Everyone is now excited to set up their merry presents and Christmas decorations in the upcoming holiday season.
Of course, the famous Christmas tree inspired by a pine tree is a clear frontrunner. The pine tree brings delight and joy as decor and food consumable by humans to quite an extent.
Through its pine needles, people can make tea or include it even as an olive oil extract. Pine needles may be attractive for dogs to sniff, but does it also show that it’s suitable for their diet?
As a dog owner, you better watch out or better not cry. So, more than the gift of Santa, we dedicate this article to your dog’s diet on pine needles and the best, safe ways to prepare it for feeding.
What are Pine Needles?
Pine Needles are the leaves of pine trees. They are usually green but can be brown depending on the tree they came from.
The needles help protect the trunk and branches because when a predator tries to climb up it, their claws get stuck in between the needles.
Pine Needles are edible. The leaves can be consumed as a vegetable in various dishes, such as salads, soups, and even pesto. More often, pine needles can be used as tea.
In Greece, pine needles are used in a variety of dishes, including salads and soups. In Korea, they use the leaves to make tea, while some parts of Japan include them as part of their cuisine.
The needles have been known to treat several conditions such as swelling, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Food family of Pine Needles
The Conifer food family is where the pine needles belong. In essence, this family food has a high nutritional value and can be eaten raw, cooked, or even dried.
Pine trees, Cypress trees, Fir trees, and Spruce trees, to name a few, are the common trees under the Conifer family.
Some examples are White Cedar & Junipers, which are popular flavors found in tea today. This is because they have anti-inflammatory properties.
With that being in place, pine needles are suitable for human consumption through atea ingestion and cooking or baking.
So, does it mean you also have to include it in your dog’s diet?
Can dogs eat Pine Needles?
Yes, we confidently affirm that dogs can eat pine needles with proper preparation and manner of feeding.
Dogs can eat pine needles as a treat or snack. However, you have to avoid your dogs eating pine needles directly to its branch as it may cause damage to their mouth.
As long as pine needles are correctly harvested, dried, and grounded into powder form, your dogs can safely eat pine needles.
You also need to ensure that the trees used for this purpose come from non-toxic plants without pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
Consuming pesticide-treated pine needles is dangerous because it may lead your dog to suffer from poisoning.
So, get your pen and paper as we move forward, discussing the best ways to feed your dogs with pine needles and specific reasons why this food is good for feeding.
Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Pine Needles
Harvest pine needles properly.
Harvesting pine needles properly is the first step in feeding your dogs with pine needles. You can harvest them by cutting branches of trees that are between one and two years old.
Carefully detach the branch without causing damage to its twig, then cut it into small pieces before removing any excess bark at its bottom part.
Dry out the needles
Once the branches are harvested, you should then dry them out for at least 24 hours. This is to ensure that they can last longer and won’t rot quickly after prolonged storage.
The best way to do this is by hanging or placing it upside down on a rack until all moisture evaporates from its leaves before grinding into powder form.
Grind into powder form
The next step is to grind the needles into a fine yet not too thin consistency. This will allow your dog’s stomach to quickly absorb its nutrients without having to work hard for it.
After about one hour of grinding in an electric or manual grinder, you can transfer them to a jar and store them in a cool and dry place.
Properly feed your dog with pine needles to avoid any health issues.
If you use the powder form, then both of you should ensure that it is adequately stored to not allow for easy access by pets such as ants or other insects.
It will be best to transfer this powder into a small container with an airtight lid.
Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Pine Needles
To get a better understanding of why dogs can eat pine needles, we list down benefits and advantages below:
Best for medication
Pine needles are also known as an herbal remedy for various health conditions. For example, it helps treat urinary tract infections, skin wounds, diarrhea & vomiting, to name a few.
This food is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other essential trace elements that help regulate your dog’s metabolism at the same time.
This mineral is suitable for dogs with arthritis as it helps them cope with their physical condition while relieving aches & pains associated with inflammation of muscles or joints.
This is one advantage that makes pine needles the best dog treat because it has a negligible amount of calories which means your dogs can eat this without worrying about weight gain.
No need for cooking
Another advantage of pine needles as your dogs’ food is they do not require any cooking, unlike other vegetables or fruits that have to go through this process before giving it away to your pets.
Pine needles are highly recommended for dogs with sensitive stomachs because they do not contain any toxins or pesticide residues.
Rich in Vitamin C & E
As mentioned above, pine needles contain anti-inflammatory properties because they contain many vitamins such as Vitamin A and C, which are essential nutrients for your dog’s growth and development.
It also has antioxidants that help boost the immune system to fight off free radicals found in its body.
Possible Concerns When Eating Pine Needles
Yes, pine needles bring health benefits to every canine. However, this food also comes possible health concerns that may counter with your dog’s health:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD is caused when a dog’s immune system overreacts to a particular food.
This is the reason why their body cannot tolerate pine needles as a part of its meal because it can trigger an IBD attack on them, making them suffer from vomiting and diarrhea at some point.
Increase in Blood Pressure
Another possible concern when feeding your dogs with pine needles is that this food can cause an increase in their blood pressure.
This is more prevalent in smaller breeds because pine needles have a higher concentration of sodium that triggers the release of hormones which thickens the blood and increases its viscosity.
May Cause Allergic Reaction
As mentioned earlier, dogs with IBD should never eat pine needles as this food will only worsen their condition.
This is also true on dogs with allergies because pine needles are known to contain high amounts of the same toxins that trigger an allergic reaction in their body, leading to vomiting, itching, or even diarrhea.
Signs your dog is sick from eating Pine Needles
While the previous section elaborates on the long-term implications, here are some short-term yet recurring illnesses your dog may encounter:
Lethargic attitude, sleeping more than usual.
If your dog sleeps more than usual, then it is already suffering from lethargy. Lethargic dogs are always sleepy and have deficient energy levels making them less active than usual.
In this case, pine needles should be avoided as they can worsen their condition.
Trouble in breathing and vomiting blood
If your dog has trouble breathing and vomits blood, this means that they are already suffering from a severe health problem such as gastritis or gastrointestinal bleeding, which may lead them into shock.
In these cases, immediate medical attention should be done to avoid further complications.
Pale, light skin color and vomiting stool
These are the most common symptoms when dogs suffer from anemia or low red blood cell count, which is brought about by excessive blood loss due to persistent vomiting.
This also happens in cases where pine needles block their gastrointestinal tract, making them lose more nutrients than they can absorb.
What to do if your dog is sick from eating Pine Needles?
Don’t panic. And don’t try to give unprescribed medications to your dog to avoid further complications.
Avoid giving them any food for 24 hours to allow their gastrointestinal tract to recover from the damage it has suffered due to pine needles ingestion.
When your dog manifests recurring illnesses like vomiting or diarrhea, it is best to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The symptoms and signs mentioned above should not be taken lightly because they may lead to more severe health problems that can affect their life in the long run.
Avoid similar foods from this family.
Pinecone has a structure that is almost similar to pine needles. They both come from the same family called Pinaceae, which is why dogs that are allergic to one of these foods may also be allergic to the other food in this category.
These are the seeds of pine cones which means they have the same structure as their leaves or needles.
Dogs that cannot tolerate one food from this category should avoid eating other foods to prevent any health complications that may worsen their condition.
Dogs taking pine pollen have a higher tendency to have an allergic reaction. This is because pine pollen contains high concentrations of toxic substances that can trigger the immune system in dogs, leading them to vomit and itching when coming in contact with their skin or mucous membrane.
How to Make Pine Needles Safe To Eat
For the love of your dogs, we are grateful we’ve come to the last part of this article. Now, here are efficient ways to prepare a safe feeding of pine needles to your dogs:
Remove the pine bark and the leaves.
Carefully remove any pieces of bark and leave to make sure that you don’t include them in your dog’s dish.
The bark is where toxins are found, so removing it will already give a vast difference to your dogs’ health condition even if they still eat pine needles.
Soak them inside water overnight
Boil a pot of water, then turn off the heat. Let it cool down a bit before you include pine needles in it.
Allow them to sit inside the hot water overnight so toxins will be eliminated successfully during this time.
Include meat and vegetable broth
Ensuring that your dog’s dish is flavorful with nutrients from other ingredients is also advisable when adding pine needles to their diet.
For example, to make it more flavorful, you can add meat and vegetable broth before letting them eat the pine needle-infused food.
If you just knew that pine trees are edible, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even today, it’s still a fantastic fact that pine trees contribute as decor and provide foods consumable by humans.
From its pine nuts, bark, leaves, we are now focusing on how pine needles can be served to our beloved canine friends.
Going back to our question, we agreed that dogs could eat pine needles. As long as pine needles are correctly harvested, dried, and grounded into powder form, your dogs can safely eat pine needles.
To have pine needles safe for your dog’s consumption, you must remove the pine bark and leaves first, soak them with water overnight, and include meat and vegetable broth during feeding.
Pine needles have adverse effects on your dogs, such as the occurrence of inflammatory bowel disease, increase in blood pressure, and allergic reaction.
Therefore, as a rule of thumb, may you not prescribe any medicines unless you have consulted your vet.
We hope this article helps you. May the season of Christmas be in our hearts always!