6 Holiday Plants that are Toxic to Pets

As you decorate your home for the holidays, be aware that some traditional and popular plants this time of year can be dangerous to cats and dogs. Understanding what is toxic and what is not helps bring home the festive spirit while avoiding danger for pets. These tips from the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, ensure everyone remains safe and healthy all season long.

One of the most popular holiday plants often considered poisonous are poinsettias. But in fact, they are “non” to “mildly” toxic and do not deserve their bad reputation. Pets that ingest poinsettias generally have no clinical signs or gastrointestinal discomfort. A mild rash may develop if rubbed on the skin, but they are considered safe to keep in the home. However, we would still recommend keeping them out of pets’ reach if possible.

Christmas trees are also generally safe for pets. However, pine needles can cause damage to eyes such as a corneal laceration if pets should run into the tree. Should your companion animal ingest the sap produced by the tree, mild gastrointestinal discomfort may occur, but natural trees are generally non-toxic for cats and dogs.

Mistletoe, on the other hand, can be quite poisonous to pets. If ingested, pets may experience gastrointestinal upset, or show clinical signs of poisoning such as a change in mental function, difficulty breathing, or a low heart rate. Keep mistletoe out of paw’s reach, and if you see these symptoms in your pet and suspect or know they ingested mistletoe, seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.

Another holiday decorative plant, holly, can be dangerous for pets and is considered poisonous. Clinical symptoms may be displayed as vomiting, diarrhea, decreased energy, and general upset stomach. Caregivers should seek veterinary assistance if they suspect their pets of ingesting holly.

Amaryllis and daffodils are also considered poisonous for pets. If ingested, pets may vomit, appear depressed, or show signs of a painful abdomen and a loss of appetite. Some pets who consume amaryllis or daffodils display symptoms of tremors, a sign of severe toxicity. In this case, head to an animal ER right away.

Lilies are particularly toxic to cats. The ingestion of any part of any type of lily can lead to kidney failure. The clinical signs can include vomiting, depression, or loss of appetite. If you suspect your cat has ingested lilies, contact your veterinarian immediately. There is no antidote, and intense supportive care is needed for cats to recover.

The more toxic the plant, the more careful you should be with displaying them in your home. Pets should not be allowed to come in contact with poisonous holiday plants and they should always be kept out of reach.

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