Are Christmas Trees Dangerous for My Dog or Cat?
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...These festive staples bring us so much cheer, yet there are potential dangers lurking in their branches. Before decorating your home for the holidays, it’s important to know what holiday elements can put your pets at risk.
Dangers of real trees
Why are Christmas trees toxic to dogs and cats? Pine needles and tree water are not pet friendly at all. The needles can cause gastrointestinal irritation if your pet eats them, and they can also cause a blockage or puncture in your dog or cat’s intestinal lining.
Christmas trees are also poisonous to cats and dogs due to the chemicals in the tree water. Many Christmas trees are treated with preservatives, fertilizers, pesticides and even aspirin, which gets into the tree water around the trunk and can harm your furry friend if they try to drink it. It’s best to cover the tree stand and water with a tree collar to prevent your dog or cat from accessing it.
Pawrents should also be concerned about poinsettias and other houseplants. Additionally, as romantic and mistletoe is, it can be toxic to your pets. The same goes for jolly holly, keep it away from your fur children! As a general rule, try to keep all live plants out of reach for your pets.
Dangers of fake trees
Christmas tree pines are bad for dogs and cats, whether they are real or fake. While fake trees are less dangerous than real trees, they can still pose a threat to your pets. Artificial trees can be harmful if your pet eats the plastic needles. Additionally, you should ensure that your tree is stable, otherwise it has the potential to tip over and harm your pet if they push or pull it over. This is especially common with curious cats who love to play on the branches. Sadly, even fake christmas trees are dangerous for dogs and cats.
Dangers associated with ornaments
Glass ornaments are another element that make Christmas trees dangerous for cats and dogs. Ornaments pose problems if they shatter and cut your pet’s paws. They are even more dangerous if you dog or cat ingests the shards. Ornaments with flexible hooks fall off trees if they aren’t secure tightly, and your four-legged may try to eat these. They can create a choking hazard or lead to injury of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestine. We recommend using only shatterproof ornaments that are placed out of your pet’s reach.
Dangers associated with lights, cords, and tinsel
While we all want our holidays to be lit, lights can be dangerous. Strands of lights can become too hot and potentially burn pets that come into contact with them. If your dog or cat chews on the wire, they could suffer an electric shock or mouth burn. Additionally, chewing on an electric wire also can cause pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which can be fatal. While cats may love playing with shiny tinsel, it should never be eaten. If it is ingested, it can block intestines and cause serious health concerns.
Check out our guide to learn how to keep your dog away from the Christmas tree, as well as other tips to keep your pets safe during the holidays. Don’t forget to reward Fido for being so good with yummy treats! We hope you and your pets have a very meowy Christmas, feliz Navi-dog, and a happy Paw-nukkah!
Updated November 20, 2023