Puppy Safety This Christmas & Winter Holiday Season

9 minute read By Lucy Hughes
Reviewed by: Pawrade Team
November 17, 2022

French Bulldog puppy wearing a Santa hat and chewing on a red and white ornament ball

Yappy Pawlidays! ‘Tis the Season for visions of puppy snuggles dancing through our heads on Christmas Eve! Santa Paws will bring lots of toys and goodies for your little ones, humans and puppies alike. 

Instead of Jack Frost nipping at your toes, you’ve got a curious, teething puppy nipping at your toes! Here are some ways to keep your puppy safe during the Christmas season

Prevention is the Key to Keeping Your Puppy Safe 

Accident prevention is the safest way to make sure your puppy has a fantastic holiday season. If this is your first Christmas and winter holiday season with your puppy, you might not be aware of all the precautions to take to keep your puppy safe so you don’t end up on the Naughty List!

Consider the following holiday safety tips for puppies to keep your celebrations Merry & Bright. 

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Christmas & Winter Holiday Safety Tips for Puppies 


The holidays only come once a year, so your puppy will be very excited to see such a fun change in its environment. 

Pre-puppy, you decorated with everything Just So. Every ornament was hung perfectly placed on the Christmas tree, and the stockings were hung by the chimney with great care. You may have already prepared your home for a new puppy, but you might not have considered what to do during the holidays to keep your puppy protected. This year with your new puppy, you’re going to have to think about decorations like you never have before!

Take a moment to view every single Christmas or holiday decoration you own as potentially ending up in your puppy’s mouth. Think like a puppy and get down on their level to see what they can reach.

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Any decoration with cords or wires

You’ve seen adorable photos on social media that pose a puppy with Christmas lights all around it. While it may be precious, a scenario like this should never be done unsupervised. 

Puppies seem to have a natural ability to find the most dangerous choices to chew, wires included! Strings of Christmas lights, extension cords, wired wreath holders, ornament hooks – anything with a wire poses a huge hazard for your puppy. 


Wrapping paper, ribbons, and boxes 

Hopefully, your curious puppy won’t be shaking the presents to see what’s inside…and trying to open them. Ingesting wrapping paper, ribbons, tape, name tags, and cardboard can cause gastrointestinal blockage and require surgery in extreme cases, so make sure you supervise your puppy when around the tree and promptly clean up any leftover supplies in your gift-wrapping area. 

Low-hanging ornaments

You hear a strange noise, look over in that direction, and see that your special stuffed gnome ornament seems to be sending you a silent cry for help while in the jaws of your delighted puppy. Maybe your puppy is convinced you hung a variety of shiny glass balls just for her to chomp on.

Before your puppy shatters or destroys every precious ornament you own, you may have to get creative in rearranging your ornaments this year. 

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Tinsel is fun and shiny, but it can be a potential hazard to your puppy. Swallowing tinsel can turn into a medical emergency for a puppy requiring surgery to remove blockage, so keep it away from your puppy. A puppy can also grab ahold of tinsel and take down the entire Christmas tree!

Potpourri, Warmers, and Candles

Potpourri scents can help create the right festive mood to add one more layer of holiday magic to a room. However, puppies can be attracted to the scent, thinking the bowl of potpourri is a tasty treat. Potpourri can be doused in essential oils and other scented chemicals that are not safe for pets. 

Scent warmers may emit scents that aren’t necessarily toxic for dogs, but be careful where you place the warmer. A puppy can knock it over, break it, ruin floors, or chew electrical cords when scent warmers are left out.

Whether you’re lighting a Menorah for 8 nights, 7 Kwanzaa kinara candles, an advent wreath, making your home smell great with a holiday-scented candle, or lighting up an elegant tablescape, burning candles can always pose a safety hazard around puppies. If you do light a candle, make sure no other items are nearby to catch on fire, that you place the candle on a stable surface far away from your puppy, and that you never leave a burning flame unattended or forget to put it out. 

Food & Drink

For many of us, the food and drinks are one of the best parts of the Christmas and holiday season! However, many of our traditional favorites are not suitable for puppies and can even cause death. The only emergency hotline you want to even consider calling is the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line!

Here are some holiday foods and drinks puppies should avoid

Anything rich, oily & fatty 

Dogs cannot process the foods high in sugar, oils, and fat that make the holiday season so dang delicious. You’ll have to keep Santa’s cookie tray, the fruitcake Aunt Edna brought, or the Hanukkah sufganiyot (donuts) away from your puppy. While a dog can eat plain cooked sweet potato, a sweet potato pie or casserole is simply too much for your puppy. 

Bones and meats

Some people may think it’s okay to give your puppy bones and meats because they’re carnivores and chew on bones anyway, right? Wrong. Puppies cannot handle high amounts of sodium some of these meats have, and they’re often covered in fatty gravy. Cooked bones can splinter and puncture a puppy’s insides. 

Garlic and onions 

Whether you’re enjoying an Italian feast or latkes at Hanukkah, they’re just for humans to enjoy, not your puppy. These foods can contain garlic and onion, members of the Allium sativum which can cause severe reactions, including death if enough is eaten. 


Any chocolate, from baked desserts to foil-wrapped Santas to gelt coins, can easily be dropped or left out for a curious puppy to find. Chocolate is definitely toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine that dogs can’t digest and can cause severe diarrhea and gastrointestinal blockage. 


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many sugar-free candies and baked goods. If your puppy ingests Xylitol, even a tiny amount, it can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death in dogs.


While we all know giving alcohol to dogs in their water bowl is terrible, watch out for those enthusiastic tails or unattended cocktails on low tables. Your puppy could knock over and lap up some wine or champagne from your crystal flutes. It takes less than 30 minutes for your puppy to absorb alcohol in their system, so act quickly if you think your puppy got into the bubbly.  

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Toxic plants

Most live plants displayed around the house during Christmas and winter holidays are stunning! As stunning as they can be with their bright red berries and leaves against a forest green background of leaves and boughs, plants such as poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, and even Christmas trees can pose some level of harm to your puppy. 

Decorations using real holly berries, as gorgeous as they are, belong outside. Real holly berries and leaves are toxic to dogs. If you display fresh mistletoe or holly sprigs in your home, even high up, be aware that the berries and leaves can dry up and fall off to where your dog can eat them.

Poinsettias have an irritating, milky white sap containing chemicals that can irritate the skin and cause vomiting, drooling, or diarrhea. The good news is that poinsettias aren’t as toxic to dogs as other plants and berries, but you still want to keep them away from curious puppies. 

Pine, fir, and spruce trees and boughs are generally not considered toxic for puppies. However, ingesting large amounts of needles can cause upset stomachs or cause perforation in some dogs. Needles can also cause lacerations in puppies’ eyes. 

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Cleaning supplies 

There’ll be potty bells jingling and tin-tin-tinkling too with a puppy who is learning potty training. You’ll want to keep non-toxic, pet-safe cleaner close by but kept secure. If you have housecleaners come, make sure you keep your pet in a safe, closed-off area and follow company policies of keeping your puppy out of the way.

Family game time

Team Cousins v. Team Aunts & Uncles playing family games can be an absolute hoot! Most of these games contain small, intricate pieces. Dreidels can spin, you can pass Go and collect $200, and countries can be conquered.

Make sure your puppy doesn’t get too friendly with the Scottie Dog token in Monopoly by supervising all game pieces during play and cleaning up right away. If you don’t watch your puppy during play, you know your precious puppy is going to barrel through the board of your 4-hour marathon Risk campaign right when you’re about to achieve global domination, sending troop pieces flying everywhere and eating your entire infantry. 

Be up to date on puppy vaccinations for visitors and boarding 

It could be easy to forget to keep appointments for puppy vaccinations and preventative medicines. Stick to a regular vaccination schedule so your puppy is protected from common puppy illnesses that can quickly spread. Whether other dogs are coming to visit or you choose the best dog sitter for your puppy, staying current on vaccinations is a great way to keep your puppy safe this holiday season. 

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Microchip your pup

With people going in and out of loud parties and holiday gatherings, it’s easy for your puppy to slip out and go for a joy ride on Santa’s sleigh before you realize she’s missing. Make sure your puppy is microchipped with your current information in a database. Christmas is also a great time to sport a festive holiday puppy collar with identifying information just in case. 


Puppies may be cute, but you don’t want them jumping up and slobbering all over your guests before they have a chance to take off their coats. The holiday season is a great time to work on basic training puppy commands like Leave it, Drop it, Give, and Come. Once you have the basics down, pick a few fun tricks to teach your puppy and impress your friends!

Provide a Calm Corner

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, your puppy can get overstimulated and overwhelmed quickly. Set up a calm corner out of the way of high-activity areas. Include a crate, favorite toys, a blanket that smells like you, and some soothing music. Be proactive and make sure your puppy follows a schedule to anticipate when she may need a nap. 

Find a Christmas Puppy at Pawrade

You know that Santa’s on his way, and he’s bringing lots of toys and puppies on his sleigh! Our team at Pawrade is so excited to help you give the gift of a new puppy for sale under the Christmas tree. We've matched over 4,000,000 pawsome families with loving furever homes to prominent breeders since 2004.

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Lucy Hughes

Lucy Hughes has been teaching and writing professionally for half her life. She has a passion for helping people choose a puppy and lead an exciting life with their new furry companion. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and her beloved Golden Retriever, Bowie.

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