How to keep Christmas presents safe from your dog

Cute dog under the Christmas treeNo one wants to leave their dog out of Xmas festivities, but often all the chaos of presents, mountains of food and lots of people in their home can lead to trouble. One common problem comes from the humble Christmas tree. Here we will look at a few ways that you can keep your dog safe – and your presents too!

Real or artificial
Everyone loves the smell of fresh pine on Christmas morning, however there are potential hazards for dogs with a real Christmas tree.  First of all, pine needles are mildly toxic and sharp, which means if your dog happens to swallow them, they could do harm to their digestive system. Equally, the oil from pine branches is an irritant and can hurt your dogs’ mouth, gums and insides – so opt for an artificial tree where possible. If you do have a real Christmas tree, then consider a dog gate to keep your dog away from the tree or keep up a regular cleaning routine over the festive period to clear away any fallen needles.

Decorations and lights can also cause problems. Fairy lights for instance tend to have cables dangling which can be tempting for your dog to chew at and other decorations like tinsel and baubles can also easily fall from the tree or be nipped at by an inquisitive dog.  Holly and glass baubles can also cause harm if your dog manages to swallow parts of them.

Think about where you put your presents
If you leave your presents under your Christmas tree for longer than is necessary, then your dog may well decide to investigate for themselves. If there’s anything that peaks their interest, then you may well find your presents trashed and uncovered come Christmas morning – especially if there is food inside. So where possible, try and keep presents out of reach, then try and be the first one up so you can bring all the presents down ready for the family to open.

Once you do bring your presents down in the morning you should try and keep your dog occupied elsewhere, otherwise they might well run away with all the paper wrapping.

Christmas should be an enjoyable and relaxing time for both you and your pets, and it’s important that they don’t feel left out of all the festivities, but equally you need to be prepared to avoid any unfortunate accidents. Read our blog ‘Keeping your dog safe over the festive season’ for more information including which types of food to keep away from your pet.

About the author

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists