Poisonous Plants

Poisonous plants are a real danger to our four (and 3) legged friends all year long, not just around the Holidays!  There are some decorations and plants that could pose as potential threats to our fur babies, as they can are quite curious and get into some decorations and household plants unknowingly.  We did some research and gathered some advice on keeping our animals safe from poisonous holiday items and poisonous plants.

Did you know that snow globes contain a small amount of antifreeze?  We should keep such decorative objects away from pets and if they break clean the spill up immediately.  We learned this reading this article on Yahoo!

Bright ornamental plants are a great way to dress up the house during the holidays and a dreary winter. Pet owners should be aware; however, that many of these common plants are poisonous to pets.

Toxicity ranges from mild to severe, and the amount of plant consumed determines how sick a pet may become. In general, gastrointestinal upset is the most common finding, but if enough plant material is ingested, seizures, coma or death is possible. 

Naturally curious puppies and kittens and pets may want to sample some of the new-in-the-house greens. Dose is size-dependent, so puppies and kittens are most often at greatest risk for plant poisonings.

Poinsettia Plant
Many people associate the Poinsettia plant with extreme toxicity, but this is not true. In fact, it is largely an urban legend, dating back to 1919, according to David Emery, Guide to Urban Legends. The sap of Poinsettias is considered to be mildly toxic/irritating, and may cause nausea or vomiting if ingested, but not death.

More about: poinsettias and pets from the Pet Poison Helpline.

Mistletoe and Holly

A couple of holiday plants, specifically Mistletoe and Holly, are considered to be moderately to severely toxic, and you should call your veterinarian or poison control center immediately for specific advice.

Lilies and Daffodils
Additionally, plant bulb kits featuring Amaryllis and other plants in the lily family, Narcissus and other plants in the daffodil family, are popular gift items at this time of year. Pet owners should be aware that these plants are very toxic for cats, and sometimes with severe symptoms of gastrointestinal signs, cardiac arrhythmias, kidney failure, convulsions and death. Daffodils are toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Christmas Tree
Don't forget about the Christmas tree. Christmas trees are considered to be mildly toxic. The fir tree oils can irritating to the mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling or vomiting. The tree needles are not easily digested; possibly causing GI irritation, vomiting, gastrointestinal obstruction or puncture. As noted earlier, the amount of trouble depends on how much is consumed. Many times, pets don't consume mass quantities of tree material.

Common Clinical Signs Seen
Signs most commonly seen with toxic plant ingestion relate to the gastrointestinal tract: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes excessive salivation (drooling). In some cases, such as holly berry ingestion, tremors or seizures may be seen, followed by coma and death.

Stay Safe - Watch Your Plants and Your Pets
Monitor your pet's interest in the plants. To be 100% safe, do not bring toxic live plants into your home. If unsure about a plant, look it up to check toxicity. Monitor your pet's interest in eating plants, and place plants out of reach. Check the plants for any signs of chewing or missing leaves. If unsure, plastic plants are an option (with care taken not to let those get ingested, either!).



Poisonous plants can cause diarrhea, vomiting, major intestinal damage and even death for our pets.  More details are included below from our friends at ASPCA:

This list contains plants that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Please note that the information contained in our plant lists is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a compilation of the most frequently encountered plants. If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or our 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.