Can Christmas Tree Needles Make Dogs Sick?

by Naomi Millburn
    Always closely monitor your pet's actions near the Christmas tree.

    Always closely monitor your pet's actions near the Christmas tree.

    David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Christmas is a holiday of merriment and relaxation for many, and one that should always involve plenty of care and caution. Don't allow the holiday spirit and sometimes hectic pace to ever interfere with your household sense of safety. The needles of Christmas trees, while festive, can be hazardous to pets -- and can indeed make the furry guys ill.

    Digestive Tract Woes

    Dogs can be highly inquisitive and exploratory creatures, and as a result often love putting their mouths on new things. Because of this, it's important to always make sure that your pooch never chews on your Christmas tree, and never even gets the opportunity to get his mouth on any tree needles that might have dropped to the floor. If your pet consumes these needles, they could bring upon a couple of serious gastrointestinal problems. Not only are these needles capable of triggering blockage of the digestive system, they also can make tiny holes in the intestines, too. Christmas tree needles don't have to be "real" to be a problem for dogs. The fake ones can actually be just as perilous, so be careful.

    Throat

    Needles from Christmas trees can lead to intestinal blockage, and also can do the same to the throat. Christmas tree needles are extremely pointy and are often extremely small, too. As a result, your pet consuming them can sometimes cause throat obstruction -- definitely not something you want on Christmas or any other day of the year, for that matter. If this happens to your dog's throat, you might notice him experiencing problems swallowing.

    Vomiting

    Since Christmas tree needles are not exactly the greatest things in terms of digestion, your poor pet might throw up a lot after taking any of them in. If you observe vomiting or any other sign that your dog ingested any Christmas tree needles, fake or real, seek emergency veterinary care for the pooch. The aforementioned intestinal blockage and perforation can both be highly threatening issues in dogs, so never take them lightly. Note, too, that Christmas tree needles are also problematic for felines.

    Paws and Christmas Tree Needles

    Christmas tree needles aren't only hazards for dogs' mouths, but also for their paws. If a lot of these needles are lingering on the floor, you run the risk of them getting trapped on your pet's paws, a seriously uncomfortable and painful situation for him.

    Other Christmas Tree Troubles for Dogs

    Apart from the needles, other things that are related to Christmas trees can also pose potential health problems to your cutie. Avoid allowing your pet to lap up the water that is situated at the bottom of the tree. This water, which is sometimes full of bacteria, can lead to possible throwing up, diarrhea, oral sores and decreased appetites in dogs. Remember, the water is possibly toxic with all of the chemicals that could be part of it. Make sure that your tree water always has a sturdy top. If your pet drinks Christmas tree water, contact your veterinarian immediately.

    Photo Credits

    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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