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Choosing a dog-safe Christmas tree

If you have a dog and you’re keen to have a Christmas tree in your home, take a look at these helpful hints to ensure you choose the right type of tree that will work for both your home and your dog.

Real or fake?

Dropped pine needles from real Christmas trees can easily become embedded in curious paws or cause problems in intestinal tracts if consumed. Christmas trees with anti-drop needles could be an option, but a better option might be to get a fake Christmas tree. They might not look or smell as authentic as the real thing, but they certainly are cheaper as you can use them year after year.

Pencil Christmas tree

A narrow pencil Christmas tree doesn’t take up much room and can be tucked away in a corner, out of the way of the main thoroughfare in your house. If your dog has a habit of bounding through the house, they are less likely to bump into a pencil Christmas tree.

Decorations

Try to avoid glass baubles which could cause injury and opt for wooden or plastic decorations. Place decorations higher up the tree rather than on lower branches so that they are more likely to be out of reach. Tinsel can cause problems if shed fragments are ingested and Christmas lights might be a tempting chew toy, so they’re best avoided.

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, so avoid chocolate Christmas tree decorations which could cause harm if a dog sniffs them out and eats them. Try to avoid all food-based decorations in case your dog is tempted to eat them.

Train your dog to keep away

As with all aspects of life, you can train your dog to leave the Christmas tree well alone. When your dog is behaving calmly around the tree and not touching it, reward your dog for their good behaviour so that they start to understand that the tree is an object that shouldn’t be touched. Your dog will respond best to positive reinforcement, so it’s important not to reprimand them if they misbehave around the tree.

Christmas tree enclosure

A metal mesh enclosure might not look pretty, but it could be the only way of stopping your dog interfering with the Christmas tree if they are particularly inquisitive. A baby gate or similar should work well.

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