How to Stop Your Dog From Peeing on the Christmas Tree

By Lindsay Stordahl

Has your dog ever peed on the Christmas tree?

I was horrified to hear my dog Ace lifted his leg on one of my parents’ indoor plants one summer. Not the Christmas tree but almost as bad!

I know a lot of dogs get confused when there’s suddenly a Christmas tree in the house, especially if it’s a real tree vs. a fake tree.

Imagine all those smells!

So how can you stop a dog from peeing on the Christmas tree or at least prevent the behavior? Let me know your ideas and tips in the comments. I’ll share my ideas below.

How to stop your dog from peeing on the Christmas tree – 12 tips

1. Take your dog out for lots of potty breaks to prevent peeing on the Christmas tree.

Unfortunately, there is no dog proof Christmas tree. So, to decrease your dog’s likelihood of peeing on the tree, make sure to take him out for potty breaks more often than usual. Ideally, take him out for a long walk right before you set up the tree.

2. Don’t make any assumptions.

I took my dog Remy to our office last December and he peed on the office Christmas tree! I never thought he would so something like that. But, he did! So embarrassing!

So .. don’t make assumptions. Here are some other examples:

If your dog is a girl, she could still try to mark the tree. Or she might pee next to the Christmas tree or right under the tree!

If your dog is neutered, he could still try to mark the tree. Even if he’s normally potty trained, he could still get confused and pee on the tree!

If your dog did not pee on the tree last year, that doesn’t mean he won’t do it this year. He might be more territorial this year or more confident or maybe this year’s tree has more smells on it. Who knows.

Also, just because your dog does not pee on YOUR Christmas tree, it does not guarantee he will not pee on a friend or relative’s Christmas tree!

3. Don’t trust newly adopted dogs or visiting dogs.

Even if you’re told your newly adopted dog is 99 percent potty trained, he could still try to mark the tree. Trust me. Just because a dog is potty trained doesn’t mean he’ll understand the tree is off limits.

And as I hinted to earlier, make sure to supervise your dog or keep him leashed if you visit a friend or relative’s house during the holidays.

The key is to supervise the dog at all times until you’re sure he’s going to leave the tree alone. Use a kennel/crate when you can’t supervise. You may need to go back to dog potty training 101 as in supervising constantly, preventing mistakes and rewarding with treats for going potty outside.

4. Keep your dog leashed to prevent marking the Christmas tree.

Not necessarily all the time, but at least when you first set up the tree or when you first arrive at a friend’s house if your friend has a tree up. This is a good idea when you bring your dog into any new home anyway.

The point of the leash is to keep your dog in your sight at all times. That way there’s no sneaking off and casually lifting a leg on the tree!

I would keep your dog on a leash for the first 30 minutes and then maybe walk by the tree with him a few times so you feel confident he’s not going to try to mark the tree. You should still keep a close eye on him if you do decide to let him off leash.

5. Use a belly band if your male dog keeps marking the Christmas tree.

A dog “belly band” fits around a male dog’s belly so if he tries to mark in the house, the belly band catches the urine. It’s sort of like a diaper! You would want to continue using other training methods in addition to this because the belly band doesn’t actually teach him not to mark. It’s just there to save your tree (or your furniture, carpets, etc.)

For females that mark, you can use actual dog diapers. These are available at quite a few pet stores for when females go into heat. Chewy also sells a variety of disposable dog diapers and male wraps.

I realize dog diapers and belly bands are awkward and embarrassing but they are there as an option if you’re running into a pretty frustrating issue with your dog or perhaps a foster dog.

6. Kennel/crate your dog when you can’t supervise.

This is a good idea around the holidays anyway because there are so many tempting packages, snacks and decorations. If you don’t have a kennel, then leave your dog in a bedroom or other area that is dog proof. Pet gates also come in handy during this time.

7. Use a Pet Corrector.

If your dog seems too interested in the tree and is not responding to a firm “no,” you could try distracting him with a simple product called the Pet Corrector. This blasts compressed air to startle the dog. Then you would praise him for moving away from the tree.

8. Use Nature’s Miracle Pet Repellent

Nature’s Miracle Pet Block Repellent spray is a spray formulated to keep pets away from a certain area. Try spraying it around your tree to keep your dog away.

9. Create an invisible boundary around the tree.

Dogs do respect boundaries if they’re given clear boundaries to begin with. If you decide a small area around the tree is off limits to your dog, simply tell him “no” or “leave it” when he approaches that boundary. Reward him with treats and praise for staying back. Also reward your dog when he’s lying calmly on his dog bed.

10. Use a fence or gate to block the Christmas tree.

If needed, you could consider putting the tree in a room that you’re able to block off from your dog with a baby gate.

Another option is to set up an ex-pen around the tree. Ridiculous, I know, but it’s been done!

This is basically like a “play pen” for dogs but instead of putting the dog in the pen you’re using the pen to keep the dog out!

This is not exactly my number one choice, but I know of more than one person who uses this option because of her foster dogs. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Some people love to foster dogs and still want a nice tree!

11. Use the ‘Leave It’ command.

Leave it comes in handy for so many scenarios and this is one of them. As your dog approaches the tree, you would tell him “leave it” and then reward him for moving back.

12. Praise good behavior.

Don’t forget to praise your dog for good behavior using treats and affection. Praise him for lying quietly on his dog bed or on the couch or whatever spot he’s welcome. Good boy!

How to clean dog pee off the Christmas tree

If your dog has already peed on or around the tree, I recommend you do your best to clean the area with a strong pet cleaner. Nature’s Miracle makes a good one and then you can use their pet deterrent spray to hopefully keep your dog away from the tree in the future.

Obviously it’s hard to clean an actual tree, but if the urine got on the Christmas tree skirt or the floor or rug, these types of products should help.

Is it safe to have a real Christmas tree with dogs?

Yes. Thankfully, most dogs will not try to pee on or mark a Christmas tree, especially with supervision and training. This is true whether it’s a real tree or an artificial tree, so it’s really up to you which type of tree you prefer.

Real Christmas trees should not harm your dog or cat even if they try to bite it or eat it. The needles on some types of trees are a bit sharp, however!

My dog takes the Christmas tree ornaments!

It’s common for puppies or young dogs to try to play with the Christmas tree ornaments. Even some adult dogs might find certain ornaments hard to resist!

Article By Lindsay Stordahl