All throughout the UK, and across the world at this time of year, our dogs witness us humans embarking on a strange tradition. This is what goes through their minds:
“My humans come home one day, with a tree (which is far more useful outside where you can pee on it) and cover it with lots of shiny toys (which are far more useful to play fetch with) and then the humans light it all up and stand around it, looking at it and making ‘oooh’ noises. It stays in the house for a few weeks and then the humans take the toys off and throw the tree away – weird”
While dogs may not understand this ancient practice of having a Christmas tree in the house, they seem to put up with our peculiarities quite well. But should any dog owner be concerned about their pet and the Christmas tree? is there anything about a decorated tree that’s dangerous to dogs? Let’s find out…
Giving us the needles
First off we have to consider the type of tree; plastic or natural. Plastic trees can be chewed on, but as long as you have a well trained dog who knows not to chew on such things, you’ll likely be fine. If you do find your dog has ravaged a branch or two, a trip to the vet is probably worth it as they may have swallowed some of the plastic which, unsurprisingly, won’t be digested very well at all.
An actual pine tree is theoretically fine for dogs, again, provided they aren’t chewed upon by your pet. If you do get a real tree though, be sure to do a regular sweep/hoover of the pine needles it will invariably drop. Not only does this mean that you’re safe to walk around your own home in socks and no shoes, but pine needles aren’t very good for your dogs digestive system. They can cause cuts in the mouth and throat, and they don’t do much good when they come out the other end either. Other than that little caveat though, real Christmas trees are absolutely fine to have in your dog-friendly home.
When it comes to what you put on the tree, there are a couple of things to bear in mind:
- Chocolate decorations – keep these on high up branches to make them less tempting to doggy mouths (and little hands too) as chocolate is no good for dogs.
- Avoid glass baubles – these can look lovely, but if they shatter and break, or if a dog breaks one with a bite, it will cause all sorts of issues and definitely a trip to the vet.
- Keep the light cable at the back – make sure there’s no chance of your dog wrapping themselves in the lead for the lights and bringing the tree down on top of themselves.
Other than that though, you should be free to enjoy the magic of a Christmas tree in your home, with your dog, with no other concerns. Well, except for what to put under the tree for your pet to open when it’s present time of course!