Dog proofing your Christmas tree is rarely the first thing on your mind when you’re pulling out the decorations from the loft, but it should be a consideration if you are a dog owner. You could come home to a big mess and possibly an injured dog if you don’t make sure your tree stays in place when your back is turned. Take a look at our guide on dog proofing your Christmas tree to be sure your tree survives the holiday season.
Start from the bottom
The first step to dog proofing your Christmas tree starts with the base. Make sure it’s wide, sturdy and heavy. If you have a real tree, fill the base with enough water or sand so it won’t topple. Dogs may try to drink the water and will knock over flimsy stands.
Consider an anchor
We all know that a dog or even a cat will look at your tree like it’s their own personal Mount Everest to conquer, which is why dog proofing your Christmas tree is important. Make sure to anchor the tree to the wall or ceiling to ensure that it isn’t going anywhere. Use sturdy hooks and fishing line or strong twine to anchor the top of the tree in two directions to walls or the ceiling. This helps prevent a curious dog from pulling the tree over.
Create a barrier
Saying “No” isn’t going to suffice when dog proofing your Christmas tree. You might have to create a physical barrier to ensure that nothing gets knocked over. Place your tree in an area without a lot of dog foot traffic to begin with, then surround the base with pet gates, hard sided dog crates, or other physical barriers to keep dogs away from nibbling the branches or drinking the tree water. Plus, it might keep sticky fingers from getting near the presents.
Give items a bitter taste
Take away access and appeal when dog proofing your Christmas tree by wrapping the stand and bottom branches with old towels, fleece blankets or scrap fabric. Secure them with clothespins or binder clips out of reach. You can then cover these and other items with taste deterrent sprays made specifically for dogs. Coat the bottom 2-3 feet of branches, the stand, base, and any accessible wires to keep your dog away.
Or a bad smell
You can also try non-toxic scent repellents. Bitter sprays or gels apply a strong bitter flavour dogs find unpleasant. Dogs associate this bitterness with items you’ve sprayed and learn to avoid them. Alternate deterrent options include citrus-scented sprays that some dogs dislike. Avoid potentially toxic chemicals like mothballs.
The combined distaste or discomfort from bitter and citrus sprays helps curb your dog’s temptation to nibble, mouth or disturb delicate Christmas tree elements. Use alongside other dog proofing protections for best success.
If having a full-sized tree isn’t important to you, or your home doesn’t really allow for that much space getting taken up, consider a tabletop tree. When December hits you can find tree motifs in everything from napkins to jewellery, so why not get a tasteful décor item that you can load with miniature bobbles and place on a cabinet top. The dog won’t tip it over and you can still have fun decorating a tree that’s three feet tall rather than six feet tall.
Additionally, don’t bother dog proofing your Christmas tree and look outside your window. A few well-placed lights can turn an outdoor tree into a Christmas tree that you won’t mind your dog using as a bathroom. Alternatively, place your tree on a patio, porch, or protected area outside so pets can’t access it. You can still enjoy seeing it through windows and glass doors. Just be sure to secure it against wind and use weatherproof decorations.