Christmas Tree Hazards for Dogs

Dogs are attracted to the Christmas tree with all its unique smells and interesting ornaments.  But dogs aren’t always safe around the Christmas tree.  You know your dog and its temperament more than anyone but under some conditions, your best-behaved puppy may create a problem.  I can remember the first Christmas my husband and I celebrated together.  We came home from work one evening to find our dachshund had tipped the tree over and all our glass ball ornaments were in tiny glass pieces all over the floor.  Luckily our puppy was safe, but we learned many lessons about Christmas tree safety that year.

Are Christmas Trees Toxic?

Some plants like mistletoe, poinsettias and holly are toxic to pets.  Pine fir oils can be mildly toxic causing stomach upset or mouth irritations.   How toxic they are depends on how much is ingested and how big your dog is. .  You may notice excessive drooling and vomiting.  Artificial trees may be toxic too depending on what they’re made of.  

Other Christmas Tree Hazards for Dogs

Pine fir does not digest well.  It can easily cause obstruction or puncture in the GI tract. 

Besides the tree itself, dogs can get deathly sick from the water you use to hydrate your tree.  Chemicals in the water used to preserve, fertilize and keep the tree fresh are often poisonous to dogs if they are swallowed. 

Cords and Lights pose another problem.  Chewed cords can cause electrical shock.  Lights may appear interesting but they can also break causing burns, shock or glass splinters.

Christmas ornaments can be hazardous for the same reasons.  You should make sure you secure your tree with wire or make sure it won’t tip over.  Glass balls and other ornaments may be made of toxic material and can cause injuries to your dogs mouth and GI track. 

How to Enjoy Dogs and Christmas Trees

Many dogs do just fine around the Christmas tree.  It may be a good idea to keep your dog away from the tree while you are gone for periods of time.  Some people use gates to block their dogs from the area the tree is in.  The important thing is to know your dog and be open to protecting him from Christmas tree hazards for dogs.

Signs Your Dog Needs Medical Help

If you notice changes in your dog’s behavior, you may need to seek medical attention.  Excessive licking and salivating can also indicate a problem like toxicity from Christmas Trees or other poisonous plants.  You may also notice vomiting, diarrhea, appetite changes, consuming large amounts of water or inactivity.  If you suspect a problem with your dog, your veterinarian in Richmond at Advanced Animal Care can help.