Cat coming out of a Christmas tree

Making Your Christmas Tree Pet-Friendly

Christmas trees are the most common Christmas decoration around the country. It is also known to be a problem for certain pets due to them confusing it for a scratching post or a new chew toy. Both of these can be bad for you and your pets. So what can you do to your pets from messing with your tree? Continue reading to learn more about pet-proofing your Christmas tree.

Pet-Proofing Your Christmas Tree

Real vs Artificial Tree

When it comes to what kind of tree you should get, there are a few things to know. A real tree will sometimes look better and have a great smell to it, however, it does pose some threats towards your pet.

The pine needles on a tree can be dangerous for your pets. If ingested, cats can get intestinal blockages, and dogs are at risk of digestive punctures. To avoid these, keep your tree watered and sweep up any pine needles on the floor. To avoid this issue altogether, you can opt into purchasing an artificial tree instead.

What Size To Get?

When deciding how big you want your tree, regardless of if your tree is real or fake, you want to make sure that it is safe for your pets. You want a tree that is big enough to look nice but is tall enough to keep any decorations away from your pets. Michelson Found Animals, a non-profit organization that aims to keep pets safe in their homes states "Stick to trees that rest on the floor and choose a medium one that's approximately 5 feet tall." If you go higher, your pet will easily be able to knock it over if they bump into it.


Where you put your tree is just as important as what kind of tree you get. You want your tree to be somewhere where it is seen but is also in a place where your pet cannot climb on it. That is why there is no definite answer to give. Just make sure that your pet cannot climb on something, then proceed to jump on the tree.

It is also a good idea to place your Christmas tree somewhere where you can secure it with a stand and even some fishing line that is secured to a wall. Either will work, but to better ensure that your pet does not topple the tree, we recommend that you do both.


The decorations that you place on your Christmas tree can be harmful towards your dog, just as the tree itself can be. To avoid your dog or cat getting a hold of, and chewing on any decorations, place them on the top two-thirds of the tree. This way you leave the bottom third empty and free from any extra harmful things.


The lights on your tree can catch the eyes of any pets that are walking by. To avoid your pet's eyes-catching the lights when you aren't around, turn off the lights when no one is in the room to look at them. Another thing to look out for is the cord that the lights are plugged into. Make sure that it is taped down and out of sight from any furry little eyes. To avoid them chewing on the end of the cord, install a pet-proof plug that keeps it plugged in.


As previously mentioned, keep any ornaments on the top two-thirds of the tree. Another thing that you should keep in mind with ornaments is to not put food on the tree. This includes chocolate and candy canes. Most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but many don't know about the dangers of xylitol. This is a sugar substitute found in many candies and is safe for human consumption but is extremely poisonous to dogs.


Tinsel is a great Christmas decoration for any part of your house. This is because it is a cheap, yet effective way to make your house look festive. However, the sparkly/shiny nature of it causes it to look appealing to your pets. If it is consumed, it can cause harmful consequences to your pets. For example, it can block the intestines of your pet which will cause them to need to go to the vet. This can turn a cheap decoration into a costly vet bill.


The presents underneath your Christmas tree are also enticing to your pets. This is especially true if someone is receiving a food item because your pets can smell it even though you can't. To avoid any furry ones peeking at your presents, place a doggie-gate around the tree. Another option is to keep the presents in a different location that is out of sight and reach. When Christmas day comes, you can bring out the presents and unwrap them. Be careful with the wrap too as a pet can chew and choke on small bits of it.


When it comes to pet-proofing your Christmas tree, there are a lot of things that you should do to keep your pet safe from the tree, and your tree safe from your pet. Be sure to check out one of our previous blog posts to learn about some Winter Pet Safety Tips.