‘Tis the season…for your dog (or cat!) to topple the holiday tree, unwrap the gifts, and try to sneak a bite of tasty human treats (which may not be healthy for your furry family members). Dogs are naturally curious and when you’re bringing a tree indoors, they may not be able to resist the lure of the sticks that make up your tree.
Here are tips for teaching Fido that the branches of the holiday tree are not made for playing fetch.
How to keep your dog away from the tree:
- Just say “no.” Depending on the words you use when you want your dog to not go near something, use that word to keep his curious nose out of the branches. If this is your first holiday with your dog, you may need to teach him to “stay” and choose a spot that is not within reach of the tree.
- Don’t put the dog bed or toys near the tree. If you keep her favorite items away from the tree she may not be interested enough in it to chew it or pull decorations off.
- Deter marking. Your dog, especially male dogs, may look at the tree as an ideal place to mark—especially if the pine scent is evident and the tree smells like the great outdoors. That urge to pee on the tree may pass with time, but you will need to be diligent to insure he’s not lifting his leg.
Here are a few options to try to protect the tree—and your dog:
- Put a baby gate around the tree.
- Display the tree on a tabletop, so it’s out of reach from most dogs.
- Use a higher, off-the-ground stand for the tree.
- Put the tree in a room your dog can’t access when he’s left alone.
8 holiday safety tips for pets to keep in mind this season:
1. Keep alcoholic beverages out of reach of dogs. This includes beer hops, which are extremely toxic.
2. Don’t feed your dog table scraps. It might be tempting to give Fido or Fifi a nibble of something different, but resist. Human foods can wreak havoc with your dog’s digestive system. Instead, offer a treat you’d typically feed them, so they can fee a part of the celebration.
3. Tinsel, glitter, holiday ornament hangers and other tree trimming items can be dangerous—or deadly—for dogs. Keep breakable ornaments at a height your dog can’t reach.
4. Don’t let your dog greet guests at the door. In the excitement of guests coming in, your dog may slip out and get lost. Keep them away from the door, keep their collars on, and make certain they’re microchipped or wearing identification.
5. If your dog isn’t accustomed to guests or young children (who may be face level with your dog), give the dog a place to get away from the hustle and bustle. If your dog is crate-trained, make certain his crate is easy for him to get to, but out-of-the-way space in case he needs a breather. Here are some additional tips for preventing dog bites.
6. Wrapping paper and ribbon can wreak havoc on your dog’s intestines. Look for wrapping paper that is pet friendly (steer clear of metallic paper or paper with glitter), and wrap gifts in paper that won’t harm your dog.
7. Don’t put any food or gifts that have a scent under the tree or in your stockings, your dog’s nose will get the better of him, and he might tear into the gifts!
8. If you have a real, or live, tree the needles can harm your dog’s paws and if he eats them it could puncture his intestines. It is important to vacuum up pine needles regularly to keep your dog from chewing on the branches. Note: Do not let your dog drink the water from the tree stand, if you have a real tree.
Having a safe and happy holiday is what we wish for you and your pets. It is possible, with a little pre-planning and with pet-friendly safety measures in mind!
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