Pet Holiday Tip: Plants

December 9, 2016 in Aerowood Animal Hospital


Many people have festive plants around the house for the holidays. Remember to keep your furry family members in mind when you display or dispose of your holiday plants.


Three popular holiday plants that could pose danger to your pet are poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly.


Poinsettias – Colorful, large red and white poinsettias fill your living room and family room, bringing holiday cheer to everyone who sees them.  However, your pet sees them as a great hiding place and a convenient snack when you’re late with dinner. Unfortunately, what he or she doesn’t realize is that poinsettias have a milky white, latex sap that can be very irritating to their mouth and stomach.  Symptoms of poinsettia toxicity include drooling, and sometimes, vomiting and diarrhea.


Mistletoe – Waiting for a kiss from that special someone under the mistletoe?  Your pup or kitty may also be waiting under the mistletoe in hopes of getting a tasty snack. If your pets eat mistletoe, what should you expect?  The major toxic chemicals in mistletoe are lectins and phoratoxins.  These chemicals affect the heart, causing low blood pressure and slowed heart rate.  Fortunately, severe mistletoe toxicity is uncommon and usually only occurs if your pet eats a large amount. The symptoms of mistletoe toxicity include vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, and odd behavior.


Holly – The beautiful holly decorating your house isn’t very harmful, but you should still keep your pet from eating the berries and leaves. The main toxic culprit in holly leaves and berries is a group of chemicals called saponins. In dogs and cats, these chemicals cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and decreased activity.


If you suspect your pet ingested any of the plants mentioned, it’s a good idea to give us a call even if he or she only has minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. We can give you advice on what warning signs to watch for, what you can do at home to make your pet more comfortable and help you decide if you should bring your pet in for a visit.


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