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How To Dog-Proof Your Christmas Decorations

A Labrador Retriever standing by his owner as they hand ornaments on the tree

Christmas time is filled with yummy treats and beautiful decor. While we love a festive home, it’s important to make sure your decorations are safe for every member of the family. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to keep your dog safe during the holidays, and the ways you can dog-proof your decorations. 

Holiday Pet Hazards

When decorating your home for the holidays we often forget the potential threat that our decorations can pose to our furry best friends. Some common Christmas decorations that can be dangerous for your dog include:

  • Power strips: With the influx of lights in your home around Christmas time, the use of power strips are common. With multiple items plugged into these strips, these power sources can hold a high potential of causing your dog harm if chewed or manipulated. It’s important to keep any power strips in a spot your dog cannot access to avoid the chance of electrocution.
  • Stockings: Stockings can seem like a fun new toy to your dog. With their glitter and eye-catching decorations, your dog may work hard to get a hold of your holiday stocking. It’s important to keep them out of your pup’s reach in order to prevent shredding of the stocking, or consumption of the candy and treats that are inside.
  • Ornaments: When ornaments hang low on your Christmas tree, it can be tempting for your dog to grab. Add in the fact that your ornaments roll around like a fun new toy, this can be extremely inviting for your furry friend. If an ornament is chewed or consumed, it can break into sharp pieces that can cause your dog serious harm.
  • Christmas tree trimming: While most Christmas trees are generally safe for dogs, the needles themselves can cause a huge problem for your dog. The pointy needles can cause injury to your dog’s eye if they are scoping out the tree, as well as cause intestinal blockage and complications if the tree trimmings are consumed.
  • Toxic plants: There are a few plants that are popular during Christmas time that have been known to cause toxicity in dogs. These include mistletoe, holly, evergreen, and poinsettias. While it’s been discovered that poinsettias are not as toxic as we once thought, they can still cause mild symptoms when consumed. Consuming poinsettias can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and minor skin irritation if the sap gets on your dog’s skin.

Dangers of Improperly Prepping Holiday Decorations

While you may think Christmas decorations pose no threat to your dog, there are a few big risks that Christmas decorations can bring your furry best friend. Some risks include:

  • Choking hazards:Dogs rely on their mouths and teeth to discover new things around your home. Their curiosity causes them to bite and pick up new objects, no matter how dangerous they may be. Small Christmas decorations can become lodged in your dog’s throat and cause them to choke. If not addressed quickly, choking can be fatal.
  • Electric shock: With the addition of power stips and new chords around your home, this increases your dog’s curiosity and desire to chew on new chords. Chewing on chords and powerstrips can result in electric shock, which can be fatal. Dogs who are electrocuted can experience severe burns in their mouth, respiratory distress, and cardiac complications.
  • Broken glass:Since Christmas decorations and ornaments are often made of glass, chewing on any of these objects can cause great injury for your dog. Broken glass can cause laceration in their mouth, on their paw if stepped on, which can be even more dangerous if consumed.
  • Toxicity: It’s common to have an influx of potentially toxic treats and plants around your home during the holidays. Some toxic things to be aware of include chocolate, mistletoe, holly, ivy, poinsettias, alcohol, and leftover fatty foods. These can include symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to neurological signs.

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A blue merle Australian Shephered  wearing reindeer antlers

Tips For Dog-Proofing Your Home For Christmas

Just because you have dogs in your home does not mean you will have to give up on decorating for the holidays. There are safe ways to decorate your home and keep your dog safe at the same time.

Some ways to dog-proof your home for Christmas include:

  • Purchase a raised Christmas tree: Keeping your Christmas tree off the ground can prevent chewing on the tree as well as low hanging ornaments.
  • Make use of a baby gate:Using a baby gate to block off rooms filled with decoration or the area around your tree can be beneficial for not only dogs but small children as well.
  • Avoid low hanging lights: Low hanging lights can result in possible electrocution, so it’s best to keep them out of reach to avoid any potential danger.
  • Avoid low hanging ornaments: Low hanging ornaments can be tempting for your pup to grab, so by keeping them out of their reach, you can avoid broken ornaments or possible ingestion.
  • Put breakable ornaments higher on the tree: If you have any fragile ornaments, it’s best to keep them up high on your tree. This way you can still show off your prized ornaments without the threat of your dog knocking them off.
  • Keep plants out of reach: Plants can be a beautiful decoration during the holidays, but they can pose a risk to your furry friend. As long as you keep these plants out of reach, you can still show your favorite plants off.
  • Bring out presents on Christmas day: While Christmas presents under the tree help bring in the Christmas spirit, they can be a tease to your pup, as they will want to explore these new additions to the room. You can keep your presents and your dog safe by only bringing the presents out on Christmas morning.

Do not put food on your Christmas tree:Your Christmas tree is already interesting to your dog, so the addition of sweet treats will make the tree absolutely irresistible. Try your best to refrain from adding any popcorn, candy canes, or any other sweet treats to your tree.

Meet The Author 

Amber LaRock Author of Doberman Breed Guide

Amber LaRock

Vet Tech & Trainer

Amber is a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Recently she has specialized in veterinary and animal-related content creation and social media management. When she is not working she loves spending time with her furry friends exploring the outdoors.

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