How to Keep a Dog Away from a Christmas Tree & Protect it from being Destroyed

How to keep dog away from Christmas tree

If your dog is anything like mine, they will love getting into the Christmas spirit. All those exciting smells, fun activity, and people visiting your home is enough to get them into a hyper mood – and none more so than the Christmas tree. We learned the hard way.

One day we left the door to our lounge open when we went out for an hour and came home to a scene of destruction. The dog had now just destroyed the Christmas tree, but also ripped up all the wrapped presents underneath it. 

We will never make that mistake again. 

But aside from making sure you keep the door closed so your dog cannot get into your lounge, they are other ways you can protect a Christmas tree from a dog. Here’s what you need to do to make sure you can protect your Christmas tree from the dog.

How to keep dog away from a Christmas tree

As with anything like this, prevention is key. We found that by taking a few simple precautions, we avoided the destruction of our Christmas tree in subsequent years. It certainly made for a less stressful festive season from that point on!

With that in mind, the first thing to do is to put things around the Christmas tree to keep pets away.

1. Fit a pet or baby gate to the door

The first thing I did was use a baby gate, it’s by far the easiest ways to keep a dog away from your Christmas tree. You can buy them on Amazon

As you can imagine, this will limit your dog’s access to the room where you have your Christmas tree and stop them destroying the tree and any presents underneath it. It also means you don’t have to have doors in your home completely shut over Christmas, and your dog isn’t completely banned from the family festivities.

Here’s how it worked to keep our dogs away from our Christmas tree.

dogs behind baby gates

2. Create an alternative barrier

If you don’t want to exclude your dog from the room during Christmas, then perhaps consider creating a physical barrier around the Christmas tree. You can do with a variety of methods including the baby gates I mentioned before, cardboard boxes, or even a kid’s playpen. 

My friend used a playpen barrier (view on Amazon) to protect their Christmas tree from the dog and it worked well for them, but as you can imagine, did look a bit weird. Perhaps it’s the best method for smaller dogs when you aren’t there to supervise their access to the tree.

Depending on how big your room is, it could provide a large enough area for your dog to still move around in, but should act to keep them far enough to stop them from destroying the Christmas tree.

3. Use a spray deterrent

Spray deterrents will stop some dogs from destroying Christmas trees, but not all as some seem to completely ignore the smell. But it’s worth a try if you don’t want to use a physical barrier. There are many different pet-safe sprays on Amazon that are designed to keep dogs away from certain areas. 

I read a blog post by someone who had tried it with great success, but my suspicion is that it could be hit and miss. 

Online comments suggest that a citrus-scented spray works well for some people. Dogs are said to dislike the smell of citrus, so it could be an effective way to discourage dog from getting too close to Christmas tree.

I like the smell of citrus, so might be quite a nice scent to have in your home over the festive period!

Dogs love to chew things that they shouldn’t, and Christmas trees are no exception. If the physical barrier suggestions don’t work, or you don’t want to use them, then I suggest working on the actual tree itself – here are more tips for protecting a Christmas tree from a dog. 

4. Covering the tree’s base

Your dog might want to get at the bark at the base of the Christmas tree, so cover it over with a tree skirt or other decorative covering. This might then discourage your dog from chewing on the tree’s bark or drinking water in the stand. 

Electrical wires can also be very hazardous, so make sure to secure or put wires and cords out of reach. You need to stop your dog from chewing on them and causing a potential fire hazard. 

5. Securing the Christmas tree stand

You might try everything you can to keep your dog from destroying the Christmas tree, but they may still get to it when your back is turned. There’s always this risk, so to stop the tree from falling and being chewed further, secure and anchor it in the stand. Bigger dogs can easily knock over a Christmas tree if it’s not properly secured. 

The best tree stand will have a wide base and can be filled with water or sand to weigh it down. Water is best, as it will keep the tree hydrated and healthy throughout the festive season. You might also want to consider securing the tree to the wall or ceiling with fishing line or wire for added stability.

Another thing to consider is effective training. Whether you have time to train your dog to not get at the Christmas tree, or rip up the presents is another matter, but if you have the lead-time, it’s the best way to protect the tree.

Here’s what you can do.

6. Training your dog to obey commands

For full disclosure, a lot of the time, my dog doesn’t listen to me, especially once he has that look in his eye which tells me it’s “fun time”. But if your pet is better behaved and more receptive than mine, then training your dog is the best way to keep your Christmas tree safe as you don’t need to buy anything or put barriers in place. 

Start by teaching your dog the most basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” These commands can be used to keep your dog away from the Christmas tree and prevent hopefully stop them from chewing on ornaments, branches, or tearing wrapping paper off presents.

As with any form of dog training, positive reinforcement is key. 

When your dog obeys a command or behaves well around the tree, reward them with a treat or praise. This will reinforce good behavior and encourage your dog to continue behaving well.


And lastly, you can help prevent damage to your tree at Christmas by how to choose a tree in the first place. Here are my tips… 

7. Prevent damage by choosing the right Christmas tree 

When you choose your Christmas tree, think about how the tree might cope with your dog’s unwanted attention. A tree with sturdy branches that can hold ornaments and decorations without easily breaking off will be best… obviously.

But more importantly, think about the size of your tree in relation to your dog’s size. If you have a larger dog, a smaller tree will be easier to tip over. 

The bottom line is this… no method is fool proof, and you may need to try a combination of these methods to keep your dog away from damaging your Christmas tree. 

Before you go, I’d also like to explain why dogs and Christmas trees aren’t the best combination. Understanding these reasons will further help you protect the tree. 

Why dogs and Christmas trees aren’t great together 

I’ve found that there are many reasons why having a dog and a Christmas tree in the same room are more likely than not going to end badly.

Firstly, dogs are naturally curious, and a Christmas tree is full of shiny objects and interesting smells. It’s no wonder that your dog can’t stop themselves from exploring the tree and all its decorations. 

Unfortunately, this can lead to broken ornaments, tangled lights, and even toppled trees. In the worst case scenario, your dog might get hurt, and not just from a tree falling over.

Christmas tree decorations can be very dangerous. Some have sharp pieces when broken, and tinsel can also cause serious digestive issues if swallowed (which hopefully will pass through their system). Similarly, ornaments made of glass or other fragile materials can cut a dog’s paws.

The tree could also damage your home. If your dog does manage to knock it over, it might damage to furniture, walls, and other objects – and damage the presents underneath.

Can you have a Christmas tree with a dog?

Of course, you can but as a dog owner myself, I know just how curious and mischievous dogs can be, especially around the festive period when there’s so much excitement to be had. One of the biggest challenges is protecting our Christmas trees from our beloved pets so I hope my tips have been useful to you.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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