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Home > Dogs > How to Keep Your Dog Away From the Christmas Tree: 10 Great Tips

How to Keep Your Dog Away From the Christmas Tree: 10 Great Tips

Brown dog biting christmas balls

Setting up the Christmas tree is always a fun and exciting time. The tree helps set the tone for the holiday season and keeps everyone in the household in good spirits. However, it can be dangerous to have dogs around Christmas trees. Your dog may knock your tree over, ruining it and everything that it has been decorated with. They themselves could also be harmed by the tree. The tree may fall on top of them, causing injury, or the ornaments and pine needles can be eaten by your dog and damage their gastrointestinal tract.

Therefore, it’s important to take steps that will help keep your dog away from your Christmas tree throughout the holiday season. Here are a few different ways to do just that.

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The Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Away From the Christmas Tree

1. Avoid Glittery and Shiny Decorations

Most dogs are attracted to shiny and glittery things, and many Christmas tree decorations tend to be both. It is a good idea to avoid using these types of decorations so your tree is less attractive to your dog overall, and they’ll be less likely to try messing with it. This is not to say that your tree has to be unattractive to the humans in the household. There are several types of ornaments that are beautiful yet lack the features that dogs like the most.

2. Take Focus Off the Bottom of the Tree

If your dog can reach ornaments and other goodies on the tree, they will likely try to do so and chomp down on whatever they can. By leaving the bottom quarter of the tree free of ornaments, your dog will be less likely to go nosing around. The lights on the tree can help keep the bottom of it from looking too empty compared to the rest of the tree.

Gifts under christmas tree
Image Credit: Deena, Pexels

3. Keep the Base of the Tree Clean

Fallen pine needles, ornaments, and other tree items can quickly become interesting to your dog. They are likely to grab the fallen items and take them away to a corner for closer inspection. Therefore, you should spend time cleaning up everything from underneath the tree each morning and keep an eye on rogue fallen needles and items throughout the day. If there is nothing on the floor for your dog to pick up, they and your tree will be safer until the season ends.

4. Create a Tinfoil Tree Skirt

Most dogs do not like tinfoil, especially if they walk on it, because it’s such a strange surface to them. It feels weird to their paws, and the intense sheen of the foil can make them nervous. Therefore, the typical dog will avoid getting on (or even near) tinfoil when it is laying on the ground. Using tinfoil to create a skirt for your tree should help ward off your dog and keep them from getting too close.

Christmas composition with wooden toy rocking horse
Image Credit: IgorAleks, Shutterstock

5. Utilize a Deterrent Spray

A great way to keep your dog from getting near your Christmas tree is to spray a dog-deterrent solution on it. You should not be able to smell the spray, so nobody but your dog will ever know that it is there. Deterrent sprays like Don’t Chew Dare! have a bitter taste, so one nibble on your tree should keep them from coming back again.

6. Set a Bell Trap

If you want to catch your dog messing with the Christmas tree so you can correct their behavior, consider hanging bells along the bottom branches of the tree. The bells should ring whenever your dog gets too close, so you can get into the room and address the situation promptly. This option may not work if you have young kids in the house, as the kids will likely make the bells ring much more often!

Corgi Sitting Beside Christmas Presents
Image Credit: Julia Volk, Pexels

7. Set Up a Dog Baby Gate

Setting up a dog or baby gate around your Christmas tree will inhibit your view of the tree but will ensure that your dog cannot get too close to it at any time. You may need to connect two or three gates to cover the distance from one wall to another while still leaving space for gifts under and around the tree.

8. Use Presents as Protection

If your dog is not interested in trying to rip presents open, you can use large gifts as a wall to protect your tree. If you don’t have any such presents, consider wrapping a few empty boxes in wrapping paper for a holiday effect and then lining the boxes around the tree for extra protection.

Dog beside christmas tree
Image Credit: Maximiliano Pinilla, Pexels

9. Keep Toys and Bedding Away From the Tree

If you expect your dog to stay away from your tree, you should make sure none of their bedding or toys are anywhere nearby. Anything of theirs that gets too close to the tree can encourage them to get underneath the tree or get so close that their tail bangs against it. Keep your dog’s belongings on the other side of the room or out of the area altogether.

10.  Work on Training

You can always train your dog to stay away from the Christmas tree, so you don’t have to use any other tactics or sacrifice your favorite decorations. If your dog is obedience trained, the process shouldn’t be tough; it’s just a matter of teaching them not to go near the tree. Distracting your dog from the tree and rewarding them when they walk away is a great start to training. The idea is to ultimately create an invisible boundary around your tree that your dog respects and never crosses. You can use a clicker and/or treats to make the process easier.

Woman giving treat to dog
Image Credit: Hrecheniuk Oleksii, Shutterstock


The 8 Ways to Dog-Proof a Christmas Tree

1.  Secure Your Tree

The more secure your Christmas tree is, the better it will function in a home with dogs. Even if you have dogs that ignore your tree, they still may bump it or roughhouse around it, which can often lead to accidental injuries to your dog or the tree, or accidental ornament damage. If you can find a way to secure your tree in the space it’s in, the better off you’ll be. You can even install a dog-specific fence around the Christmas tree!

Some people like to anchor their Christmas trees to the wall or curtain rods via twine, rope, or string. This is a good way to help your tree stay upright, even if bumped by a rambunctious dog. In recent years, Christmas trees suspended from the ceiling have partially come into style. Even if this design isn’t your thing, it is still a good option for keeping your tree and dog safe from one another.

Dog beside christmas tree
Image Credit: Maximiliano Pinilla, Pexels

2. Keep Fragile Items Near the Top

Although it may sound counterintuitive, it’s a great idea to keep your more fragile and valuable ornaments near the top of the tree. This is because it will keep them well out of your dog’s reach. You may also consider keeping them toward the back of your tree where they are unlikely to be damaged if the tree gets knocked down, as well.

Many people have extremely fragile Christmas ornaments, while others just have ornaments with sentimental or familial value. Keeping them near the top of the tree will ensure they are well out of your dog’s reach. For extremely fragile and valuable ornaments, you may consider keeping them off of your tree and completely out of your dog’s reach. This is the best way to ensure their safety from your dog throughout the Christmas season.

3. Avoid Ornament Hooks

Believe it or not, those list ornament hooks that cost about $3 for a box of 100 are one of the worst options for your Christmas tree. This is because the soft metal is easily bent out of shape, making your ornaments far less secure if your dog gets to them. They can also pose a risk to your dog if consumed.

Oftentimes, things like twine or ribbon are recommended for putting ornaments on trees that may be reached by dogs. These items will hold your ornaments more securely on your tree than the hooks will, and they’ll be safer for your dog. However, if your dog consumes any type of ribbon, twine, or metal hooks, you should immediately contact your vet for further guidance.

4. Be Cognizant of Electrical Cords

Electrical cords are everywhere on a daily basis, but once the Christmas tree goes up, you’re likely inundated with a variety of cords that aren’t native to your home, like those that power Christmas lights and other special Christmas tree features. While most adults will step over or around these new electrical cords, it may be difficult for your dog to adjust.

Not only do some dogs struggle to adjust to not tripping over a new cord added to their walkway every day, but some overly curious dogs may attempt to chew on these new cords. It’s best to simply keep electrical cords well out of the way of your dog. There are lots of temporary options, like cord keepers and specially designed Command hooks, that will keep your electrical cords away from your dog throughout the Christmas season.

Fluffy dog getting belly rub under Christmas tree
Image Credit: Elina Fairytale, Pexels

5. Avoid Foods

These days, most people decorate their Christmas trees only with ornaments and Christmas lights. However, there are still a large number of people who choose to use food items in their tree decorations. Candy canes and popcorn are the most common food items used as decorations on Christmas trees.

Overall, it’s best to avoid using any food items on your tree if you have dogs. These tasty treats may be too tempting for your dog. While things like sugar and food additives aren’t great for dogs, there are larger concerns. If your dog consumes string that has been threaded through pieces of popcorn, for example, then there is a serious risk for intestinal obstructions. Other foods may lead to stomach pain or upset, as well as vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs.

6. Avoid Toxic Plants

The Christmas season often brings around plants that we aren’t used to seeing at other times of the year, like poinsettias and pine trees of various sorts. Some of these plants are toxic to dogs and should always be kept out of their reach, especially if your dog is a known consumer of plant matter.

By avoiding toxic plants, you will save yourself excessive worries if your dog consumes any parts of the plants around your tree or the plant that makes up the tree itself. Make sure to read up on potential reactions to plants that are within reach of your dog. Even non-toxic plants may cause stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting for some dogs.

7. Don’t Trust Your Dog Near Gifts

Contrary to one of our above suggestions, using presents as a barricade may not be the best option for all dogs. You know how tempting it can be for you to avoid messing with gifts that appear underneath your Christmas tree. It might be far more tempting for your dog to leave those items alone. Some dogs love to open gifts, while others may be attracted to things like foods that are within the wrapped packages.

It’s best to just not trust your dog around Christmas gifts. Even the most well-behaved and trustworthy dog may find Christmas gifts too tempting to ignore. Wrapping paper and ribbon can be a threat to your dog’s health, and the contents of gifts can also be a concern. Also, who wants their dog to chew up their Christmas gifts before they’ve had a chance to give them to anyone?

dogs wearing christmas costume
Image Credit: Sven Lachmann, Pixabay

8. Keep the Tree Out of Reach

When it comes down to it, the best way to keep your tree safe from curious or clumsy dogs and your dog safe from the concerns associated with Christmas trees is by keeping your Christmas tree fully out of reach of your dog. Some people prefer to keep their tree in a closed room that is assigned to be dog-free throughout the season, while others may just make the rule that their dog isn’t allowed in a specific room unless accompanied by a responsible adult.

Dogs are curious and social animals that will want to see what’s so interesting about the tree and the gifts around it. It’s only natural for them to take an interest in the tree and its dangers. It’s your responsibility as a pet owner to keep your dog safe from themselves by keeping them away from your Christmas tree.



Keeping your dog away from the Christmas tree is no small feat, but it isn’t impossible. Patience and creativity can go a long way. You may have to employ multiple tactics to get the results that you’re looking for, but don’t give up. Be prepared to lose a few ornaments along the way, though!

Featured Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

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