Protect Your Pets From Poisonous Plants Often Used in Holiday Decor

Plants like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets, even in small amounts

Protect Your Pets from Poisonous Winter Plants Popular in Holiday Decor
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December 11, 2018

We don't often think about the toxicity of indoor plants when we decorate during the holidays, but it's something you should be thinking about if you have pets. Many plants used in holiday decor, such as poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, are toxic to dogs, cats and other animals. If a curious pet ingests even a small amount of a toxic plant, your pet can become ill or even die.

Toxic Winter Plants

The following live plants should be kept on high shelves or in other locations inaccessible to pets:

  • Poinsettias: A holiday season favorite, the sap of the poinsettia plant can cause pets to vomit and will irritate the mouth and stomach.
  • Holly Berries: Both holly berries and the leaves of the holly plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and depression in pets.
  • Mistletoe: This Christmas staple is extremely toxic to pets. Any pet that ingests mistletoe should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
  • Pine Tree Needles: Pine needles from your Christmas tree or other decoration can cause a pet's mouth to become irritated and may also be toxic depending upon the variety of tree.
  • Lily: The lily is deadly for cats. Animals who ingest any part of this plant should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

Artificial May not look as good, but are safer

Do you have a cat that enjoys climbing and jumping or a dog that likes to chew and eat things it shouldn't? Consider artificial plants instead of the real thing to reduce the risk to your pet. While artificial plants don't always look as good as the real thing, they require no care and pose much less risk to curious pets. Nothing is without risk, but your pet is more likely to eat a live plant as opposed to an artificial plant.

Restrict the pet's Roaming space

Restricting a pet to specific rooms is a good idea if you have any toxic plant, or even if there are other holiday hazards. You should definitely consider restricting a pet's movements if you won't be home, even if certain plants are out of reach. Curious pets will often find a way to get to something they want, and some items, such as wreaths, can fall down to the floor and be very tempting.

Keep emergency vet info handy in case you need it in a hurry

Most businesses, including your regularly veterinarian's clinic, are closed during the holidays. You should look up the closest emergency veterinarian and have that information readily available in case you need it in a hurry. Keep the information in your phone, post it on the refrigerator, etc. These clinics cost a lot more than traditional clinics, but they are typically open 24 hours, even on holidays. If your pet has any unique medical needs, it's a good idea to get and keep a copy of all relevant medical records in case of an emergency.