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  • Writer's pictureMary Puppins

Are Real Christmas Trees Safe For Your Dogs?

Updated: Feb 20

Real Christmas trees and your dogs

The Safety of Real Christmas Trees for Your Dogs

Delve into the holiday season with a crucial exploration of the safety of real Christmas trees for your dogs.

This guide highlights potential hazards and offers valuable safety measures to ensure a festive and secure environment for your dogs.

As you adorn your homes with the charm of real Christmas trees, it's essential to be informed about considerations that prioritise the well-being of your dogs.

Let's navigate through this seasonal inquiry, unveiling insights to make your holiday celebrations joyous and safe for every family member.

Potential Hazards of Real Christmas Trees

Embracing the festive tradition of adorning your homes with real Christmas trees brings joy.

Still, being aware of potential hazards that may affect your dogs is essential.

One common concern is the presence of pine needles, which can pose a risk if ingested.

When chewed or swallowed by your small dogs, these sharp needles might irritate the mouth and digestive tract.

Moreover, the water in the tree stand, often stagnant for days, can accumulate harmful bacteria and chemicals.

Dogs may be tempted to drink from it, leading to digestive issues or poisoning.

Cover the tree stand securely to mitigate this risk, or use pet-friendly alternatives to discourage your dogs from accessing the water.

The allure of decorations on real Christmas trees is undeniable.

Still, it comes with its hazards for your dogs.

If chewed or swallowed, baubles, tinsel, and ornaments can result in intestinal blockages or injuries.

Opt for dog-safe decorations and strategically place them out of your dogs' reach to prevent unintended mishaps.

In addition to physical hazards, the aromatic oils found in real Christmas trees can cause mild gastrointestinal upset if your dogs decide to take a nibble.

While the oils are not typically toxic, monitoring your dogs' interactions with the tree is crucial to prevent discomfort or adverse reactions.

To create a safe environment, regularly sweep up fallen pine needles to reduce the risk of ingestion.

Consider using a tree skirt to catch needles and prevent direct contact between your dogs and the fallen foliage.

This simple measure can significantly decrease the likelihood of any unwanted incidents.

When it comes to decorations, opt for sturdy, non-breakable items placed higher on the tree where your dogs are less likely to reach.

Avoid using tinsel altogether, as its shiny, dangling nature may attract your dogs' curiosity but poses a severe risk if ingested.

As a responsible pet owner, monitoring your dogs closely during the holiday season is critical.

Keep a watchful eye on their interactions with the tree, discourage them from drinking tree water, and quickly address any signs of discomfort or distress.

Familiarise yourself with emergency veterinary contact information in case of an unforeseen situation.

While real Christmas trees bring festive cheer, understanding the potential hazards is paramount to ensuring your dogs have a safe and joyful holiday season.

By taking proactive measures and prioritising your dogs' well-being, you can strike the perfect balance between festive decorations and a pet-friendly environment.


"The most common types of Christmas trees including pine, fir and spruce are not highly toxic to dogs, but oils they produce and the pine needles that drop from the tree can pose a risk.

Not only can the sharp pine needles get stuck in your dog's paws, they can also cause a mild stomach upset or blockage if eaten. If you have a dog but would like a real Christmas tree, you can opt for a non-drop variety – just remember to never leave your dog unsupervised around the tree."  The American Kennel Club


Safety Measures for Real Christmas Trees for Your Dogs

Ensuring a hazard-free holiday season with real Christmas trees involves proactive safety measures for dog owners.

Begin by securely anchoring the tree to prevent accidental toppling, reducing the risk of injury to dogs and humans.

Opt for dog-friendly decorations, steering clear of delicate or easily breakable items that may be dangerous if chewed or knocked off.

Create a designated dog-friendly zone, placing valuable decorations higher on the tree to minimise dog accessibility.

Employ barriers or deterrents to dissuade them from getting too close, promoting a safe and festive atmosphere.

Regularly inspect the tree's stability and reinforce dog-proofing strategies to foster a worry-free festive environment for you and your dogs.

real Christmas trees and your dogs, two Jack Russells

Choosing Dog-Friendly Decorations

Choosing dog-friendly decorations is paramount when adorning real Christmas trees in homes with furry companions.

Opt for ornaments made from non-toxic materials, avoiding small, easily ingestible parts that may pose a choking hazard.

Steer clear of tinsel and garlands, as their shiny allure can attract curious dogs, leading to ingestion and potential digestive issues.

Consider sturdy, shatterproof alternatives to delicate glass ornaments, decreasing the risk of injuries in case of accidental falls.

Place decorations strategically, focusing on higher branches to limit dog accessibility.

By thoughtfully selecting dog-safe embellishments, you can enhance the festive ambience without compromising the safety of your cherished canine companions.

Signs of Real Christmas Trees-Related Distress in Your Dogs

Being attuned to signs of distress in your dogs around real Christmas trees is crucial for responsible pet ownership during the festive season.

Watch for behavioural changes such as increased agitation, excessive scratching, or uncharacteristic lethargy, which may indicate discomfort or allergies to tree materials.

Persistent vomiting or diarrhoea could signal ingestion of harmful tree elements, necessitating prompt veterinary attention.

Look out for signs of stress, such as trembling or avoidance behaviours, which might suggest that the tree or its decorations are causing anxiety in your dogs.

By promptly recognising and addressing these distress signals, you can ensure a safe and joyful holiday experience for your family and four-legged companions.


"Thankfully, most live trees used at Christmas such as fir, pine and spruce are non-toxic to dogs - but it's their decorations, plant fertiliser and dropping needles that may cause problems for your pooch." Pooch and Mutt


Alternative Options to Real Christmas Trees for Your Dogs

Exploring alternative options to real Christmas trees for households with dogs ensures a harmonious and hazard-free holiday celebration.

Consider opting for an artificial tree, eliminating the risks associated with pine needles and tree water.

Smaller tabletop trees provide a festive touch while minimising potential access for curious canines.

Embrace dog-friendly tree alternatives, such as DIY wooden or felt trees, that allow for creative customisation without posing risks to your dogs.

These alternatives enhance safety and provide an opportunity for family engagement in crafting a unique and dog-friendly holiday centrepiece.

You can cultivate a joyful and worry-free festive atmosphere for your entire household by choosing alternative Christmas tree options.

Can you have a real Christmas tree with a dog?

It is indeed possible to have a dog and a genuine Christmas tree.

Most Christmas trees, including fir, pine, and spruce, cannot harm dogs. But your dog can have issues with their decorations, plant fertiliser, and falling needles.

Can dogs eat Christmas trees?

If your dog does munch on a branch of your Christmas tree, it shouldn't cause any life-threatening injury.

However, suppose a dog eats a lot of pine needles. In that case, it might have digestive problems since the needles irritate its mouth and delicate stomach.

Are fake Christmas trees safe for dogs?

A fake tree solves the issue of falling pine needles.

However, if your dog is prone to chewing on foreign objects, the fact that your tree isn't alive may make little difference to whether they swallow bits of it.

Is the fake snow on Christmas trees toxic to dogs?

A beautiful sprinkling of artificial snow is included with several artificial trees. If it ends up in your dog's stomach, though, that's not so nice.

Researchers have found no evidence to suggest that the artificial snow commonly used on Christmas trees is toxic to dogs.

What are the dangers of Christmas trees for dogs?

Christmas tree types most in demand include spruce, pine and fir; they don't contain much toxicity for dogs, but the oils they release and the pine needles of which fall from the tree can be dangerous.

The pointy pine needles might cause minor gastrointestinal upset or obstruction if consumed by your dog and become trapped in their paws.

How to dog-proof your Christmas tree?

With consistent obedience training, you may train your dog to avoid the tree.

It can also be effective to anchor the tree and use pet-friendly ornaments to keep them secure.

Another option is to put the tree in a room that you can control access to.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, ensuring the safety of real Christmas trees for your dogs involves vigilance and strategic measures.

By recognising potential hazards, implementing safety measures, and choosing dog-friendly alternatives, you can create a festive environment that prioritises the well-being of your furry family members.

This holiday season, balance seasonal joy and canine safety, allowing your family and your dogs to bask in the warmth of a hazard-free celebration around the Christmas tree.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.

At Mary Puppins,  we prioritise your cherished pets' well-being, offering a haven of comfort and care during their stay.

Our commitment is to ensure your small breed dogs are treated like family, receiving top-notch attention and care.

BOOK NOW  via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.

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Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.



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