Decorating the Christmas tree with your dog Decorating the Christmas tree with your dog

Are Real Christmas Trees Safe for Dogs?

Read time: 3 mins

16 Nov 2023

The holiday season brings cheer and merriment, often accompanied by the iconic symbol of Christmas—the Christmas tree. For pet parents, ensuring the safety of their pups around this seasonal centrepiece is crucial. 

Let's explore the safety considerations to keep in mind for a dog-friendly holiday season.

Are Christmas Trees Poisonous to Dogs?

The most popular varieties of Christmas trees, such as the pine, fir and spruce, are not poisonous to dogs.

However, we would still recommend caution when it comes to dogs and Christmas trees.

What is the Best Christmas Tree for Dogs?

Opting for dog-friendly tree varieties can significantly reduce potential risks. Consider trees like the Nordmann Fir or Fraser Fir, known for their softer needles and lower shedding, making them safer options for homes with dogs. These trees have needles that are less likely to cause harm if accidentally ingested or stepped on by your furry friend.

Are Pine Needles Toxic to Dogs?

Pine trees, commonly used as Christmas trees, often raise concerns about the safety of their needles for dogs.

While the oils from pine needles can cause irritation or an upset stomach if ingested in small quantities, they are generally not highly toxic. 

However, the sharp and pointed needles could pose a risk if swallowed or if they puncture the delicate lining of a dog's digestive tract, or cause a blockage.

How Do I Dog-Proof My Christmas Tree?

Creating a dog-friendly environment around your Christmas tree is essential. 

Secure the tree

Start by putting the tree in a sturdy stand to prevent accidental toppling, especially if your dog is playful or excitable. 

Pick a safe place

Positioning the tree away from high-traffic areas or using pet gates and tree guards can also limit access.

Decorate with your pooch in mind

Decorate thoughtfully, opting for pet-safe ornaments and avoiding decorations that could be tempting for curious pups. Consider placing breakable ornaments higher up and securing lighter ones to prevent playful swats from sending them crashing down.

How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Eating the Christmas Tree?

Training and positive reinforcement can help deter your dog from nibbling on the tree. Redirect their attention with engaging toys or treats and praise them when they avoid the tree. Consistency in training and offering appealing alternatives can gradually discourage the behaviour.

For added assurance, employing deterrents like bitter apple spray or citrus scents around the base of the tree may dissuade your dog from exploring further.

Is it OK if My Dog Drinks the Christmas Tree Water?

The water in the tree stand often contains preservatives, sap, or loose pine needles, making it unsafe for pets to consume. Ensure your dog doesn't have access to this water as it can cause digestive issues or irritate their system.

Regularly replenish the water and consider covering the tree stand with a tree skirt or cover to prevent your dog from reaching it. This precaution can significantly reduce the chances of accidental ingestion.

Opting for dog-friendly tree varieties, dog-proofing the tree and its surroundings, training your dog, and avoiding access to tree water are proactive measures that can ensure a joyous and safe holiday season for both you and your furry companion.

Remember, when it comes to your pet's well-being, a little extra care and consideration go a long way in making this festive season merry for everyone in your home.