Is Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) Toxic to Dogs?

Blue spruce (Picea pungens) is non-toxic to dogs and is safe to keep in homes or gardens as long as precautions are taken to keep household pets safe.

What is blue spruce?

FamilyPinaceae
Botanical namePicea pungens
Common namesHickory pine, White spruce, Green spruce, Silver spruce, Colorado spruce
Mature height20 – 25 metres (65 – 82 feet)
Needle retentionExcellent needle retention
ScentPine and evergreen
Native toNorth America
ToxicityNon-toxic

Blue spruce (Picea pungens) is a slow-growing, compact evergreen conifer native to North America. The shape of blue spruce is pyramidal, with short, somewhat prickly, stunning silvery-blue needles making it one of the most popular Christmas trees.

In the farm, blue spruce makes an effective windbreak and nesting site for wildlife and is widely cultivated as an ornamental in the home garden. The fast-burning wood makes it ideal for kindling.

This easy-to-care-for tree prefers full sun, and moist, well-drained soil. Fertilise with a nitrogen fertiliser once a year.

Related: Caring for a Christmas tree

Safety

While blue spruce is classed as non-toxic to dogs, there are still risks associated with keeping Christmas trees in homes with dogs. The following safety precautions should always be followed.

  • Do not add additives or aspirin to the tree stand as both are toxic to dogs.
  • Invest in a sturdy tree stand and always secure the Christmas tree to the wall or ceiling with fishing line to prevent it from falling over.
  • Hang breakable decorations high up on the tree.
  • Do not hang food on Christmas trees, especially chocolate which is toxic to dogs.
  • Use solar lights on the tree or unplug electric lights from the socket when there is nobody around to supervise dogs.
  • Avoid using tinsel that can be swallowed and form a blockage or telescoping of the intestines. Telescoping of the intestines (intussusception) is a serious condition that occurs when one end of the tinsel becomes lodged, usually under the tongue, while the free end travels down the GI tract. The GI tract creeps up the tinsel, causing them to telescope in on themselves.

Toxicity of Christmas trees

Common name

Scientific name

Toxicity level

Norway sprucePicea abiesNon-toxic
Blue sprucePicea pungensNon-toxic
Serbian sprucePicea omorikaNon-toxic
White sprucePicea glaucaNon-toxic
Nordmann firAbies nordmannianaNon-toxic
Fraser firAbies fraseriNon-toxic
Douglas firPseudotsuga menziesiiNon-toxic
Noble firAbies proceraNon-toxic
Balsam firAbies balsameaNon-toxic
Grand firAbies grandisNon-toxic
Scotch pinePinus sylvestrisNo information available
White pinePinus strobusNo information available
Virginian pinePinus virginianaToxic
Norfolk Island pine, house pineAraucaria heterophyllaNon-toxic