Norfolk Pine Toxicity to Dogs

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    A common Christmas tree, the Norfolk pine poses a toxic risk to your dog.

    A common Christmas tree, the Norfolk pine poses a toxic risk to your dog.

    Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    The Norfolk Island pine, or Araucaria heterophylla, is a common tree found in landscaping, but also used during the holidays as a Christmas tree. While the exact toxic agent is unknown, this tree is toxic to dogs. The holiday season raises the risk of potential toxicity given the plant is inside with your dog. Hanging decorations may attract your dog and increase the potential of toxic ingestion.

    Symptoms of Norfolk Pine Toxicity

    Ingestion of Norfolk pine needles can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as general lethargy and depression. In addition to the toxicity from the tree itself, trees used inside for the holidays pose another danger. In order to keep the tree fresh through the holidays, trees are placed inside a water bowl. Bacteria and molds grow inside the water, as well as fertilizers coming from the tree. A few laps of water by your dog can cause extreme sickness.

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    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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