The holidays are a joyous time for families and friends. No doubt dogs pick up on the holiday spirit as well. There are more people for dogs to socialize with and new, intriguing holiday scents.
There might even be a package of dog treats wrapped up for them. To make sure you and your dog enjoy a stress-free holiday, there are some holiday safety tips for pets to keep in mind. Among them is knowing which holiday plants are poisonous to dogs.
Which Holiday Plants Are Toxic to Dogs?
“Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs?” The answer is yes. Considering how popular this bright red flowering plant is during the holidays, this answer can certainly dampen the holiday spirit.
Even though they look harmless, poinsettias contain a milky white sap within their leaves that is mildly toxic for dogs. This sap can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms. If a dog ingests poinsettias, symptoms can include irritation to a dog’s mouth or esophagus, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
If you have your heart set on decorating your house with poinsettias over the holiday months, keep them somewhere out of your dog’s reach.
Decking the halls with boughs of holly is a classic holiday tradition—unless you have a dog. If they fall off the plant onto the ground, the berries from the holly plant may look like a tempting treat for your dog. Unfortunately, they are anything but.
Holly berries contain chemicals that are toxic to dogs. The result of a dog swallowing these chemicals is the potential for extreme gastrointestinal distress resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. Further, the spiny leaves from the holly plant can cause injury to your dog’s mouth and digestive tract if swallowed.
Fortunately, there is artificial holly, so you can still deck the halls.
Another plant that’s ubiquitous over the holidays is mistletoe. Dog owners can still kiss under the mistletoe, but it’s imperative to choose an artificial option because many types of mistletoe can have severe consequences for dogs who ingest them.
Toxins found within mistletoe plants can cause stomach upset like abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, drooling, dramatic drops in blood pressure and heart rate, seizures and even death.
Add lilies to the list of poisonous houseplants for pets. While they’re a beautiful holiday decoration, lilies should stay somewhere a dog can’t get to them. Also, there are plenty of alternatives dog owners can choose instead.
Many types of lilies can harm your dog, including, but not limited to, lily of the valley, peace lily, prairie lily and calla lily. Lily intoxication in dogs can take the form of mouth irritation, excessive drooling, decreased appetite, difficulty swallowing, gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, reduced heart rate and potentially death.
Azaleas are a staple in holiday bouquets and arrangements, so dog owners should take extra care when ordering or receiving them as a gift. Also known as rosebay or rhododendron, virtually every part of this plant can be harmful to a dog if they ingest them.
Azaleas have grayanotoxins, a group of neurotoxins that can affect sodium channels within a dog’s body. Ingestion can lead to symptoms like drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, abnormal heart rate, coma and death.
Along with keeping your dog away from these five plants, also make sure to cover the tree stand so your dog won’t drink the water. The water inside the plant stand could contain harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
What if Your Dog Ingests a Poisonous Plant?
The best way to keep your pet safe is to avoid bringing plants dangerous to dogs into your home at all. If you do bring them into your home, keep them well out of reach.
If you suspect your dog has ingested any amount of a toxic plant, call your veterinarian immediately. 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 more information and advice from our pet experts, visit our Pet Expertise page.