The time of year has come for us to start getting ready for the holidays, whatever that might mean to you. No matter what holiday you celebrate or don’t, there are a quite a few household plants that have become normal for this time of year.
Yet, did you know that more than 700 plants are toxic to your pets? Some of these household holiday plants, if eaten by your dog or your cat, can do some serious harm to them and even bring about possible death. It all depends on how much of the plant your pet consumed and how they will react to it. If you suspect your pet has come in contact with a poisonous plant then you should call your vet or find a clinic.
Hopefully though, you will read through this blog post and educate yourself on what holiday plants are toxic for your animals. In the warmer months you can use your best battery powered weed eater to get rid of toxic plants in your yard but inside the home you need to be more proactive.
Contrary to what you might think, this common holiday plant isn’t as poisonous to pets as you might think. Falling under the category of mildly poisonous plants, poinsettias are toxic to cats, dogs, cows, birds, and horses. The toxic ingredient in this popular holiday plant is the diterpenoid euphorbia esters and saponin-like detergents, which are found in the white sap.
The possible signs of a poinsettia poisoning include your pet licking their lips, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, redness, and swelling. The latter can be a result of the sap getting on your pet’s skin. There is no cure but, as we pointed out earlier, this isn’t as poisonous as you once thought, so most cases of toxicity clear up without medical treatment.
Another holiday plant that is toxic to cats and dogs is the amaryllis. Since the level of toxicity ranges from mild to moderate, it seems that this plant is slightly more toxic than the famous poinsettia.
Hailing from the liliaceae family, the amaryllis isn’t as toxic as a “true” lily, which includes Day, Japanese, and Easter lilies. The toxic contents of this plant are close to the ones in the Belladonna Amaryllis and the Narcissus group. Phenanthridine alkaloids are found in the stems, bulbs, and leaves of the amaryllis yet the raphide oxalate crystals in the bulbs are the cause of the excess saliva and abdominal pains.
Signs of exposure include vomiting, drooling, hypotension (a drop in blood pressure), stomach pains, and respiratory depression.
There are several types of holly available including Chinese, Japanese, and English varieties. Yet, as much as we love to sing about holly during the holiday season, this plant contains saponins, which can create a serious problem in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract.
On top of that, the leaves of holly are spiny, which contain saponins, cyanogens, and methylxanthines. Some signs that your dog may have ingested holly include head shaking, lip smacking, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and a lack of appetite. If you suspect your animal ate holly contact your vet immediately.
Another plant that is popular around the holidays is the kind that folks typically hang in the doorway and are required to kiss if caught standing underneath. Just don’t let your dog or cat kiss the mistletoe because it can cause all kinds of problems. Types of mistletoe include the American variety phoradendron serotinum and the European variety viscum album.
The berries contain the toxic substances polysaccharides, lectins, and alkaloids. After eating this holiday plant your pet can experience gastrointestinal problems including drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If they eat a lot of mistletoe the symptoms can develop into hypotension, abnormal heart rate, walking like they are drunk (ataxia), seizures, collapse, and death.
This is another mildly toxic plant that has become popular during the holidays. Yet, like poinsettia, this cactus won’t cause serious issues. Just a little vomiting and diarrhea.
If your pet starts to eat your pine, fir, or spruce, or if you dog or cat drink the tree water, they can have mild symptoms of toxicity. If they eat the needles their mouth, throat, and entire gastrointestinal tract could become irritated. This can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and drooling.
A blockage can occur if your pet eats too much of the needles. The symptoms will be mild, but the severity depends on the amount digested.
We love to get our homes ready for the holiday with all types of decorations, including plants and trees. These are our traditions and we don’t want to change them. Yet, if tradition can lead to your pet getting sick then maybe you should reconsider your decorating options. If you must have the plant, then keep it out of the reach of your dog or cat.