7 Ways To Dog-Proof Your Holiday Decorations

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

December 15, 2015

The holidays can be so much fun with all the lights and sparkly things you get to put up around the house! Unfortunately, many of the most popular decorations are actually really dangerous for our dogs. While management is almost always the best strategy for keeping your dog safe (crating her when you aren’t home, putting up a barrier around the Christmas tree), there are some safe alternatives to traditional decorations.

1. Plastic lights instead of glass lights.

Glass in your dog’s stomach is not something you want to deal with. Glass is also more likely to break than plastic, which could lead to electrocution.

christmas lights

2. Silk plants instead of real plants.

Some of the common holiday plants, like holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia are poisonous to dogs, so find some realistic looking fake plants instead.

silk plant

3. A fake tree instead of a live tree.

Even if your tree isn’t chemically treated, pine oils can irritate your dog’s mouth and the pine needles can actually puncture her intestines, so maybe a fake tree is the way to go.

fake tree

4. Securely anchored Christmas trees with a tree skirt instead of a Christmas tree in a regular stand.

Some live trees are chemically treated so that they live longer, making the resulting water very bad for your dog. You can cover the base with a tree skirt or aluminum foil to stop your dog from drinking out of it.

Christmas tree skirt

5. Electric candles instead of lit candles.

Assuming you wouldn’t leave your dog around lighted candles unsupervised anyway, an electric candle could be a good alternative just in case. If you like scented candles, try a diffuser or wall plug for the scent to compliment the electric candle.

dog candle

6. Bows and stringed beads instead of tinsel.

Tinsel is very bad for animals because it can get trapped in their intestines, but tinsel is also the prettiest of decorations to put on the tree. This year, try putting bows on your tree or shiny strings of beads. They will fill in the gaps and give you some of the sparkle!

tree with bows

7. Hang your ornaments high and use plastic ornaments when possible.

However high your dog can jump, put the ornaments (and any other decorations) higher (we apologize in advance for those of you with Jack Russell Terriers). Also, same as with glass lights, the plastic ornaments are much less hazardous.

puppy ornament


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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

December 15, 2015

Toothbrush-free dental care for dogs.

Fresher breath in 1–2 weeks.



A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.