Are Christmas Trees Poisonous to Dogs?
If your dog is anything like mine, she’ll chew absolutely everything – including trees. Has your dog retrieved her own stick directly from the tree? Oh, mine has! And if she’ unable to break it off, she’ll chew it while it’s still attached.
So Christmas trees are a concern with how safe they are for an avid chewer, as well as how I can make them “dog-proof”.
Trees that are used for Christmas trees include Blue Spruce, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir and White Pine. While these tree are not necessarily poisonous, eating the pine needles and sap aren’t good for them, and your dog could experience excessive drooling or vomiting from ingesting.
Christmas Tree Hazards to Dogs
Aside from an upset tummy, there are other hazards to your dog from your Christmas tree.
Playful pups could knock over the entire tree. A 5′ tree will be harder to knock over than a 7′ tree, so try choosing a shorter rather than taller tree. Also select a tree with a stable base, and choose a location in your home where your tree can be anchored to the wall, or place in a corner.
Cords can also be a source of injury. Not only chewing through wires, but also the bulbs could pose as a choking hazard. Help lessen the risk by not stringing lights on the lowest boughs, and don’t leave a lot of slack with your cord where it would be easily accessible for a dog to get and chew.
Glass ornaments also pose a risk for injury to your dog, especially ones that are shaped like a ball – if it looks like one of her toys, then she’s probably going to want to play with it. Ornaments that include pieces could pose a choking hazard. Be sure to hang your ornaments securely to your tree, and place any expensive or sentimental ornaments higher.
Tinsel, while pretty, could cause bowel obstruction.
Don’t allow your dog to have access to the tree’s water basin. Other than chemicals that may be put into the water to extend the life of your tree, water that has been standing still is a breeding ground for bacteria. If you don’t have a covered water basin/tree stand, you can cover it with the tree skirt or another covering so your dog won’t drink any of this water.
Keeping Dogs Away From Christmas Trees
It’s difficult for me to keep my dog away from anything she’s determined to explore. If your dog is the same way, there are a few things you can try to keep your dog away from your Christmas tree.
Using a spray deterrent, such as Bitter Spray, could be an effective way to keep your dog from chewing your Christmas tree. Spray onto the trunk and branches. You could also make your own spray with citrus, or another strong scent.
Putting a gate around your tree may prove effective, unless you have a dog that jumps – as I do.
Confining your dog in another room while you’re not at home could be a good way to ensure that her curiosity doesn’t get destructive while nobody’s looking!
Keeping a spray bottle or squirt gun handy could help to alter your dog’s behavior if she’ getting a little too playful around the tree, or if she’s caught in the act of being destructive with your Christmas tree and decorations.
Dog-Safe Christmas Trees
For increased safety with your Christmas tree, consider an artificial tree. Artificial trees eliminate the GI upset from chewing on the branches or needles, and eliminates the need for a water basin. There are many trees that look remarkably like the real thing, and there are many different species of trees available to choose from.
Making a few small changes to your decorating will help to make sure that your dog will have a safe and happy holiday season that is free of injury and illness.