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?

Family Pinaceae – Pine
Botanical name Pseudotsuga menziesii
Common names Douglas fir, Oregon fir, Oregon pine, Oregon, Green Douglas fir,
Blue Douglas fir, Red pine, Columbian pine, Common Douglas, Coast Douglas-fir
Mature height 70 – 300 feet (21-91 metres)
Needle retention Excellent
Scent Citrus
Native to Western North America
Toxicity Non-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


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 spruce Picea abies Non-toxic
Blue spruce Picea pungens Non-toxic
Serbian spruce Picea omorika Non-toxic
White spruce Picea glauca Non-toxic
Nordmann fir Abies nordmanniana Non-toxic
Fraser fir Abies fraseri Non-toxic
Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii Non-toxic
Noble fir Abies procera Non-toxic
Balsam fir Abies balsamea Non-toxic
Grand fir Abies grandis Non-toxic
Scotch pine Pinus sylvestris No information available
White pine Pinus strobus No information available
Virginian pine Pinus virginiana Toxic
Norfolk Island pine, house pine Araucaria heterophylla Non-toxic