Christmas Decorating When You Have a Dog

Christmas decorations and dogs don’t mix without a bit of thoughtfulness. I remember as a kid setting up the Christmas tree with my family,  just as the last ornament was placed on the tree… the dogs ran into the living room full of energy and curiosity. In less than 5 minutes most of the ornaments on the bottom of the tree were on the floor, many broken. Oftentimes, these holiday decorations are not left up all year round so when we bring them out your dogs are bursting with curiosity and awe. Dogs like to sniff new things so, understandably, they want to investigate these shiny new decor items throughout the home. 

You will likely have to put a lot of thought into Christmas decorating when you have a young dog or puppy. Consider the following advice to have a safely decorated home for the holidays:

  • Breakable decorative items should be placed in high out of reach locations, and make sure that any cords can’t be snached by a curious pup
  • Candy bowls should be placed out of reach as well vs on the coffee table where a pup could easily steal a pawful 
  • Any cords or twinkly light strings should be out of your dog’s reach, the last thing you need is a puppy getting twisted up and falling in a pile of cords or getting electrocuted from chewing on the cords
  • Put some thought into the placement of your christmas tree. If it’s in the middle of the room, it is likely extension cords will be going around and could be tripped on, played with or chewed. Consider placing the tree in a low traffic corner of the room so it won’t be in the direct path of your pup.
  • If your dog likes to play or brush up against the bottom of the Christmas tree, place ornaments above their walking height so they won’t be knocked down. Consider using plastic or non-breakable ornaments near the base of the tree and keeping breakables up high
  • Another option is to put up a circular barrier or baby gate around the base of the Christmas tree to protect it from being sniffed or run into (this could also protect presents that are wrapped and placed at the base of the tree)
  • Avoid placing edible ornaments on the tree, things like candy canes or dried cookie ornaments will have a scent that attracts the dog compelling them to investigate further
  • Avoid tinsel, this is one of the easiest decorations for your dog to get a hold of and can be dangerous if ingested
  • Secure the tree to the wall or ceiling to prevent it from being able to be pulled down easily
  • If you are using a real Christmas tree, it’s likely your dog will be attracted to the needles that fall off or any sap/oil that comes off. You will need to clean up the needles regularly, they can be dangerous if your dog swallows them 
  • The water dish kept to nourish your tree can be poisonous for your dog. Keep the water covered so your dog cannot get into it
  • If you are using a fake Christmas tree, let your dog be with you when you pull it out of the box and set it up. This provides them an opportunity to get their sniffs out when it isn’t set up yet so they may be less curious later on
  • For either fake or real trees; Teaching your dog the cue “leave it”, will be helpful for them to learn to stay away. You can also use a dog safe pet repellent for the bottom levels of the tree to discourage your pup from going to the tree
  • Decorating outside the home should be less of a challenge as long as you ensure any extension cords running inside are taped down or kept out of pup’s reach. Don’t put any lights or decorations in the back yard where the dog is allowed loose by themselves. 

Christmas Decorating When You Have a Dog

Christmas Decorating when you have a dog is obtainable, it just requires us to step back and consider what our pups may get into or what may be unsafe for them. Make some small adjustments for safety but decorate to your heart’s content. If there is any kind of a health emergency surrounding Christmas decorations, contact your local emergency veterinarian asap.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Amy G. Rudd

Dog Training in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Corrales, Placitas

The mission of Good Buddy Dog Training is to help build the bond between dogs and their owners through positive training methods. We teach dogs to accomplish new behaviors and humans to bring out the best in their furry friends. For the most effective training, we work with people directly in their homes, where dogs and their humans feel most comfortable. And the training we do is based on the science of how dogs learn by using a positive and fun curriculum to build confidence in both dog and owner.

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