How to Puppy Proof Your Christmas Tree

You’re excited to celebrate your first Christmas with your new puppy and are probably already imagining all of the adorable photos you can take of the dog with the tree. But wait, how are you going to keep that tree upright and untouched by your puppy for the duration of the season? And um, what about the concept that a tree is something your dog does her your business on outside and now it’s in the living room—a no-no zone?

There are few factors to consider when you have a puppy and are decorating for the holidays with a Christmas Tree.

Here are six ways to puppy-proof your Christmas tree.

1. Consider an artificial tree

Sure, we love that fresh Christmas tree smell as much as the next person but this could minimize some potential problems, like pine needles on the floor that your pup might want to eat, drinking the water, or even bugs or loose critters in the house that came in on the tree. (Hey, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree housed a baby owl—it could happen!)

2. Make sure the dog isn’t drinking the tree water

The novelty of water in this new “bowl” seems appealing to your pup, but it can be dangerous for dogs to drink free Christmas tree water. That stagnant water may be harboring bacteria or, if it was fertilized and that poison is stuck in the sap, it can wind up in the water and make your dog sick. Putting dog gates around the tree can help keep your pup out of this area. Here, 9 signs you’re a puppy parent.

3. Put the tree in a sturdy tree stand or elevate it

Depending on the size of the tree, you want to make sure you have a strong tree stand that the tree is safely secured in, or you may want to raise the tree a few feet off the floor on a sturdy table. Elevating the tree can help keep smaller puppies out of mischief and limit their tree encounters. You may also want to anchor a large tree to other furniture or sturdy objects if you’re afraid it’ll fall over.

4. Consider using battery-operated lights.

You probably already know how much your puppy loves to try to chew wires, so this big green decorated “toy” with lights that came into the house is probably no different. You might want to use battery-operated lights this year while your pup is at her most rambunctious stage. A chewed electrical cord could lead to oral burns and electrical shock. If you are set on using electric lights, use electrical cord covers and keep cords out of sight of your pup. (Keep this in mind with all holiday light decorations!)

5. Nix the tinsel

Chances are if you decorate with tinsel, some of it will fall to the floor within the next month. (It’s kind of like glitter—you might find it around your house for the next year!) Tinsel and ribbons could lead to intestinal blockage if your dog ingests them. Don’t chance it and just skip this extra tree adornment for the time being.

6. Skip the lower-branch ornaments and lights

Avoid broken, chewed-up or destroyed ornaments that your pup has easy access to by keeping the bottom branches free of decorations. Your pup will still probably want to sniff the tree—which may smell like the forest or your attic—but at least she won’t be able to ruin your beloved ornaments if they’re secured up high.

Putting gates around the Christmas tree or crating your puppy while you are gone can help ensure this beloved decoration remains untouched and your puppy stays safe.

Remember to reward your pup for good behavior around the Christmas tree with a daily breath-freshening treat like WHIMZEES Holiday Variety Pack. With snowmen and holiday trees, he can satisfy his desire to munch on the Christmas tree with a delicious tartar-fighting treat!