Choosing Your Pet-Friendly Christmas Tree

PET CHECK BLOG - Dog by Christmas Tree

\\\ Pet Christmas

\\\ Updated 6 December 2021

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Have You Chosen Your Pet-Friendly Christmas Tree?

Do you leave buying your Christmas tree to the last minute and head down to the supermarket only to find the biggest and best have long gone, and the sellers haven’t got a clue what’s best for your pet-friendly household?

Christmas planning starts with your Christmas tree

Place an order with your local supplier in advance for a dog-friendly, cat-friendly, pet-friendly tree.

Never gave it a thought that there are GOOD Christmas trees and BAD Christmas trees for pet-friendly households? Read on.

PET CHECK BLOG Christmas Tree 2021 10 Downing Street

Image of 2021, Christmas tree at the Prime Ministers Residence, No 10 Downing Street.

PET CHECK BLOG - 10 Downing Street, London with Christmas Tree

The image above 2020, being prepared at No 10 Downing Street.

Christmas trees are an important UK tradition, part of the festivities celebrated during December, introduced into the UK by Prince Albert during the 1840s, with many Victorian Christmas traditions the UK still follow today, decorating Christmas trees being one of our nation’s favourites. Read more at Britannica which provides the history of the Christmas tree.

About 3 million trees are imported so buying British firs can help the carbon footprint, as the image of 10 Downing Street, London, the Prime Minister’s residence, 2020, who finished decorating their tree grown in Yorkshire. You can see how the Combe family sent the tree down to London to No 10, Downing Street, London.

More than 6 million homes will be decorated with a real Christmas tree and 8 in 10 Christmas trees are from the Nordmann fir variety. 3 million trees are imported so buying a British fir can help the carbon footprint .

What Makes A Pet-Friendly Tree?

The UK has more than an estimated 12 million dogs and 12 million cats living in homes, additionally an estimated 300,000 plus indoor pet rabbits using our home facilities. Pet owners have to take extra care when there are pets around and that includes buying the best pet-friendly tree possible as trees notoriously drop their sharp pine needles which can hurt paws, cut pet mouths, and puncture their stomach intestinal linings.

Vets report that December is ’emergency month’ seeing a rise of an estimated 30% of pets and their owners in their animal veterinary A&Es, many with Christmas-related injuries, according to Vets Now.

Pet rabbits, fortunately, can eat pine needles in moderation, but trees generally have not been grown organically, pesticides used during growth, which is poisonous to your pets. The oils from the sharp needles can be poisonous too, where dogs and cats will show the usual first signs of toxicity being drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The 3 UK Best Selling Christmas Trees

The Nordmann fir and Blue spruce have overtaken the Norway spruce in UK sales, being non-drop needle trees and the Noble fir and Fraser fir trees are particularly popular in the US.

Needles will eventually start dropping from these trees as they dry out after being cut, but less likely and more slowly than the Norway spruce which has been a UK firm favourite of pet owners for many years.

Blue Spruce

Nordmann Fir

Where can you buy Nordmann firs and Blue spruce?

Most independent good garden centres offer quality Nordmann firs and Blue spruce trees. During late November deliveries arrive at these centres but are great sellers and you’ll find that leaving it to 2-3 weeks before Christmas Day, which many householders do, the trees have sold out.

To get the best selection and expert advice helping pet owners buy the right quality British grown Christmas trees, visit the BCTGA website, an invaluable resource providing you with all the UK’s local Christmas tree grower’s information.

Having driven down the M23 – A23 from London to Brighton for decades, between Gatwick Airport and Hurstpierpoint, East Sussex, UK, you would think you’ve been transported into Nordic forestland any time of the year, where there are miles beyond miles of fir trees grown for Christmas. This wonderful site is replicated all over England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, where Christmas tree forests are grown to meet the UK’s retail needs.

One of the companies, Mid-Sussex Weald growers, Send Me A Christmas Tree, provide choices for buyers, either cut Christmas trees or trees purchased in a large pot container, trying to preserve the tree for buyers, during the rest of the year, where buyers can recycle and re-use each year for Christmas avoiding a single-use tree. Alternatively, the tree can be planted out in the garden.

Buying a tree in a pot can be a great alternative and help the enormous global sustainability issues, trying to preserve the tree growth longer, than just using it for decoration purposes, for one Christmas festival.

Forestry England provides detailed information about their sustainably grown Christmas trees and where you can buy them.

The Blue spruce derives its name from the blueish colour particularly at its most vibrant colour during spring and is renowned for being hardy surviving British winters, when planted outside.

The Norway spruce Christmas tree sales are now in decline.

Real cut Christmas trees have to be kept upright in place and special holders appeared in the marketplace about 25 years or so ago, as an additional purchase, to help keep the tree upright and stable.

Artificial Christmas trees became increasingly popular during the early 1960s, and have advanced in style, however, even these are prone to pets gnawing and chewing their fake plastic pine needles.

There’s no simple answer as to which type of tree is best to buy, whether you choose a real or artificial tree, both will be greatly celebrated at home decorated with hanging ornaments.


Decorating your home at Christmas

Real vegetation used in Christmas decorations such as holly, ivy, mistletoe, and Lilies, all has varying degrees of being poisonous to your pets, as the featured images below. Note that Lilies are particularly deadly to cats any time of the year.

Position as high up as possible, out of the reach of your pets, and take care to pick up and berries that may drop as the cut foliage begins to die.

If you’re using ribbons read our blog about the care you need to take.


Decorating Your Tree

Pets love to help, joining in, dressing the tree and it’s a great idea to exclude them, with many pets becoming tangled up and chewing Christmas decorations, kittens and cats particularly playing with all the hanging balls and puppies and dogs accidentally chewing the electrical fairy lights with the possibility of getting electrical shocks. One can end up with many broken Christmas ornaments and accessories before you have the chance to even hang them on the tree.

After a ‘pet accident,’ one learns to position the Christmas tree a little more safely, not just thinking about your interior design theme but how pets can access it, blocking their access where possible.

choose shatterproof decorations

and no chocolate baubles or treats!

Sellers advise customers to stand cut Christmas trees in a bowl of water to prolong their life. Unfortunately, pets may try to drink this which can upset them as pesticides and other preservatives can leak out of the base of the tree into the water so it’s best to keep the bowl covered to avoid accidents. Buying a tree in a pot can really be a great alternative for pet owners.

Always clear up the mess caused by accidents including broken baubles, as these can cut pet paws. Sweep-up dropping pine needles is important, becoming more frequent with time, due to our centrally heated homes that dry out our real Christmas trees.

Don’t forget to store your gifts safely, not under the tree, but securely until the last minute as dogs and cats love snooping, and particularly the chocolate and alcohol smells which both are dangerous for your pets to ingest.

The underlying design tips are to position your tree safely out of your pet’s way and never leave a pet unattended in a Christmas decorated room as this may save you lots of your wasted time and effort clearing up the mess and possible queuing up at the Christmas Vets A&E!

\\\ Buy British

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association

PET CHECK BLOG - Christmas - BCTGA-Logo

To help pet owners buy the right quality British Christmas trees, visit the BCTGA website, an invaluable resource providing you with all your local Christmas tree growers. Get your order in early.


How do you recycle Christmas trees?

‘Real’ trees are recyclable. Artificial trees have too many different materials and cannot be recycled at a local recycling waste plant.

Artificial Trees

If your tree is in reasonable condition, do donate to a charity shop. Simply google yell’ and tap in a search for your preferred charity and a number of listings are likely to pop up.

Real Christmas Trees

Check your local council website who organises areas in the locality, often near parks, where trees can be left after Christmas and will be shredded into chippings which the council re-use in parks and woodlands.

Remember to remove all tinsel and decorations and any pots or stands.


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