It’s that time of year and many of us are unpacking boxes of decor from the attic and unraveling tangled coils of lights to get our homes decked out for the holidays. While most Christmas decor is safe for pets, there are several festive plants that are not. Here are a few to be aware of.
Holiday Bouquets – As lilies are one of the most popular flowers utilized by florists, all flower arrangements brought into the home should be inspected thoroughly. Even in small amounts, lilies can cause kidney failure in cats and possibly, death. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, halitosis, seizures, diarrhea, and inappropriate urination or thirst.
Mistletoe – When ingested in small amounts, mistletoe can result in gastrointestinal irritation (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain). If eaten in larger quantities, the plant can cause an abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures, breathing problems, collapse, and possibly death.
Pine Needles – Christmas trees are one of the biggest culprits to a pet’s health during the holidays. When eaten, their needles can cause stomach irritations, obstruction and puncture. Tree water can also be problematic as it can contain fertilizers, molds and bacteria. Just a few drinks can make your dog or cat extremely ill.
To keep your pets safe, be sure to vacuum up the needles regularly and keep your pet away from the water by placing a bag over the tree stand or investing in a pet-proof stand. If your pet is especially enthralled by the ornaments and glowing lights, a baby gate may be the way to go.
Holly Amaryllis – This beautiful plant is highly toxic to pets and, when ingested, causes severe gastrointestinal problems (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and stomach pain) as well as tremors.
Poinsettia – While these vibrant crimson blooms have had a bad rap, their threat to your pet is fairly minimal. If consumed, pets can experience vomiting, drooling, and (rarely) diarrhea. If your pet’s skin is exposed to the plant’s milky white sap, they can develop a rash.
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Have a safe and happy holiday!