Posted on July 17, 2014
Over the last few years I've had regular enquires from various people asking for my opinion on what woods are safe for them to prepare for their pet, one of the most common of the 'unusual' bunch is feijoa, I've only recently figured out why this is and as it is probably going to be an ongoing query I will post my thoughts here for everyone to see; as I’m sure a lot of people have the same question but don't ask.
Feijoa, classification A. sellowiana, is a sub-tropical evergreen of the Myrtaceae Genus, it is related to Myrtle and Eucalyptus among many others. It is a woody tree high in essential oils. Feijoa is native to Central America and is grown as a garden plant in New Zealand, Australia, and in a few places in Eastern Europe.
The most glaring issue from my perspective is the relatives; Myrtle is on the toxic list for pretty much every animal, Eucalyptus is generally considered okay for Australian birds though I've never seen them do much more than strip the bark off, Eucalyptus is NOT safe for small animals that will gnaw the wood (more to come on that in a later article).
Second issue; the wood is high in essential oils. Essential oils are what give a plant/wood its scent. Most are generally considered toxic if ingested and some essential oils can cause all manner of health problems to life forms sensitive to them; in the case of some people they only need to smell an essential oil to have a reaction to it.
And rounding off with the fact that Feijoa is not a native to countries/areas any small pet originates from I personally recommend keeping Feijoa firmly in the NOT SAFE category.