Are Conifer Cones Pet Friendly?

Pet Check blog - Cones

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Do you pick up the weird shape conifer tree cones when out dog walking?

Your dog may have picked some of the dried spikey wooden shaped cones that fall to the ground when you are out walking and even bring them home.

PET CHECK BLOG - No. 10 Downing Street Christmas Door Wreath

Wreaths are just one of the many ways conifer cones are used

Are Cones Safe For Dogs Cats And Pets?

The answer is simple – yes and no!

Autumn, Winter and Spring sees the weird shaped wooden cones fall to the forest floors around the 800 or so different conifer tree species grown.

They range in all kinds of sizes from tiny 1″ length to an enormous whopping California variety of cone measuring a staggering12″ and more.

Cones have been picked up for centuries and used for all kind of manner of things and more recently as authentic festive natural decorations being used with the likes of dried orange peel, ivy, mistletoe and holly, moss, paper ribbons, other seasonal foliage, dried flowers to decorate our homes in the colder months and for festivities.

For those living in the countryside, cones are often put into open fireplaces, used as kindling, being so brittle and dry they help to light up natural open fires.

The conifer female cones fall from the trees after two years growth when their hardwork of reproducing saplings is done falling onto the ground below, where they are often spikey and brittle looking compared to their more tightly wrapped profile when growing on the trees.

Female cones growing on a conifer

Check out CountryFile magazine for more information on how to identify the cones growing in the UK.

Cones are not poisonous to your pet but their awkward shape can be perilous. Once your dog starts chewing into the cone, pieces can easily pierce their mouth blocking their throat and intestines and this is the major reason why vets prefer dog owners to discourage playing and chewing with these items. The same is applied to cats, and of course, rabbits.

What’s The Difference Between Pine Cones And Conifers?

Pine trees and cones are a type of conifer tree, as our spruce and fir. These are the largest group of trees bearing cones and the most popular trees used for the Christmas Tree market in the UK.

Don’t mistake acorns for smaller cones which are highly toxic. Read more.

Pet Check blog - Cones used in festive decorations

How cones are used

  • Fire wood kindling
  • Wreaths especially at Christmas time
  • Painted and glittered and used as Christmas tree decorations
  • Mantel piece garland decorations
  • Covered with essential oils and displayed in bowls around the home

Take time to ensure your pet cannot access any cones left lying around the home to avoid any vet emergencies. Keep cone decorations out of pet’s reach.

A fire guard is essential placed in front of a lit and unlit fire in a pet home where pets cannot try and remove any cones from a ready made – soon to be lit – fire.

What is a conifer tree?

Conifers. The word ‘conifer’ is Latin for ‘cone bearing’ because conifers produce cones within which they produce pollen (male cone) and grow seeds (female cone). Conifers are all woody plants, mostly trees plus a few shrubby species, they have either needle-like or scale-like leaves and most species are evergreen.


Check out CountryFile magazine for more information on how to identify the cones growing in the UK.

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