From Christmas stockings to fairy lights and trees, it’s almost the time of year when families begin putting up their decorations to celebrate the start of the festive season.
But while the glowing lights of your tree in the evening may be a great cosy set-up during the colder months, your dog is likely to see its shimmering baubles and twinkling fairy lights as perfectly irresistible playthings.
That’s why Sean McCormack, Head Vet at tails.com, has explained why Christmas trees can be a hazard to our fluffy friends, and how you can protect them from dog-related damages so that your baubles survive at least until Boxing Day.
1. Trees Can Contain Chemicals That Cause an Upset Stomach
Some ‘real’ Christmas trees are sprayed with preservative chemicals, which could give your dog an upset tummy if ingested or irritation in the mouth if they consume them from licking or chewing on the tree branches.
If you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic over the Christmas period, it’s important to contact your emergent vet to seek advice.
2. Pine Needles Are a Choking Hazard
Your tree can actually be harmful to your dog if they get too close to it. The pine needles present potential choking hazards, as they are nearly impossible to digest and can get clogged in your dog’s throat or intestines, and can get trapped in your dog’s paws.
If you’re worried about your four-legged friends getting access to your Christmas tree, make sure your dog is never alone with the tree, or at least not for a prolonged period of time. Pups are far more likely to get up to mischief without their owners around to tell them off.As this may not be an option for some, putting a gate or some kind of border around your tree will also prevent your pup from getting too close to it.
3. Fairy Lights May Burn or Cause an Electric Shock
While twinkling fairy lights are the perfect addition to any tree, the dancing colours and glowing lights will naturally make your pet curious. However, if your pooch gets too close or begins to chew on them, the hot lights may burn or give them an electric shock, not to mention the potential risks of getting their noses burnt on the hot lights and the chance that they may harm themselves if they get tangled up between the wires.
To make sure your canine companion doesn’t get too close to your fairy lights, tightly secure them inside the branches of the tree, or hide any loose wires under a rug out of sight, so that they aren’t exposed or tempting for your pooch to chew on.
4. Fragile Ornaments May Shatter or Break
Nothing says Christmas quite like your tree dripping in dazzling baubles. But while glass ornaments may add a little something special to your tree, your pooch is likely to be fascinated by their sparkly finish, thinking they are the perfect ball to play fetch with.
However, baubles can be especially dangerous to your dog, particularly glass ornaments, as they can smash and cause injury to your fluffy friend’s paws.
Tightly fasten any baubles to your Christmas tree to prevent your dog from getting their paws on them. If you’re worried about your pet exploring your tree, hang your ornaments (particularly more breakable ones) higher up so they are out of reach.
5. Edible Decorations Can Make Your Dog Sick
We all know how greedy our pups can be, and while tasty treats like candy canes and chocolate Santas may have your dog drooling in delight, they can also make them very sick if they do get hold of them.
If you know your dog is particularly excited when it comes to food, then giving the edible decorations on your tree a miss this year might be the safest option to prevent any upset tummies.
If you still want to treat your family and kids to edible gifts and snacks this year, avoid putting them on the tree and put them out of reach of your dog.
6. Tinsel Presents a Choking Hazard
Tinsel can be extra exciting for our furry friends, not only because of its sparkly and shiny look but also because they can run around with it in their mouths like a stick.
But while tinsel can be the perfect finishing touch to your Christmas tree, the tiny foil pieces it’s made from can become a dangerous choking hazard for your dog.
To protect your dog, keep any tinsel firmly out of reach, whether that’s on your tree or elsewhere – this should prevent your dog from chewing or playing with it.