height to your tree so you can admire it in its full twinkling glory.
Consider going artificial
There’s something extra special about a real tree, but an artificial tree could be safer for your dog. Pine needles are pointy which can cause eye injuries if they get too close. Fallen needles can stick into your dog’s paws, and they can also cause an upset tummy if ingested.
You can get some magnificent artificial trees that look almost like the real deal. So consider this when buying your tree this year.
Cover the tree water
If you have your heart set on a real tree, you’ll need to keep it well-watered so it stays looking fabulous throughout the festive season. But that water can pose a risk to dogs. Stagnating water in itself can make your dog sick. And the floral preserves you can use to keep your tree looking good is toxic to dogs. Keep the water reservoir covered to avoid accidents.
Be wary of electrical cords
Bright, shiny Christmas lights can attract inquisitive pups. But dogs are at risk of getting tangled or suffering an electric shock. Try to keep your lights off the lower branches so they’re out of reach. Keep the excess cord hidden under a tree skirt or stick it down with electrical tape. For extra safety, use battery-powered lights so they don’t burn their mouth if they do manage to chew the cords.
Choose ornaments wisely
It’s a good idea to avoid glass or fragile ornaments altogether in case they’re knocked to the floor and shatter. But if some ornaments are too precious to go without, hang them on the higher branches and ensure they’re securely fastened. Stick to safer ornaments (like paper) for the bottom half of the tree, or avoid decorating the lower branches altogether.
Avoid edible decorations
Many people like to hang chocolates and other treats on the tree, but it’s a good idea to skip this tradition for us pooch lovers. Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and could mean an emergency trip to the vet if eaten. Having food on the tree will be too tempting for a peckish pooch to resist. Keep your festive treats on a countertop well out of your dog’s reach.
Use baby gates
It may be a good idea to secure a baby gate in your ‘festive room’ so you can block access when you can’t supervise. This just gives you added peace of mind while you’re busy around the home or at work for the day.
Use a barrier
Another great option is to construct a barrier around your tree. You can buy ready-to-go fences online, or you could use an old doggy play pen to block your dog’s access.
I hope these tips will help keep your furry friend and your Christmas tree safe from any mishaps this year. How will you be protecting your tree? Let us know in the comments below…
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