News / December 9, 2023

How To Keep Your Dog Safe At Christmas Time

It is important to keep your dog safe during the christmas period. Here are some tips and advice to ensure you create a safe environment for your dog this Christmas. 

Dogs With Christmas Tree

Christmas tree

If you have a real christmas tree, this has the potential to cause problems for your dog. Pine needles from the tree aren’t toxic to dogs however, they can be dangerous if ingested by your dog, as they can cause irritation in the mouth and digestive system due to the oils they contain and sharpness of the pine needle. Artificial trees can also cause problems as they can shed dangerous plastics which can cause problems for your dog such as choking or internal injury. 

What should you do? 

  • Ensure you keep the area under the tree clean and free from these needles, to decrease the chance of your dog ingesting them by accident. 
  • Discourage your dog from going near the tree 
  • Supervise them when they go near and watch for signs of your dog ingesting he needles; signs include stomach pain, vomiting 

Tree water

Real christmas trees require water which pesticides, fertilisers, or preservatives such as aspirin can be added to in order to make the tree last longer. These can be harmful to your dog if ingested. If water is not changed regularly, harmful bacteria can grow which can cause problems if your dog ingests it. 

What should you do? 

  • Use an artificial tree which doesn’t require water 
  • Put up a tree stand with a cover/shield for the water and cover the tree water basin with a lid, as well as setting up barriers to block the base of the tree 
  • Change the tree water on a regular basis 
  • Just use tap water, and do not add in preservatives 

Ornaments

Flashy ornaments with sounds or lights can easily catch a dog’s eye and look more attractive to playful dogs. If knocked off the tree, these can easily break. Broken glass is of course very dangerous to your dog, and could cause harm to their paws if stepped on, or mouth if ingested. 

What should you do? 

  • Choose to decorate your tree with simple decorations that do not sparkle or dangle down too much 
  • Use shatterproof or plastic ornaments instead of glass 
  • Place ornaments on higher branches to discourage your dog from playing with them 

Tinsel

Tinsel is one of the biggest hazards to your dog at Christmas. Tinsel can shed and attract your dog’s attention when near the tree. If the strings are ingested by your dog, it can cause blockages to their digestive system that may require surgery to remove.  

What should you do? 

  • Ditch the tinsel altogether, and replace with various dog-safe ornaments 
  • Use ribbons or colourful string that will not easily detach from the tree instead 
Dogs With Christmas Tree

Lights

Christmas lights make a christmas tree look amazing, but when dogs are exposed to these string lights, it could potentially cause harm. Dogs can chew on the cable causing electric shocks or burns, or even cause a fire hazard with the damaged cables. Dogs can also get tangled in the lights and cause harm to themselves. 

What should you do? 

  • Hang lights higher up on your christmas tree so they are out of reach to your dog 
  • Use lower voltage LED lights which are less of a fire hazard 
  • Spray the lights with bitter apple spray to discourage you dog from playing with them 
  • Buy cable protectors to avoid damage to the cord from your dog’s teeth 
  • Don’t let your dog be unsupervised around the christmas tree to prevent any harm or damages which may be caused 

Plants

Various Christmas plants are toxic to dogs. These are; Holly, Mistletoe, Poinsettia, Ivy, Lily, Amaryllis, Yew, Christmas roses. If any of these plants are ingested by your dog, it has the potential to cause serious harm to them, such as vomiting and weakness. There are some plants that are safe for dogs, which can be used to replace the other toxic ones. These are Christmas cactus, roses, orchids, achira, autumn olive. 

What should you do? 

  • Ideally you should replace the toxic plants with dog-safe ones
  • If you still wish to have christmas plants in your home, ensure they are kept safely out of reach from you dog 

Fire safety

Naked flames and playful dogs is obviously a dangerous combination! Open flames, such as candles and fireplaces have the potential to cause serious harm to your dogs. They may burn their nose or paws, or even cause a fire hazard if accidentally knocked over. 

Christmas Dog by Fireplace

What should you do? 

  • Use a fire guard for your fireplace so dogs cannot go near 
  • Supervise your dog when around an open flame and don’t leave them unattended  
  • You could use electric candles instead to avoid causing harm to your dog 
  • As with any open fire, ensure you have the ability to extinguish it in case of emergency  

Home decorations

Decorating your home is a big part of Christmas, however, just like the Christmas tree, it is important to take some precautions to keep your dog safe. Snow globes can be dangerous if broken due to sharp glass and containing antifreeze which is toxic to dogs. Ginger can be dangerous if large amounts are digested by your dog, so keep gingerbread houses or decorations out of reach. Needles from a wreath can be harmful if ingested by your dog for the same reasons as Christmas tree needles. Many decorations can be easily breakable which is not only a problem for you but can cause harm to your dog. 

What should you do? 

  • Keep snow globes away from places it can easily be knocked off, such as edges of tables 
  • Keep gingerbread houses or decorations out of reach to your dog or even choose to build non-edible ‘gingerbread’ houses out of Lego or cardboard
For more information on our residential dog training services please contact us at info@platinumk9.com or call us on 0115 646 0905.