Toxic Holiday Plants For Pets

Holiday decorating begins earlier and earlier every year. Garland, Christmas trees, lights, candles and even plants adorn homes around the world this time of year. While plants are gorgeous to place in and around the home each holiday season, you should know there are some holiday plants that may be toxic for pets. Let’s review some popular year-round holiday plants and the level of toxicity they bring to your pets. 



The Poinsettia, largely one of the most popular holiday plants, carries with it a huge myth. Many people believe that the poinsettia is toxic for dogs and cats, but that’s simply not true. The plant can cause some irritation such as upset stomach and at worst, vomiting, but that will be the extent of it. The sap in the poinsettia is the crux of the problem, but toxicity is not a relative concern. While ingesting large amounts of the poinsettia should be of great concern, the plant is not nearly as dangerous as the myth has alluded to.  There’s some concern for higher quantities of the plant being ingested, but after experiencing the first round of effects, your pets are likely to steer clear of this plant.

Christmas Tree (Pine)

The pine needles of a Christmas tree can cause some level of upset to your pets.  Cats more than dogs, may get interested in meddling in the tree.  The needles are, in fact, what causes the trouble. Physical injury can occur by easily poking your pet’s eyes or even their sensitive skin. You should also consider the possibility that your pet may ingest the needles. Doing so may cause an upset tummy and in some cases, drooling. In most cases, a trip to the vet or any concerns about lethal toxicity should not be a concern.


Posing a great concern is the Mistletoe plant. This plant can be found in many homes throughout the holiday season, and typically the safety of pets is not considered. Ingestion can cause serious ramifications for your pets.  If you notice a change in your pet’s behavior, any indication of low heart rate or any signs of gastrointestinal upset, please immediately seek veterinary help.



Holly is another popular holiday decoration. These plants are highly toxic and can result in death for your pets and your human children.  Reports have indicated that ingesting holly berries can be lethal for a child.  Toxicity signs to look out for are: low energy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Ignoring these signs can have drastic, lethal effects.


Christmas Cactus

While the Christmas cactus is not highly toxic or lethal, it should be mentioned. Holidays can still be ruined by a sick pet and the Christmas cactus can be a culprit around this holiday season.  Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal upset, which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.   Similarly, ingestion of this plant can cause serious injury to your pet’s tender mouth or other body parts it may come in contact with. The good news is that if your pet steers clear of the plant, there is no concern at all.

As you begin to decorate with plants in your home this holiday season, please keep all of this in mind. And, as you prepare your generous list of gift-giving, you may want to consider if the gift recipients have pets in their homes. Happy Holidays!



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