Ten ways to keep your dog from destroying your Christmas decorations

From vibrant Christmas trees covered in brightly coloured baubles and twinkling tinsel to Santa’s stockings and the presents within, your dog will probably view your festive decorations as perfectly irresistible playthings.

Luckily for dog parents everywhere, the expert team at tails.com have put together a list of ways to protect your decorations from dog-related damages, and help your baubles survive until Boxing Day at least.

Christmas Tree

Before getting into all the various decorations that go on it, we need to discuss how to pup-proof the tree itself. Your dog will almost certainly be tempted to chew on the trunk, branches and needles of the tree, and they may even attempt to mark it with their scent – a very unwanted Christmas present.

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 the needles can get trapped in a dog’s paws.

Some ‘real’ Christmas trees are sprayed with preservative chemicals, which could make your dog sick if they consume them from licking or chewing on the tree branches.

“First and foremost, you need to make sure that your dog is never alone in the same room with your Christmas tree, at least not for a prolonged period. Pups are far more likely to get up to mischief without their owners around to tell them off.

“If this is not feasible, then consider installing a baby gate around your Christmas tree to stop your dog from getting too close to it”.

Fairy Lights

Fairy lights on a Christmas tree are an absolute staple, and fun for the whole family. Your dog is no exception, as they will more than likely be entertained by the display of twinkling colours and lights and may even attempt to play with them.

However, if your dog attempts to chew at them, they run the risk of getting 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.

“Dog owners need to be very careful regarding how much wiring is exposed. One way to conceal your cords would be to hide them under a rug, with the wiring taped to the floor to keep firmly in place. Another method of limiting exposed wiring would be to tape them along the skirting board, which you may even want to cover with another piece of furniture to be extra safe”.

Baubles

What dog doesn’t love spending a good few hours chasing a tennis ball, and what is a bauble to a dog, if not a big, sparkly tennis ball?

To avoid bite-marks on your baubles, tails.com experts advise that you “tightly fasten your baubles to a deep branch on your tree and try to avoid the bottom branches to protect your baubles from curious paws and out of control tails.

“Avoid hanging heavier ornaments, or ones made of glass, on your tree as these types of decorations will be more difficult to securely fasten. If they do fall off, then the collision could injure your dog, or any shattered pieces could cut your dog’s paws. Try keeping any sentimental ornaments of this nature away from your tree and on somewhere more solid like your mantlepiece”.

Tinsel

Tinsel must be a tempting looking toy for dogs to play with, since they can hold it in their mouths like a stick.

However, aside from your pup tearing your tinsel to pieces if they were to get their paws on it, tinsel is one of the most dangerous decorations to have around dogs, as each small plastic or foil strand represents a potentially major choking hazard for your dog.

To protect your tinsel and your terrier from each other, tails.com experts recommend that you “Keep any tinsel firmly out of your dogs’ reach, whether that’s on your tree or elsewhere, as this should prevent your dog from chewing or playing with it.

“Be sure to regularly vacuum clean any room with tinsel in it, to avoid any loose plastic strands being consumed by your dog. Regular vacuuming will also help to clean up any pine needles from your Christmas tree, which represent another potential choking hazard”.

Garlands

Like tinsel, garlands could be a tempting plaything for your pup, especially if you opt for the natural garlands over the paper or plastic alternative. Some garlands will come with electric lights weaved through them, which presents an extra hazard for your dog, as they could get electrocuted if they attempt to chew through these wires.

“Try hanging your garlands from as high a place as possible. As well as high shelves and mantlepiece, you may also want to try hanging your garlands in a pattern across your ceiling”.

Edible Decorations

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 will also make them very sick if they do get hold of them.

“If your dog is particularly fond of food, then the best idea might be to not put anything edible on your tree at all. Although, if you really want to treat any children in the family to some treats off the tree, place them out of reach from your dog.”

“Likewise, if you have an advent calendar or two in the house in the run-up to Christmas, keep them out of your dog’s reach on a high shelf, or better yet firmly attached to a high position on your wall”.

Presents

While a huge pile of presents underneath the tree is one of the most special sights at Christmas, our excitable pups may be tricked into thinking that the presents are all for them, especially if some of the gifts contain food.

Not only will your dog tearing into other people’s Christmas presents cause a few tears on Christmas morning, but any gifts that contain things like chocolate, alcohol or batteries can make your dog incredibly sick should they accidentally digest them.

Tails.com experts recommend that pup-owners “avoid storing your presents under the tree until Christmas Eve at the very earliest. This will reduce the likelihood of your pup ruining your presents before the big day arrives.

Stockings

We all want everything to look perfect on Christmas morning, so the last thing you want is one of Santa’s stockings to be covered in doggy drool, bite-marks, and fur.

“If you can, keep your dog out of whichever room you keep your stockings in on Christmas Eve night. You might even consider fitting a lock to the door if your pup likes to explore the house at night.

“A locked door may also help to keep out any over-eager children, keen on finally catching Santa in the act this year, giving you peace of mind this Yuletide”.

Mistletoe

Sharing a kiss under the mistletoe is a cute and traditional Yuletide activity for couples to enjoy, but for our naturally curious pups, mistletoe may look like a piece of food or a plaything that is simply impossible to resist – especially if it falls to where they could reach it.

While the mistletoe leaves are mostly harmless to dogs, there are certain parts of the plant, such as the berries, that contain harmful toxins which will result in sickness and diarrhoea if ingested.

“Consider only keeping your mistletoe up as a temporary feature, perhaps for a Christmas party or just on Christmas day itself – this might make that quick kiss under the mistletoe feel all the more special too.

“Be sure to tightly secure your mistletoe to your door frame, or wherever you choose to hang it, though try to avoid putting it in a place where it might get knocked. If your dog does eat any of the berries from the mistletoe, do not hesitate to contact your vet immediately”.

Wreaths

Christmas wreaths are a festive favourite, with many people choosing to celebrate the holiday with one hanging proudly on their front door.

While wreaths do commonly contain things like ribbons, fairy lights and even candles, they are mostly made of all-natural components such as leaves, twigs, flowers, fruits and those famous Christmas staples, holly and ivy. Since wreaths will smell so much like the outside, this decoration may very well pique your dog’s interest.

“Since most people keep their Christmas wreaths on the front door of their homes, and usually on the outside, following this trend should be enough to prevent your dog from getting too close to your wreath.

“Be wary of any components of your wreath that fall off it, especially holly, ivy or any berries, as these sorts of things contain toxins which could lead to symptoms of poisoning if your dog were to consume them.