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Are Real Christmas Trees Safe for Dogs?

Christmas Tree Farm

Bringing a real Christmas tree to your home can be defying for you as a pet owner. This is because Christmas trees are one of many holiday plants that can be toxic to pets. Generally, toxicity is not associated with trees, but real Christmas trees are regarded as ‘mildly toxic’. Hence, it’s imperative to keep your pup away if you are planning to have a Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Information

Close up of a Christmas tree with white lights

These trees have a sparkling green conifer because they are mostly made from fir, spruce, or pine tree. Conifersare seed plants that have a cone-like structure and the scientific nomenclature for this class of trees is Pinophyta. They are also known as Coniferophyta or Coniferae.

All existent conifers are perpetual woody plants with secondary growth. Their leaves are long, thin, and needle-like.

Are Real Christmas Trees Safe for Dogs?

Although these trees are not lethal for dogs, the barks and leaves of Real Christmas trees can cause serious problems for your pup (when ingested).

Why is Real Christmas Tree Toxic to Dogs?

Jack Russell Terrier laying on its back with a Christmas tree branch and ornament in it's mouth

The following are some reasons why real Christmas trees are not safe for canines.

Oil on Leaves – The thin leaves of conifers are covered with natural oil that makes them drought resistant. This oil is what makes these trees dangerous for dogs. This is because it can upset your pooch’s stomach and can cause other problems, like profuse drooling and vomiting.

Pointy Leaves – If the leaves are too sharp, they can cause injuries inside the stomach or puncture the intestinal lining.

Contaminated Water – Moreover, the tree’s water that accumulates in the pot is even problematic. It can be contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides that are poisonous for your canine friend. Similarly, other additives, like Aspirin, are added to the water to keep the tree fresh.

Tannin Poisoning – Some conifers, especially fir and pines, contain tannins in their barks. These polyphenolic molecules can produce tannic acid inside your dog’s stomach that can damage the liver and kidneys. Common signs of tannin poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea (with or without blood), abdominal pain, and lethargy.

Ingested Acorns – Consumption of acorns can lead to intestinal blockage. Likewise, conifer needles may also cause gastrointestinal distresses, like pain and blood in vomiting or stool.

NOTE: If your dog ingests Christmas tree’s barks or leaves, you should immediately seek your veterinarian’s help.

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