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Dog Safe Christmas Trees ~ When Santa meets the Health & Safety Elf

Have you ever trodden barefoot on a pine needle?

It hurts, and little wonder as the clue is in the name: Pine needle.

If you regularly have a real Christmas tree, you’ll know needle drop is inevitable and it’s a matter of how many times a day the vacuum comes out, not when. Knowing this, imagine being in a dog’s paws. Not only do they end up padding through prickly needles, but they sit and lie in them too. Fancy pine needles in your bed? I thought not.

The trouble is it’s so easy to get carried away with the fresh smell of pine, glittery decorations and coloured lights, that we can lose focus on whether they’re appropriate around our four-legged friends.

Dog Christmas Tree Safety & Alternatives

Dog Safety around Christmas Trees

If you put your Health and Safety hat on, stand back and assess risks posed by a tree, you might be in for a nasty surprise. Let’s take a look at that check list of no-no’s.

  • Tinsel and Foil Icicles: Love tinsel draped over the tree? So do dogs, but not for the same reason. What a dog sees is a shiny toy waiting to be pawed or chewed. When swallowed the string-like quality of tinsel can make it knot up the bowel, which then needs emergency surgery to correct.
  • Glass baubles: While the dog’s protecting the home from the tinsel snake, a glass bauble smashes on the floor. A cut pad is inevitable.
  • Food decorations: Those chocolate coins and food tree decorations like candy canes or sugar coated popcorn are an open invitation for a dog to gorge themself and risk chocolate or other toxicity…and that’s without even thinking about those edible gifts waiting under the tree.
  • Electrical cables: Fairy lights need power, which means an additional spaghetti of electrical cables waiting to be chewed.
  • Fake snow: Fake snow can look good enough to eat, which for our canines can lead to choke hazards and bowel blockages.
  • Run off Water: Don’t let your dog drink from the drip tray beneath the tree. This water is high in chemicals and fertilizers which are harmful to dogs.
  • Falling Trees: Unless properly anchored the tree could be knocked over and fall, injuring your furry friend.

Dog Safety around Christmas Trees

Has this appraisal changed you mind about a real Christmas tree? Then don’t despair. With a little creative thinking there’s no need to make seasonal sacrifices for safety’s sake. Take a look at these safe (but fantastically festive) Christmas tree alternatives, which are the best of both worlds because they’re stunning and dog-friendly.

Dog Safe Christmas Tree Alternatives

Arty Christmas Trees

Dog Friendly Christmas Trees ~ Arty Christmas Trees

{1} ~ In a minimalist pad with white walls, a decal Christmas tree makes for a fantastic festive impact. Simply stick seasonal snowflake decals on the wall in the shape of a tree. Simple but impactful.

{2} ~ Just moved into a new place, not had time to decorate and got bare plaster walls? This is no bar to a dog-safe festive display. Tear strips of white card in every longer lengths than duck-tape them to the wall in the shape of a Christmas tree. Use creativity to create a house-warming sight to remember, even if everything else is still in packing cases.

{3} ~ Consider creating a wall-hanging. For those skilled with a sewing machine you could make a patchwork tree, or keep things really simple by using fabric paints. The finished effect gives a naive craft effect that shows you’ve taken the time to be different.

{4} And if you fancy something a little more tactile this is easily done by taking a large sheet of green raffia matting and cut it into a suitably sized tree and then attach to the wall. You can arrange wrapped parcels underneath to give that extra Christmassy feel.

{5} ~ Why not fulfil two purposes at once? Display your Christmas cards creatively by arranging them in a tree-shape on the wall using blu-tac. This also gives your guests the extra pleasure of picking out their card out from amongst an eye-catching display. 

{6} ~ Create an heirloom piece with a box canvass and green acrylic paint. Have the family dip their hands in the paint and then place palm prints in a tree shape on the canvas. This makes a highly individual piece of wall art that you can bring out year after year, and reminisce how much the kids have grown.  Or make with dog paws.

{7} ~ If you’re creative juices let you down and you’re scratching your head for ideas, then keep an eye out for life-sized tree stickers. Simply purchase these attractive full-sized tree decals, peel off the backing, and attach to a wall to form a festive focal point. 

{8} ~ And if a wall-hanging sounds like too much effort, then how about getting a large blackboard and draw a chalk Christmas tree, the only limit to the design being your imagination.

Wood & Stick Trees

There’s definitely something special about a free-standing tree, so if you can’t shake the feeling that it wouldn’t be Christmas without a focal point to put presents under, how about a wooden tree?

Dog Friendly Christmas Trees ~ Wood & Stick Trees

{9} ~ Tux with his home made pallet tree.  Upcycling & dog safety all in one!

{10} ~ For the handy man or woman amongst you, get crafty with ever increasing lengths of wood painted green. Drill a hole at one end and mount them spiral wise on a central piece of doweling to create a suitably spiky tree.

{11} ~ To make a magical  shelf-sized tree, how about using the same stacking idea of arranging objects of decreasing size in a spiral, and use books to make a tree? Strikingly effective for the bookworm in your life.

{12, 13, 14} ~ Making a free-standing Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive. Salvage an old wooden pallet and either paint a tree on it or cut the slats into decreasing lengths to create a 3D tree. Add extra sparkle and cheer by adorning it with fairy lights for a suitably seasonal vibe.

{15} Alternatively, driftwood branches make for an attractive silhouette.

Another option is  to take a tree branch and spray paint it white, then mount it in a matching bucket or tub. For maximum impact keep the decorations to a limited colour palate, perhaps restricted to white plus one other colour, such as red.

Light Fantastic Trees

Dog Friendly Christmas Trees ~ Light Fantastic Trees

{16, 17, 18} ~ If the main appeal of a tree is to provide a frame for fairy lights, then ditch the actual tree and use the lights to create a tree-shape. From fixing extra long ropes of light into a tree outline on the wall, to cutting out a tree silhouette and back-lighting it, this makes for  a bright and attractive alternative takes on interior design.

Real Tree Safety

Dog Friendly Christmas Trees ~ Real Tree Safety

If it’s simply not Christmas without a real tree, then think the following ideas may help ensure your dogs safety:

{19} ~ Form a festive barricade using large cardboard boxes covered in wrapping paper to prevent your four-legger getting to the tree

{20} ~ Create a Christmas corral using reclaimed wooden shipping crates, fencing off the bottom to protect it from canine curiosity.

{21} And if you don’t fancy making the tree into a fortress, how about downsizing and choosing a small tree to stand out of paw’s’ reach on a low table or shelf.

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Kerry is 'Top Dog' here at Puppy Tales. With her own adored dogs, she completely gets that your four legged furry buddy is absolutely part of the family. That they sleep on the bed, that you want to take them everywhere, that you plan holidays so they’re included & that their presence makes your life incredible.

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Dog Mum Kerry Martin is the editor and photographer at Puppy Tales.

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Chief Canine Cuddler,
Photographer, Editor,
Crazy Dog Lover.

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