Pets Holiday Plants

Plants are a nice way to bring color and holiday cheer to your home, but did you know many of these festive additions can be dangerous to your pet’s health? Here are five popular plants that could potentially make your dog or cat’s holiday season blue.


  1. Pine needles: Pine needles from real or artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, and other decorations are considered to be mildly toxic. The fir tree oils and sap can cause skin irritation, nausea and vomiting. However the greatest cause for concern is that pine needles could puncture the intestines or stomach lining when swallowed. We wouldn’t go so far as to advise against real trees in the house, but be sure to clean up fallen needles and be aware of how your pet is behaving with pine needles.
  2. Mistletoe: Considered being mild to moderately poisonous, the American mistletoe is less toxic than the European varieties. When accidentally ingested by our pets, mistletoe poisoning can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If large amounts are ingested, symptoms include abnormal heart rate, collapse, low blood pressure, seizures, and could cause death.
  3. Amaryllis: The Amaryllis is a part of the large Liliacea family but are not considered as toxic as the more common lilies such as the Easter or Day lily. However, when the leaves, stems, and bulbs of this flower are consumed, vomiting, a drop in blood pressure, and respiratory problems can occur. Excess ingestion of the bulbs in particular can lead to excess salivation, abdominal pain, and convulsions.
  4. Holly: The effect of holly on pets is similar to that of caffeine and chocolate. Common signs to watch for include lip smacking, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. All parts of the holly plant pose a problem for your furry friends including the berries, spiny leaves, bark, and seeds.
  5. Poinsettia: While only mildly toxic, poinsettias can be poisonous to dogs, cats, horses, cows, and birds. Drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea may occur if consumed. Skin irritation including redness, itching, and swelling are signs that your pet’s skin has been exposed to the milky sap of the poinsettia.


Most of these holiday plants only pose a mild to moderate poison threat. However, if you suspect your pet has ingested one of them or is showing signs of poisoning, seek immediate veterinary attention. Here’s hoping your holidays are healthy and happy.

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