Dog-proofing your Home at Christmas

Dog-proofing your Home at Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, particularly if you have taken a few simple steps towards dog-proofing your home at Christmas.  If (like me) you own a dog who may be likely to ‘investigate’ the festive fare, this is for you! One or two thoughtful adaptions can ensure that Christmas is all about having fun, without any unwanted dramas.

The Tree:

Investing in a tree that doesn’t drop, or is artificial, will prevent needles getting stuck in paws, ears etc. If eaten, fir needles are mildly toxic and can also cause problems through internal perforation, so keep on top of removing dropped ones.

Ensure that the tree is secure and won’t fall on your dog if they try to play with it. In short, to be safe, try to always supervise your dog near the tree.



Tinsel and baubles look appetising and fun for dogs, but can be sharp if broken and cause problems if ingested. As previously mentioned, supervise your dog with the tree if they are likely to tamper with decorations.

Tree chocolates and gifts under the tree:

Dog-proofing your home

Hanging chocolates on the tree is a thing of the past in our household due to persistent whippet interference! If you really want them hang them high and supervise carefully as chocolate is toxic for dogs. Foodie gifts under the tree are also fair-game for sneaky food theft. We put our edible gifts away until we are ready to unwrap them at Christmas. For more information about toxic foods for dogs click here.

Tree water:

Christmas home

For trees with a water pot, the water resting within the pot can contain sap and germs which can make dogs ill. As with all of these tree related issues, careful planning and supervision of your pet near the tree will solve these problems.

Christmas Food:

The mince pies, the Christmas pudding, the bowls of little chocolates- all of these foods are highly toxic for dogs. Stuffing should also be avoided as it often contains onion. For guzzlers, watch alcohol too! Prevent this through careful storage of such foods and supervision. Refer to the toxic food list for guidance on this.

If an accident does occur, the dog needs to get to the vet as soon as possible.

Festive plants:

Christmas plants

Poinsettia, ivy, mistletoe, holly- all beautiful Christmas plants but sadly all harmful to dogs. Ingestion may cause an upset stomach and skin irritation. The prickly nature of holly also carries danger of internal perforation. Solve this one by keeping them out of reach from long noses!


Christmas is a fun, sociable time, but for nervous dogs the changes in noise levels, pace and routines can be distressing. Make sure that your dog has a ‘safe space’ to go to if they need peace and solitude. Their usual bed, crate or room can be the ideal solution for this.

dog friendly cottages in Norfolk

Forewarn your house guests of your dog’s needs. House guests will need to understand suitable treats your dog can be given, and, if your dog is a runner (like ours), not to leave doors open. If everyone knows the routines it can be stress-free for all.

Dog-proofing your home at Christmas:

With thought and supervision, you can be relaxed and enjoy the festive period knowing that your pets are safe to enjoy it with you too. We wish you a relaxed and happy festive period with your dogs.

dog proofing your home at Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

See our Christmas gift ideas for dog lovers here, or gift ideas for humans here!

10 thoughts on “Dog-proofing your Home at Christmas”

  • The holidays are exciting times, but you really need to be extra careful with your pets then. Thanks for pointing out some of the potential dangers.

  • Great post! We’ve been talking about getting a real tree this year, but I remember when my childhood dog would lift his leg on it! Matilda is an obsessive marker, too, but though she’s never marked inside, I haven’t decided if it would be worthwhile to test her. I didn’t even think about pine needles getting stuck in her paws, I think that’s another big reason to just stick to artificial trees for dog homes… unless I can put the tree behind a baby gate.

  • Thanks for all the helpful tips. I never thought about the pine needles hurtng their paws. Ever since we brought Bella home as a puppy we have put up the tree in a closed off room that she is not allowed in. That way we don’t have to worry about her getting hurt around the tree or breaking anything..

  • Great tips for a safe and happy holiday. I put my tree up on a table because I’m afraid that Louie will decide to “water” it. It never occurred to me there were serious risks to a pet doing something like drinking the water underneath.

  • Really great tips.
    I’ve never hung chocolate on the tree but it sounds adorable.
    Usually put a little fence around it to stop the dogs stealing things

  • As soon as we got a dog, my mum ensures that that tree was up on a secure table and presents were not left under the tree until the day itself. Plus, no chocolate on the tree, as the vets told us how many dogs they have to see over this period who’ve eaten chocolate. Thanks for sharing, this is super important for dog owners!

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