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brown and white terrier sniffing christmas tree

Are Christmas trees poisonous to dogs? reading-time-icon 2 min read

A bright and beautiful Christmas tree can be the perfect antidote to dreary winter evenings, and as far as we’re concerned, it’s never too early to put up your Christmas decorations.  

For pet owners, it’s important to know the dangers Christmas trees and other festive plants pose to their four-legged friends. 

Are Christmas trees safe for dogs? 

Christmas trees are a big addition to the home, so it’s only natural for pets to be curious. Filled with interesting scents, glistening decorations and twinkling lights, it’s not hard to see why they might be attracted to Christmas trees. 

Christmas trees tend to be either fir, spruce or pine. These types of trees are non-toxic to dogs and cats.

For pets, the issue with Christmas trees tends to be the needles, which can irritate your pet’s mouth, get stuck in their paws, and can cause an upset tummy if too many are eaten. 

When it comes to Christmas trees, the biggest danger for pets is the decorations. Salt-dough ornaments, chocolate decorations, glass baubles and fairy lights can all cause serious problems for dogs. 

Keep Christmas decorations well out of reach from pesky paws, or forgo edible and toxic decorations altogether, for the best chance of avoiding a Christmas rush to the vets.  

brown and white terrier sniffing christmas tree

Other dangerous festive plants


Whether it’s hung from our front door or over the fireplace, holly is everywhere at Christmas time. Although it makes our homes feel festive, it can make dogs very poorly if they eat it.

The leaves and the red berries on holly are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Due to its spikey leaves, holly can also cause mouth and paw irritation. 


Much like holly, mistletoe poses a risk to dogs. If you hang it around your house, make sure it is securely attached and out of reach of your pets. If your dog eats mistletoe, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion and breathing problems.


All parts of the ivy plant contain toxins that can be potentially harmful to pooches. The leaves are the most dangerous part of the plant, which can cause stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhoea. The sap can cause allergic reactions if it gets on your dog’s skin. 


A popular festive plant, poinsettias are mildly toxic to both cats and dogs. However, your pet would have to eat a substantial amount to cause poisoning.

Most pets will stop munching before they do themselves any harm because the leaves contain sticky sap, which will irritate their mouths. Keep them out of reach to be on the safe side. 

cat in front of christmas tree

What if my pet eats a dangerous plant?

It's better to be safe than sorry. If your pet has eaten a dangerous plant, you should contact your vet or relevant out-of-hours provider immediately. If possible, try and identify the plant that your pet has eaten, as this will help the vet when it comes to treating your pet. 

Need more advice?

If you're looking to treat your pets this Christmas, why not speak to your vet? They’ll be more than happy to help and can recommend some treats and toys to ensure your pets have a very merry Christmas indeed. Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page. 


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