My Pet Ate the Christmas Tree… and other December Holiday Surprises!

My Pet Ate the Christmas Tree… and other December Holiday Surprises!

My Pet Ate the Christmas Tree…

and other December Holiday Surprises!


You picked out a beautiful tree, set it up, left to do some shopping, and


Here’s what your pet may be thinking:

Look at that toy up so high – I can climb to get it and taste some tinsel along the way!

MMM… cat grass is all over this tree, I think I’ll try some!

Oooh a tree…. let me pee on it!

What? There’s a water fountain too? Let me take a drink!

While peeing on the tree is more of a sanitary issue, drinking the water from the bottom is far from a safe thirst quencher. Dr. Keith Niesenbaum from Crawford Dog & Cat Hospital in Garden City, NY says that the water “may contain dangerious fertilizers or bacteria that could cause serious harm to your pet”.

Oooh Sparkly balls – what awesome toys! Let me try and grab them.

Did you ever think about how enticing the pretty balls that you line the tree with may be to your pets? Both cats and dogs play with balls as toys and these are shiny – and everyone is paying attention to them so they must be fun! When a pet bites or even jumps on one of these balls, they can easily shatter. Many are made from glass, which can cause severe cuts and internal injuries that may even require surgery.

Tinsel & Ribbons – Awesome Cat Toys! Or…….

These things can be deadly to our pet cats. They can easily ingest and choke on these pretty decorations, causing blockages and surgery to save their lives.

What about Poinsettias?

Dr. Niesenbaum says, “While many people are aware that Poinsettias can be toxic to pets, the dangers of this plant may be overstated. Ingestion will cause oral irritation and GI upset but is often not fatal.”


Well, let’s just celebrate Chanukah instead. That’s safer right?

Let’s not convert just yet. Menorah’s must be kept away from pets reach….whether it’s a dog jumping up, or a cat taking a closer look on the counter. They can easily be knocked down (as can a Christmas tree)!

A common Chanukah gift is gelt – small coins in foil wrapping made from Chocolate, which is a No-No for all pets.


There’s hope! Michael Schaier of Michael’s  Pack Dog Training says….

“Right about now, I start getting my “Christmas Tree calls”.  Typically, its from clients looking to keep their dog from eating the tree, the ornaments, the presents, or worse using the tree as a place to go to the bathroom.

Over the years, I have found the easiest way to prevent this is the following.  First, get an apron to surround the tree.  Most people seem to like using one.  Then, start using the apron as the boundary that your dog can’t cross.  When he steps foot on the apron, give him a verbal correction and reward/praise when he steps off.  Do this multiple times working with your dog on leash.  Once you think he has it mastered, then drop the leash and then ultimately, take the leash off.”


Robyn Elman, Pres. In Home Pet Services, Inc.



Just keeping some safety tips in mind will help you and your pets do just that!

To learn more about Dr. Keith Niesenbaum visit

To learn more about Certified Dog trainer Michael Schaier, visit 

10 Responses to “My Pet Ate the Christmas Tree… and other December Holiday Surprises!”

  1. RICHIE says:

    These are great tips.

  2. Paul says:

    A lot of good points made.

    I would like to point out the Christmas lights. Your pet may not be interested in regular power cords in daily life. But they might be more interested in chewing on those pretty, colorful, sparkling, twinkling lights. This can lead to electrical shock & burns to the mouth.

    Signs that your pet has gotten an electrical burn in his or her mouth:

    Blisters, on the gums, lips, and tongue.
    Erratic heartbeat.
    Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
    Loss of appetite.
    Refusal to eat or drink.
    Bite marks on an electrical cord.
    A burning smell in the room or from the pet.

  3. Laurie C says:

    Surround the floor at the bottom of your tree with contact paper, peel the back and place it sticky side up. Animals hate the sticky feel and will not approach the tree. It is not sticky enough to hurt them if they do try!

  4. Marty L says:

    This entire web site continues to be a wealth of invaluable knowledge for all pet owners. Thanks!!

  5. cindy says:


  6. CINDY says: