Christmas tree: Expert shares advice on caring for trees

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Christmas trees can be found in most homes at this time of year, often decorated to the nines with baubles, tinsel and sparkly lights. However, many pet owners don’t realise Christmas trees and other festive plants are actually toxic to dogs.

If you’re a dog owner, it’s important to know that some of the most popular festive plants in your home could actually be poisonous.

Florists at leading delivery service 123 Flowers have revealed the Christmas plants that can be harmful to pets – and what to choose instead.

Alex Biggart, an expert at 123 Flowers who curates flowers and seasonal plants for gifting said: “Christmas is a great time to get creative with different foliage and we love to see seasonal blooms all around the house.

“But if you’re a pet owner you’ll need to be aware that some varieties can be toxic to dogs.”

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Christmas trees

Whether Christmas trees are suitable for dogs depends on the variety of tree.

Oils from the needles of fir trees can irritate a dog’s stomach and lead to sickness, and can also irritate the mouth.

Alex said: “To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to keep the needles of Christmas trees away from pets.

“That’s often easier said than done, but there are alternatives available such as faux trees or mini varieties that can be placed high up and out of reach of your furry friends.”

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The red berries of the classic festive Holly bush can cause sickness, diarrhoea and lethargy if ingested by pets.

Holly’s spikey leaves may also want to be avoided around the home as this can also cause harm to your pet.

Alex said: “While fresh Holly can be toxic to dogs, faux alternatives are available that look great and don’t carry the same risks.”


Everyone loves the historical gesture surrounding mistletoe which represents romance, fertility and vitality.

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Hanging mistletoe from ceilings or in doorways can give festive displays a romantic touch, with lovers traditionally sharing a kiss under the seasonal plant.

However, the plant can be dangerous to dogs, according to the experts. The plant’s pretty berries are poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and confusion, among other symptoms.


This beloved Christmas plant can be found in most homes at this time of year. It’s known for its red bracts and green leaves.

However, the sap of the plant can cause problems for dogs like sickness, excessive drooling and diarrhoea.

Instead, Alex suggested opting for red roses. He said: “A good alternative to a poinsettia would be a rose plant. Red roses are often associated with Valentine’s Day but they can equally form a great focal point for a festive display, especially in a seasonal shade.”

Poinsettias can also cause a reaction in people with latex allergies as the plant is from the same family as the rubber tree.

Symptoms include:

  • skin redness or hives
  • itchy skin
  • itchy eyes
  • nasal drainage
  • sneezing
  • throat irritation
  • asthma.


Ivy is known for being poisonous especially if ingested by dogs. Alex said: “Variations of ivy are popular in many Christmas decorations including wreaths.

“While the climbing plant looks great, it can cause skin irritation and poorly tummies for dogs.”

  • skin redness or hives.
  • itchy skin.
  • itchy eyes.
  • nasal drainage.
  • sneezing.
  • throat irritation.
  • asthma.

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