Holiday Décor Survival Guide

Have you seen that photo on the internet of the person who decorated their home with an air freshener tree because their dog wouldn’t leave a real tree alone? It’s pretty funny in theory, but not so much in reality. Your holiday decor doesn’t have to be two-dimensional and wrapped in plastic to be enjoyed. Follow our tips below for a fun, safe, and decorated holiday season.


We won’t beat around the bush (or decorated tree): plastic and silk foliage/trees are the safest way to decorate for the holidays when you have dogs.

Many holiday-specific plants, like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, are toxic to pets, known to cause tummy trouble and more. Loose pine needles from a real tree can lead to gastrointestinal puncture wounds if eaten. If you do want a real tree, make sure the base with water is protected so pup cannot sneak a drink (many people block off the base with a small gate or even presents), and sweep up those needles promptly Make sure it’s out of reach from jumpers or counter-surfers too!

If you’re setting up a tree, we also recommend anchoring it for stability and to prevent erratic tails from knocking it over. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds! Just wrap the tree trunk with fishing line (or another strong, clear thread) at the top and/or base, then loop the wire through a small, anchored hook in the wall or ceiling.


When decorating, always keep your pets in mind. Decorating has several implications depending on your pooch. Some people opt for decorating on the top two thirds of your tree or home. For some, that might feel a bit extreme, but it mostly depends on how your dog’s training is going. If you decorate the whole tree, keep fragile ornaments, food-based ornaments (like salt-dough ornaments or popcorn strings), and tinsel away from the base where your dog could snack.

We also recommend decorating with your pet in another room. Use “place” and “extended place” for this practice. Ultimately, keeping pets away from the temptation of dangling ornaments (some of which look an awful lot like toys…) is the easiest practice for both you and them.


When it comes to gifts, use your training to make sure none are opened prematurely! Well-trained dogs will respond well to “leave it” or “off” in this situation. You can also work your way up to the gift pile by putting out a few gifts a day and reinforcing these commands. If your pup is newer to training and insistent on seeing what’s in those boxes, keep them out of reach, or put them all out on the holiday morning while your pup is in a different room.


Finally, although we love real candles and the small tea light candles in glass containers, they are a hazard! Companies have come really far with battery-powered candles and plastic twinkle lights, making them look authentic down to the flicker. Plastic lighting negates the worry for shattered glass from a wayward tail. If you do opt in for the real flames or glass lights, make sure they are out of reach! (Here’s where the top two-thirds rule can be helpful).


As always, don’t be afraid to fall back on your Off-leash K9 Training commands to ensure your dog and décor stay SAFE this holiday season. A trained dog, a working dog, is a happy dog.

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