Bright ornamental plants are a great way to decorate your home during the holidays and bring holiday cheer to a gloomy and dreary winter. However, if you’re a pet owner you should be aware that many of these colorful plants are poisonous to pets.
All pets are curious - but puppies and kittens are especially so and they may want to sample some of the new greens in your home. Since a deadly dose is size-dependent, puppies and kittens are most often at greatest risk for plant poisonings.
Toxicity can be mild to severe, because how much your pet consumes determines how sick it may become. In general, gastrointestinal upset is typically seen - but if enough plant material is consumed, seizures, coma or even death can result.
Here’s what you need to know about holiday plants -
Many people associate the Poinsettia plant with extreme toxicity, but this is not entirely true. The sap of Poinsettias is mildly toxic and irritating and will probably cause nausea or vomiting in your pet if consumed, but not death. It is better to be cautious and keep your pet away from this plant.
Mistletoe and Holly
Mistletoe and Holly are considered moderately to severely toxic to pets, so you should call your veterinarian or poison control center immediately for specific advice if you suspect that your pet has ingested either of these plants.
Lilies and Daffodils
Plant bulb kits featuring Amaryllis, Narcissus and other plants in the lily and daffodil families are popular gift items over the holidays. These plants are very toxic for cats, and may cause severe symptoms of gastrointestinal signs, cardiac arrhythmias, kidney failure and convulsions leading to death. Daffodils are toxic to both dogs and cats, especially bulbs.
Last but not least, don’t forget about the Christmas tree itself! Fir tree oils can lead to gastric upset with drooling or vomiting. Fir tree needles are not easily digested and can cause gastric irritation, vomiting, obstruction and internal injuries.
In general, it always pays to keep an eye on your pets’ interest in your holiday plants. If you know your pet is curious and a nibbler, place toxic plants out of reach if possible. Also, it’s a good idea to regularly check seasonal ornamental plants for any signs of chewing or missing leaves.
With these things in mind, both you and your pet are sure to enjoy a fun and safe holiday season.