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How to Puppy Proof Your Home for the Holidays

Profile picture of the author - Anna Lengacherby Anna Lengacher

Updated December 18, 2020

Fa, la, la, la, la….

That’s right.  Christmas is here and with it comes the most wonderful time of the year.

There are parties with friends (albeit via zoom), online shopping excursions to find the very best gift, caroling, and so much good food.

Amidst all the blur, don’t forget your little fur pal.

While she may not understand why all the hype, you can be sure she will enjoy a bit of holiday fun as well.

Unfortunately, amidst all the decor and food that has become a holiday tradition for you, your little pup is totally clueless about how these very things could prove hazardous for her body.

That’s why today we’re taking a moment to review the most common problems pets encounter at Christmas.

We’ll also give you proven tips to help you puppy-proof your home this holiday season.

So while you celebrate and make memories with family, you can rest assured your little pup is having the best of holidays too.

French Bulldog under a Christmas tree

Seasonal Plants

1. The Christmas Tree

Trees are a staple in so many homes when December rolls around.  Yet when you have a dog in the home, these holiday staples can quickly become hazardous.

First, to keep your tree from toppling onto your curious little pal, be sure to firmly anchor your tree to either the wall or ceiling.

In addition, hang your ornaments high on your tree so your puppy cannot reach them.

And always, avoid using edible ornaments.

While tiny gingerbread men and strands of popcorn and cranberries look festive on the tree, it’s never a good idea to make these accessible for your pup.

Pine needles are another puppy hazard.

They can get stuck in a small pup’s paws and even irritate the intestines if eaten.

So be sure to keep your tree well-watered to reduce the number of fallen needles.

Then?  Plan to vacuum around your tree regularly to keep fallen needles to a minimum.

Also, if you have a live tree, keep your puppy away from the tree water and watch for any stagnant water.

It doesn’t take much for bacteria to breed in tree water, causing nausea or diarrhea if consumed by puppies.

Lastly, avoid additives in your tree water.

2. The Holly & Mistletoe

Deck the halls with boughs of holly only if you don’t share your home with a puppy.

Believe it or not, having seasonal Christmas plants in your home is no joke when your puppy is present.

Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can all cause cardiovascular problems among tiny canines.

Specifically, holly can cause your puppy discomforting nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Even a small amount of mistletoe can result in excessive drooling and upset stomach.  Larger amounts of mistletoe can cause heart rate/rhythm problems and neurological issues.

So to keep your Fido safe this Christmas, simply opt for silk versions of these festive favorites.



While they may be dazzling and represent precious memories from Christmas’ in the past, ornaments are nothing to mess with when there’s a puppy in your home.

Those sparkling baubles you’ve collected over the years are tempting toys for puppies.

Instead of ornaments, consider decorating your tree with a simple strand of lights and a favorite tree topper.

Or if you really don’t want to part with your ornaments, hang them near the top of your tree and out of reach for your little puppy.

This way you can avoid the chocking and intestinal blocking hazard that so often accompanies Christmas tree ornaments.

If an ornament does fall and happen to break, always clean up the remnants immediately.

As you can imagine, broken ornament shards are no match for a little pup’s mouth and paws.

Dachshund wearing a red sweater in front of a Christmas tree.

Lights & Wires

Similar to ornaments, avoid stringing lights through the lower branches of your tree.

Too often, puppies can get easily tangled in the wire and make a quick mess of things.

Or worse, puppies have already gotten shocked or burned simply by biting and chewing on available wires.

So always be sure the cords are well secured and out of your little pal’s reach.

Consider using cord containers for extra protection when you are not around.


It looks dazzling from afar but up close?  Tinsel is dangerous for holiday puppies.

Like it or not, tinsel can actually block a puppy’s intestines and is only remedied through doggy surgery.

That’s right.

So if your holiday just isn’t complete without it, be sure to always keep your tinsel high on the tree and be on the alert for any fallen strands.

Candles & Potpourris

They smell lovely and add such a delightful touch of coziness to a space.

Yet you’ll want to keep all candles and potpourris out of reach from curious noses and wagging tails.

For one, a simple swish of the tail can quickly knock over a candle and present a real fire hazard.

Second, oils and detergents in liquid potpourris can cause unwanted damage to your puppy’s eyes, mouth, and skin.

Solid potpourris too can cause problems if ingested by little fur pals.


You’ve gone through all the trouble to disguise the perfect gift for your loved ones.

Perhaps you have them fooled this time around.  But don’t be deceived.  It’s not that easy to fool your little puppy.

If you have a gift that’s edible, your puppy will know.

She’ll also have no problem trying to chew right through the wrapper to wherever the goodness is hidden.

So what’s the lesson?  Never leave food gifts under the tree.

Otherwise, you may not feel so merry on Christmas day.


To power the presents under the tree, there’s often a surplus of batteries.

Unfortunately, common alkaline batteries can burn if chewed.

They are also prime candidates for causing an obstruction if swallowed by a small puppy.

Smaller disc batteries are even more severe and sometimes actually fatal if swallowed whole.



Whether it’s chocolate, fruit cake or snowball cookies, holiday desserts are an absolute no-no for puppies.

That’s right.  No matter how much you love your chocolates, don’t even consider sharing them with your puppy.



Chocolate specifically has an active ingredient called methylxanthines. When puppies consume methylxanthines, they are likely to react with both diarrhea and vomiting until the ingredient is removed from their body.

So either keep your little one at a safe distance from unattended tables, plates, and trash cans, or ensure all sweet treats are completely out of reach.


Food this time of year is especially rich, even for us.

There are sugars and creams and so many delectable goodies.

Now imagine how the extra fats and spices are for puppies who are just getting acclimated to dog food.

That’s right.

All that richness is simply not good for little puppy bodies.

So to avoid unwanted emergency trips to your local veterinarian, avoid giving your little pal human food.

(You may even want to advise your guests to do the same as well.)


Always place unattended alcoholic drinks somewhere inaccessible.

If worst-case scenario strikes and your pup consumes a bit, he or she may become weak, ill, or comatose.

Puppy on blanket on Christmas day

Final Thoughts

Finally, as excited as you are to show off your little puppy, be warned that your pup might feel differently.

In fact, dogs have been known to be fearful, anxious, or over-stimulated around company.

So be prepared.

Make sure your puppy has a place to retreat to when he is feeling uneasy.  Perhaps it is his crate, his bed, or another room that is quieter.

Rob Jackson, CEO, and co-founder of Healthy Paws pet insurance advises that, “Giving your animal space to themselves away from the unfamiliar can provide them with a sense of safety.

“If possible, choose a room your pet spends time in already, such as a bedroom where they sleep.  Check in on your animal every hour or so, giving them a treat or affection.  Make sure to let your dog out per your usual schedule.”

In addition to creating a safe space to retreat to, you might consider putting up a pet gate to keep your puppy out of restricted areas (think tinsel, pine needles, and that dreaded holly!).

Also, treat often.

Be quick to lavish good behavior with positive praise and welcome your puppy into the festive holiday spirit with gourmet puppy dog treats.

If you are still looking for your perfect puppy this holiday season, be sure to check out our Christmas puppies for sale.

And always, be sure you are informed and fully committed when you bring home your puppy.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Let’s together celebrate Jesus, the true meaning behind Christmas, now and all through the year!

Profile picture of the author - Anna LengacherAs the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.

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