KSNF/KODE — Holidays can be stressful, and the last thing you need is an expensive bill from the vet after an emergency visit or scrubbing your carpets clean after an accident. Beware of these common holiday plants that can be harmful and toxic to pets.

Poinsettias

The iconic Christmas flower comes in many different color variations but is popular for holiday decorating for its classic red and green depictions. However, this flower can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested, which can lead to severe dehydration.

If your furry-friend happens to nibble on a poinsettia, their mouth and stomach may be irritated from the milky sap of the leaves. It’s unlikely to be fatal, but they may feel abdominal pain, excessive drooling, and exhibit signs of lethargy. Keep an eye on their behavior and always consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Holly

According to this source here, berries of the holly plant are toxic to most pets and children. As the plant dries out or dies, the berries can fall to areas that are easily attainable for children and pets to reach.

Symptoms of holly poisoning can include excessive drooling, bleeding of the mouth (caused by the sharp pointed edges of the holly leaves), vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and even seizures.

The best course of action is to avoid bringing the holly inside your home and substitute for faux holly décor instead.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe has often represented romance with the holiday tradition of kissing the person you’re caught under the hanging mistletoe with—but there’s nothing romantic about kissing your dog or cat goodbye if they die from ingesting the little parasitic shrub.

Mistletoe contains toxins that can affect the heart and lower blood pressure. Other symptoms can include an upset stomach, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, seizures, incoordination (a behavior that may seem like your pet is drunk), or even death.

Pine

If you happen to have a real Christmas tree, there are many precautions you have to take to avoid a disaster—like your tree catching fire. Here’s something else to be wary of when it comes to living pine décor: pine needles.

Pine needles can puncture the lining of your pets’ esophagus and their stomach, causing severe discomfort and internal bleeding. Not to mention, even in small amounts, the natural oils of pine have been linked to liver damage, kidney damage, seizures, and death in dogs.  

Symptoms of pine oil poisoning can be difficulty swallowing, irritation of the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth), pawing at the mouth or face, trouble breathing, collapse, dizziness, excessive drooling, panting, muscle tremors, diarrhea, difficulty walking, frequent urination, and vomiting. You can find a full list of symptoms here.

In Conclusion

When it comes to your home and your loved ones, you can never be too safe. The key to preventing a disaster this holiday season is to avoid bringing these dangerous plants inside your home. If you do, take the extra steps to protect your pets and children by keeping these out of their reach.

Often, a healthy pet can recover from ingesting a small amount of these plants, but if you suspect your pet has consumed even a tiny amount, call your veterinarian and let them know. They will be able to guide you on the absolute best route of care for your pet.