Is Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Toxic to Dogs?

What is Douglas fir?    Safety   Are Christmas trees toxic to dogs?

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is non-toxic to dogs and is safe to keep in homes with pets with care.

What is Douglas fir?

FamilyPinaceae – Pine
Botanical namePseudotsuga menziesii
Common namesDouglas fir, Oregon fir, Oregon pine, Oregon, Green Douglas fir,
Blue Douglas fir, Red pine, Columbian pine, Common Douglas, Coast Douglas-fir
Mature height70 – 300 feet (21-91 metres)
Needle retentionExcellent
ScentCitrus
Native toWestern North America
ToxicityNon-toxic to dogs

Douglas fir is a medium to fast-growing evergreen conifer native to the western region of North America. The delicate citrus scent, thick, soft needles, pyramidal shape and strong branches make it an ideal Christmas tree.

The Douglas fir gets its name from Scottish botanist David Douglas who sent the first seed back to Britain in 1827. The botanical name Pseudotsuga menziesii is named after Archibald Menzies, who discovered the tree in 1791.

Related: Caring for a Christmas tree

Safety

Keeping dogs safe around Christmas trees

While Douglas fir is non-toxic to dogs, Christmas trees and decorations can still pose a hazard to curious pets.

  • Commercial Christmas tree preservers contain fertilisers, fungicides and sugar which may cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset if ingested. Homemade preservers typically contain bleach or aspirin, both of which are toxic to dogs. The National Christmas Tree Association recommends water only for Christmas trees . Change every 1 – 2 days to prevent a build-up of bacteria in the water.
  • Avoid angel hair or lametta tinsel which can cause a telescoping of the intestines if ingested. One end of the tinsel can become lodged under the tongue, while the peristalsis (wave-like contractions) propel the free end along the GI tract. Because one end is lodged under the tongue, the GI tract creeps up the trailing part where it folds in on itself causing damage or death to the tissues.
  • Securely anchor the Christmas tree to a wall by attaching a strong hook to the wall, wrap fine gauge wire, or strong fishing around the trunk of the tree and secure the loose ends to the wall hook.
  • Place breakable ornaments high up on the tree to prevent dogs or cats from knocking them off.
  • Unplug Christmas tree lights at the wall when there is nobody around to supervise.

Are Christmas trees toxic to dogs?

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