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I walked into the room and there was my tree on the floor and my dog tangled up in the lights!  My dog’s first Christmas was one that we won’t forget!  Luckily there were no breakable ornaments on the tree and luckily it did not fall on top of him.  The rest of the holiday went a bit smoother but we followed some tips to keep your dog safe through the holidays after that incident, which we still follow and recommend today.

Keeping your pet safe at Christmas can be a bit of a challenge and something that you need to plan ahead for.  There are more decorations for him to get into, more food for him to check out and let’s not forget the tree!  We quickly learned to dog proof Christmas when our dog was younger.  With these tips you can keep your dog safe at Christmas too.

Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe Through The Holidays

1. Secure The Christmas Tree

This was a no brainer for me after finding my Christmas tree on the floor.  Put your tree in a corner, if possible, and tie it to the wall.  Securing your tree, whether it’s real or artificial, will save your dog from getting injured and save you from having to clean up a mess and redecorate your tree.  Trust me, you only want to decorate your tree once!

2.  Be cautious of tinsel.

Tinsel looks beautiful on a tree, the way it catches the light but it’s not safe for your dog.  You have two options for dog proofing.  You can either put the tinsel up high enough on the tree that your dog can’t reach it or you can skip the tinsel altogether.   When my dog was younger I chose the second option because I knew that he would try to find a way to get to the tinsel.  Now that he’s older, I put the tinsel up out of his reach.   A dog that eats tinsel may end up with a blockage and need surgery to have it removed.

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 3.  Placement of ornaments.

Ornaments can be tricky, especially if it’s your puppy’s first Christmas.  In this case, you should not put ornaments on the bottom of your tree.  This would be an invitation for your puppy to steal the ornaments and chew them up, which could cause a choking hazard.  If your dog is older and has never bothered the tree you can try putting some large, non breakable ornaments a bit lower on the tree.  Breakable ornaments would be ok at the top of a secured tree but putting them down lower could result in broken ornaments…all it takes is a wagging tail too close to the tree.

  4.  Don’t use edible decorations.

Some families like to string popcorn and put it on their Christmas tree.  Candy canes is another popular Christmas tree decorations.  Putting anything edible on your Christmas tree will make it hard for your dog to resist.  Things like this can cause a choking hazard for your dog if they manage to pull them off of the tree.

  5.  Be careful of placing wrapped gifts under the tree.

I don’t know about you but none of my presents go under the tree until it’s Christmas eve and my dog is being constantly supervised.  Over the years we have had some presents get prematurely unwrapped!  Having your Christmas presents unwrapped and possibly destroyed isn’t even the worst part.  Some presents may contain things that are choking hazards or that are delicious for us but could be poisonous to our dogs, dark chocolate for example.  The last thing that you want is an emergency trip to the veterinarian after your dog has eaten a box of dark chocolates.

6.  Keep Christmas plants out of reach of your dog.

Holly and mistletoe are two popular decorations for Christmas.  Both are poisonous for dogs.  If you use these plants for decorating, make sure that they are high enough that they won’t pose a threat to your dog.  Better yet, use artificial holly and mistletoe.  Poinsettias are beautiful at Christmas time.  Although they aren’t poisonous to most dogs, they can make them sick causing nausea and vomiting if the dog eats them.

 7.  Conceal electrical cords.

With all of the light sets at Christmas comes electrical cords.  Puppies and some dogs like to chew things, including electrical cords.  Be sure to keep all electrical cords concealed, taped to the wall or wrapped in hard plastic.  A dog that chews through an electrical cord that is plugged in could get seriously injured.

 8.  Keep people food out of reach of your dog.

Christmas is a time of coming together with family and friends.  While we are entertaining we tend to have special treats to share with our guests.  Some of these treats could contain chocolate, raisins, onions and other foods that we may like but are toxic to our pets.  Keep these foods out of reach of your pet and ask your guests to do the same.

9.  Keep tree needles cleaned up.

If you are using a real tree, keep the needles cleaned up as they fall on the floor.  Some dogs will eat these needles causing them to get an upset stomach.  A greater concern, though, is the needles puncturing the GI tract.  To prevent an emergency trip to the vet hospital, keep those needles vacuumed up. This vacuum cleaner is excellent for pet owners!

There you have it.  9 tips to keep your dog safe through the holidays.  Once you know that your dog is safe it is much easier to enjoy the holiday season.  If you have special safety tips that you follow at Christmas for your dog, we’d love to hear them. 

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