Why is my dog fascinated by the Christmas tree?

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Christmas trees are not only enjoyed by both humans and dogs; however, dogs are attracted to Christmas trees in a very different way than people. While a Christmas tree is visually pleasing for people, dogs appreciate a more interactive relationship with this decorative seasonal item.

If the tree you’ve purchased is real, your dog may be intrigued by its smell. If the tree was previously inhabited by birds or insects, the dog will be aware of this fact instinctively. Equipped with more than 220 million  olfactory receptors, dogs may detect interesting smells of which humans may not be aware.

However, it isn’t only about smells for dogs. Many dogs are attracted by the shiny ornaments hanging on the tree, because they look like interesting toys. The twinkling lights, dangling tinsel and small, shiny figurines are all tempting items from a dog’s perspective. It is very natural for a dog to feel excited by these items, and attempt to steal them to play with and chew. On a more serious note, many dogs find the electrical wires connecting to the tree tempting chew toys, which can be very dangerous.

Many dogs are also attracted by random Christmas tree needles falling from the tree. Don’t let Rover chew on these, as they can be mildly toxic to dogs, and if eaten in great quantity, may even cause an obstruction in the digestive tract. The water used for your Christmas tree may be dangerous as well; preservatives, pesticides and fertilizers are often added to Christmas trees. Be aware of this before purchasing a tree for your home.

Because there are so many dangers, it is best to monitor your dog around the Christmas tree at all times. If this is not feasible, management is extremely important. Erect a fence around the Christmas tree or install a baby gate to keep the dog away from the tree.

The Christmas holiday is a time for celebration and joy. Don’t have your holiday spoiled by a mishap that could have been easily prevented. Be mindful of your dog’s safety. Careful planning and supervision goes a long way towards protecting your precious canine companion from any danger, and you’ll all be able to enjoy the Christmas spirit together.

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