4 Common Holiday Plants That Are Poisonous for Pets December 17 2018, 2 Comments

 

Many folks are busy transforming their homes into a winter wonderland for the holidays. One of the hap-happiest times of the year calls for decorations, after all! Whether your holiday decorations have a feline twist or they're more traditional, do you know if your holiday decorations are cat safe?

Unfortunately for our four-legged friends, festive decorations often include decking the halls with a few boughs of holly - which might be more dangerous than you think. While decking the halls might ensure plenty of fa la la la-ing, pet owners might want to reconsider before decorating with these traditional holiday plants.  


  

Poinsettia 

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This red-leafed holiday staple is widely known for its beauty - and for its high levels of toxicity. But poinsettia doesn't deserve this bad rap! In fact, poinsettia are considered “non” to “mildly” toxicPets that ingest poinsettias generally have no clinical signs, but may experience some mild gastrointestinal discomfort. If the leaves or sap are rubbed on skin, the latex-containing sap can cause a mild, irritating rash. 

 

1996 study in humans found over 92% required no medical treatment for reported poinsettia toxicity. In order for any sort of severe poinsettia poisoning to occur, a 50 lb child (or pet) would have to consume 500 to 600 whole leaves, roughly 1.25 lbs of foliage. Which is highly unlikely, as the leaves are reported to taste bitter and are fairly inedible.

 

Poinsettias are considered safe to keep in the home and decorate to your heart's content - but as it can cause some discomfort or illness in your pet, it might be a good idea to keep it out of reach of your nosy cat just to be safe and have a happy holiday! Or just buy a plastic poinsettia lookalike! 

 

Mistletoe and Holly

Ah, mistletoe; the most romantic of parasitic plants. Actually considered somewhat of a botanical nuisance the other 11 months of the year, you should take care when decorating with this traditional holiday evergreen - it is very toxic to pets. Mistletoe, along with holly, have a much greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. 

If these humble looking plants are ingested by pets, they may experience gastrointestinal upset, or show clinical signs of poisoning such as a change in mental function, difficulty breathing, or a low heart rate.  If a large enough amount of this plant is ingested, seizures and death may follow. The leaves and berries of mistletoe and holly plants, even the dried plants, should be kept well out of your pet's reach, or kept out of the home altogether. If you think your cat has ingested holly or mistletoe, contact your vet immediately for assistance or call the APCC 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Lilies 

While more popular for Easter, lilies are still a gorgeous flower and make excellent gifts and decorations. But if you're gifting this flower to a pet owner, or you like to decorate with real lilies, you might want to reconsider. 

Lilies are particularly toxic to cats. The ingestion of any part of any type of lily can lead to kidney failure. The clinical signs can include vomiting, depression, or loss of appetite. If you suspect your cat of ingesting lilies, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. There is no antidote, and intense supportive care is needed for cats to recover.