Are Christmas trees safe for rabbits?

We’ve been contacted a few times regarding a post that suggested giving old Christmas trees to bunnies. We have this update from Richard:

“While chewing on the bark wont necessarily do rabbits any harm (unless it has been treated with fire retardants etc), we do not recommend allowing access to Christmas Trees for rabbits. The main danger is that rabbits are very keen to chew through electrical cables and wires, so lights on the tree are an especial worry, but even after taking down the decorations, dangers range from mild (pigments changing the urine colouration to dark or reddish, mimicking urinary tract bleeding) to severe (overconsumption of leaves causing gut problems which can lead to death)”Having said that, the toxicity of pine resins and poinsettias has been overstated in the past ( and the main concern is gastrointestinal upset from eating these new foods.If your Christmas tree has not been treated (with fire retardent, pesticides, etc) or painted, then it should be safe to chew. Note that natural chemical compounds in some evergreens may cause the bunny’s urine to turn more orange than usual, but this is not a health concern.”

Richard Saunders RCVS Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (Mammalian); European Specialist in Zoological Medicine (ZHM); RWAF Veterinary Specialist Adviser