Tips on having a Christmas Tree when you have A dog
Most of us love a Christmas tree in our homes: real or fake, table top or an 8 foot whopper – but there are a few precautions you need to take, to ensure your seasonal centrepiece doesn’t become a hazard to your dog. As a North London dog walker, I’ve heard a few tales of dogs being injured by Christmas trees, but I know having a dog doesn’t mean you have to go without a tree, so read on to find out how to ensure your dog (and tree) stays intact this Christmas.
Christmas time can be quite overwhelming for our pets. There is also the hazard that the Christmas tree and other holiday plants too, can be quite toxic for our dogs. How harmful these trees and plants are obviously depends on the amount that the dog actually eats, but symptoms can vary from mild to extreme.
Even a dog that isn’t that interested in your Christmas tree might inadvertently knock a badly positioned tree over as he runs past it. If possible, make sure your tree is in a room that you can close off to your dog when you can’t be there to supervise him. Place the tree in a corner, ideally secured to the wall (or to the ceiling – you can use invisible fishing line to do this!). If it can be close to a power source to reduce trailing electric cables, so much the better.
Pine needles can get stuck in unsuspecting paws – or even in a dog’s throat or intestines if they get that far, so if you have a real tree, sweep dropped needles up regularly. The oils from the fir tree can irritate your dog’s stomach and mouth. This will cause either vomiting or drooling, not something you want to be faced with on Christmas morning.
Dogs may also find the water around the Christmas tree irresistible, but unfortunately it can cause stomach problems, the last thing you’ll want to deal with on Christmas day! Artificial trees don’t drop needles, but if chewed, they can cause all sort of problems for your dog, so keeping it out of reach of your pet is advisable.
Keep any electrical cables for tree lights tied up and out of your dog’s reach to avoid him chewing and electrocuting himself. Glass baubles pose a particular hazard to your dog if chewed on, or if they fall and break where your dog might walk. Tinsel can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed, so why not tie ribbons onto the tree instead.
Hanging chocolate on the tree is probably inviting disaster. Not only might an eager dog knock the tree over on himself trying to reach tempting treats, but if he actually gets to the chocolate he could poison himself. Remember too, the other plants you have around your home at Christmas time. Although very decorative, Holly and Mistletoe are poisonous to our pets.
Finally, while you may be able to resist opening the presents till Christmas morning, your dog may not be so restrained – avoid putting the presents under the tree until you are there to supervise – especially if he’s going to be allowed to look for his own dog-friendly Christmas treat in the pile.
Simple when you know how! A few simple precautions and both your dog and your Christmas tree will enjoy a wonderful Christmas.
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