Is White Spruce (Picea glauca) Toxic to Dogs?

Is white spruce toxic to dogs?     What is white spruce     Care     Christmas tree safety     Christmas plants toxic and non-toxic to dogs

Is white spruce toxic to dogs?

White spruce (Picea glauca) is non-toxic to dogs and is safe to keep in homes with pets as long as precautions are taken. Large ingestions of white spruce needles can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Related: Caring for a Christmas tree

What is white spruce?

FamilyPinaceae – Pine
Botanical namePicea glauca, Picea alba
Common namesWhite spruce, Black hills spruce, Canadian spruce
Popular cultivars‘Pendula’, ‘Echiniformis’, ‘Conica’, ‘Alberta grove’
Mature height15 x 5 metres
Needle retentionFair
ScentMild pine fragrance with a slight earthy tone
Native toNorth America
ToxicityNon-toxic to cats

White spruce (Picea glauca) is a coniferous evergreen native to the United States and Canada. The compact conical shape and short blue-green needles make white spruce a popular choice. The waxy needles have a waxy white coating (hence the name glauca, which means shimmering), and are quite sharp. As a plus, this is likely to deter dogs from chewing the tree.

White spruce is an important commercial tree in Canada, primarily grown for pulpwood.

Care

White spruce can grow indoors or in the garden, making a great windbreak and providing a habitat for birds. Grow in full sun to part shade and fertilise every 2 – 3 months during the active growing season.

Christmas tree safety

While white spruce is non-toxic, care must be taken in homes with pets.

  • Always switch off and unplug Christmas lights when you are not around to supervise your pet.
  • Secure the tree to a wall using fishing wire to prevent it from being knocked over.
  • Do not place edible decorations on the tree.
  • Avoid the use of angel hair tinsel, the long threads can cause telescoping of the intestines if ingested.
  • Be careful with water preservers which are toxic to dogs. If you do use them, ensure that the water dish is properly covered to stop dogs from drinking from it.
  • Place breakable decorations high on the tree and non-breakables at the bottom.
  • Do not use decorations or lights which use button batteries which are deadly if ingested. Button batteries are not only a choking hazard but can burn a hole in the esophagus by isothermic hydrolysis.

Christmas plants toxic and non-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