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Pets and Holiday Plants - What's Toxic and What's Safe


It's the most wonderful time of the year, but your efforts to decorate and capture the Christmas spirit may pose health risks to your pets.

Many people like to decorate with beautiful holiday plants. Yet, despite their beauty, there are plants that can cause stomach issues with your pet and, in some cases, death.

Before you spice up your holiday decor with beautiful bloomage, check to make sure that the plants you choose are not toxic to pets.

Here at Poochie Moochie, we care deeply about the health and safety of your pet or pets. To keep your pets safe this holiday season, here is a list of toxic plants as well as some safe alternatives:

1. Holly

Holly is a classic holiday plant with its red berries and pointed leaves. Despite its festive look, it is one of the most dangerous plants for your pets - even dried berries can cause health issues.

The berries are toxic and ingesting them can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as an upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea. 

Although the leaves are less toxic, the points on the leaves can irritate your pet's mouth and throat.

Safe Alternative: Instead of holly, decorate with autumn olive. 

2. Poinsettias

The bright red or white leaves of the poinsettia immediately elicits the feeling of the Christmas holidays. However, it is another holiday plant that is toxic to your pets.

Many people believe that poinsettias are deadly to pets but it only causes death in extreme cases. The irritation caused by the plant's toxins typically prevents pets from eating enough of it to cause lethal poisoning.

Instead, ingesting the plant in small doses can cause nausea, vomiting and an upset stomach.

Safe Alternative: To add a vibrant red to your holiday décor, try red roses instead of poinsettias.

3. Mistletoe

When hung up high, as mistletoe often is, this festive green plant generally doesn't pose a risk to dogs and cats. It's important not to forget, however, that this plant does contain toxic substances.

If ingested by your pet, they may experience breathing issues, intestinal upset and a drop in blood pressure. It is also possible for your let to suffer hallucinations, so you may notice unusual or odd behaviors.

Should your pet ingest a high amount of mistletoe, there is a risk of seizures and even death.

Safe Alternative: Grab a Christmas cactus instead of mistletoe. Even if they chew on the cactus, at most they may vomit up what they ingested.

4. Amaryllis

The amaryllis is a popular part of Christmas decor. Grown from a bulb, these flowers produce large beautiful blooms.

It's the leaves, however, that you need to watch out for when it comes to your pets. Ingesting them can lead to drooling, a decrease in appetite, abdominal pain and vomiting.

In some cases, your pet may also suffer from slow breathing, a drop in blood pressure and tremors.

Safe Alternative: Instead of an amaryllis, try livening your home with an achira. This flower features spikes of bold orange and red flag-like flowers.

5. Pine

While pine trees, and fir trees in general, are not particularly dangerous to dogs, they can potentially be lethal to cats.

For all pets, the oils in the tree can irritate their mouths and stomach and lead to drooling and vomiting.

Even the tree's water bowl can have ill effects - the water is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold and may contain fertilizers from the tree.

When it comes to cats, ingesting large amounts of pine needles can lead to liver damage and even death.

Safe Alternative: Consider investing in an artificial tree.

For more information on how to keep your beloved pet safe and healthy, feel free to contact us today!

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