6 Christmas Plants That Are Toxic For Cats And Dogs


The festive season brings many new dangers for cats and dogs, with plants that usually wouldn't be in your home being a very common one. Our gorgeous decorations are all too tempting to play with (or eat), but many of these plants are toxic for them.

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To put your mind at ease, we've put together a list of some plants commonly used as decorations around Christmas that could be dangerous for your pet. Hopefully our advice will make sure that the most wonderful time of the year stays that way!

1.  Christmas trees

The star of the holiday season, Christmas trees can pose a danger to your pet because of their needles. If your pet manages to swallow any, they could irritate, block or even puncture their digestive system.

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If you have a real tree rather than a fake one, make sure to vacuum regularly to keep any fallen needles off the floor.

2. Poinsettias, or Christmas Stars

A very popular decorative plant at Christmas because of their pretty, brightly colored leaves, poinsettias can give cats and dogs digestive problems and irritate their skin.

Source: Animogen

Sap in poinsettia leaves is mildly toxic to pets (and children) and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling and nausea. In rare cases it can be fatal, but this is usually in young, elderly or dehydrated cats. Most pets don't eat nearly enough of the plant for this to happen.

3. Mistletoe

If you buy mistletoe for your new year celebrations, be careful to put it up securely and out of your pet's reach since this plant's berries are poisonous. They contain toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin, which can cause digestive and nervous issues, nausea and skin irritation.

Source: The Spruce

Just small amounts of mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, seizures and dizziness. Larger quantities can cause comas and death.

4. Holly

Holly, like mistletoe, is an iconic but dangerous plant to have around dogs and cats because of the toxins in its berries. The leaves can obviously cause quite the shock to a curious pet, but won't cause lots of damage unless they're eaten.

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Holly berries rarely kill animals who eat them, but can still cause them a large amount of pain and discomfort. Holly berry poisoning can make your pet throw up and drool a lot, as well as irritate their mouth. In bad cases it can cause co-ordination problems (drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, convulsions).

5. Christmas roses, or hellebore

This white flower blooms in winter and often decorates homes at Christmas. However, just like poinsettias, it is best to keep it out of reach of animals, especially cats.

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This plant is particularly toxic, to humans as well as our furry friends. If your cat eats it then they may suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and paralysis.

6. Amaryllis

This flower also blooms in winter and is used by florists in festive bouquets. Yet again, an over-inquisitive cat might lose one of their nine lives if they manage to eat its leaves, petals or part of its bulb.

Source: Peter Hasselbom

As for poinsettia or hellebore this will result in digestive and nervous problems, and possibly cardiovascular disorders.If your pet manages to poison themselves despite your precautions, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. If possible, take some of the plant they ate so that they can be sure that they are giving them the right treatment.Ideally, you should be at the vet's within two hours of your pet being poisoned. While waiting for your appointment, make sure that your cat or dog drinks plenty of water to avoid dehydration. This could happen if they have been throwing up or have diarrhea.During the holiday season, be very careful, as there are other dangers for your pet. Similarly, the plants listed here are not the only houseplants that are toxic for dogs and cats.

Cover Image: otisandjr/Instagram

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At Holidog, we aim to improve the lives of your furry friends. Enjoy your holidays with peace of mind, knowing your pet is in great hands (find a petsitter near you) and spoil them with our monthly subscription box filled with yummy treats and toys (get your free box here). You can count on us!