5 Holiday Plants Poisonous to Dogs & Cats
Live greenery and festive plants can add to your enjoyment of the holiday season. You may even get a plant or floral arrangement as a gift. Although beautiful, these decorations and gifts may be harmful to your pet.
Before bringing anything into your home, it’s important to know which popular holiday plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. Some aren’t as toxic as people believe, but others pose severe risk to your pet’s health.
Which Holiday Plants are Toxic to Dogs & Cats?
1. Pine Christmas Trees
If you prefer a live tree for your Christmas celebration, opt for a fir or spruce over pine. Pine trees aren’t toxic to dogs, but they can be to cats and can cause liver damage and even death.
Regardless of tree type, pick up any fallen needles. If ingested, these needles could damage your pet’s internal organs. Also keep the tree stand covered so pets don’t drink the water, which could contain harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
These festive plants have a bad reputation, but are poinsettias really poisonous to dogs and cats? The truth is the poinsettia’s leaves produce a sap that can irritate your dog or cat’s mouth and esophagus.
If ingested, your pet may experience nausea or vomiting. They would need to ingest a significant amount to cause a more serious reaction, though. Most pets won’t consume more than a little because of the irritation it causes.
3. Holly & Mistletoe
The holidays don’t feel complete without holly decking the halls or a smooch under mistletoe. If you have pets, however, it’s best to go the artificial route with these plants. Holly leaves and berries can cause vomiting, drooling and abdominal pain.
When pets ingest small amounts of mistletoe, it can cause similar reactions to holly. In larger amounts, more severe reactions may occur, like a drop in blood pressure and heart rate, breathing problems, seizures and death.
Lilies are often used in holiday floral arrangements. Although not toxic to dogs, lilies can be dangerous for cats. They can cause reactions ranging from intestinal issues to arrhythmia and may even lead to kidney failure.
Azaleas also frequently appear in holiday bouquets and floral arrangements. These festive flowers can be toxic to both dogs and cats and may cause diarrhea and vomiting, overall weakness and even cardiac failure.
What If Your Pet Ingests a Plant Toxic to Dogs & Cats?
The best way to keep your pets safe is to avoid bringing plants dangerous to dogs and cats into your home at all. If you do bring them into your home, keep them well out of reach. If you suspect your dog or cat ingested any amount of a toxic plant, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. You can also contact the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435.
Explore other pet safety tips for the holidays to find out which decorations and other festive items pose a risk. To get tips and advice from our experts for the rest of the season and beyond, click here.