Choosing Your Pet-Friendly Christmas Tree

PET CHECK BLOG - Dog by Christmas Tree

\\\ Pet Christmas

Have You Chosen Your Pet-Friendly Christmas Tree?

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

More than 6 million homes will be decorated with a real Christmas tree and 8 in 10 Christmas trees are from the Nordman Fir variety. About 3 million trees are imported so buying British firs can help the carbon footprint, like 10 Downing Street, London, the Prime Ministers residence, who finished decorating their tree grown in Yorkshire.

10 Downing Street, London with Christmas Tree
No 10 Downing Street – Image Courtesy Daily Mail

So What Makes A Pet-Friendly Tree?

We have more than an estimated 12 million dogs and 12 million cats living in our UK homes and now, an estimated 300,000 plus indoor rabbits all using our home facilities. We have to take extra care when there’s 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 A&Es, many with ‘Christmas’ related injuries according to Vets Now.

Rabbits 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 Nordmann fir and blue spruce have now started to overtake 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 for many years.

Norway Spruce - Christmas Tree
Norway Spruce – Now declining in popularity

Where can you buy Nordmann Firs and Blue Spruce?

Most independant good garden centres offer quality Nordmann Firs and Blue Spruce trees. UK Nationwide Wickes stock Nordman trees and Mid-Sussex Weald growers, Send Me A Christmas Tree. There’s a choice to buy either cut trees or in a pot trying to then preserve the tree during the rest of the year and use the following year, or even planting out in the garden.

The Blue spruce is a blueish colour particularly at its most vibrant colour during spring and renowned for being hardy surviving British winters if planted outside, available from a number of stockists including Christmas Trees Direct.

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

Blue spruce tree
Blue spruce – Image courtesy Christmas Trees Direct

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

Real Christmas trees have to be kept upright in place and special holders are available to buy.

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 Tree

Pets love to help, joining in dressing the tree and it’s a great idea to exclude them, with many becoming tangled up and chewing Christmas decorations, including the electrical fairy lights with the possibility of getting electrical shocks, and accessories before you have the chance to hang them on the tree.

Using shatterproof baubles are the best way to avoid accidents. Cats notoriously bring Christmas trees crashing down each year, by playing with the new, delightful, glittering lower level hanging baubles. You’ll hear an almighty crash and cats are seen running away from the scene of their crime! They can injure themselves when trees topple and dogs will just forage and chew anything insight including the tree branches, whether real or artificial.

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.

Sellers advise customers to stand 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.

Dog by Christmas tree

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.

Other real vegetation used in Christmas decorations such as holly, ivy mistletoe and lilies all have varying degrees of being poisonous to your pets.

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

You can read more about having a Pet-Friendly Christmas

\\\ Images courtesy freepik unless otherwise stated Disclaimer

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