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General Dog Talk,  Wellness

Holiday Plants That Are Poisonous to Pets

Holiday plants brighten our house during the holidays. But did you know that some of these plants can be poisonous to your pets?

Find out what plants to keep out of reach of Fluffy and Fido, and what to do if you suspect poisoning.

Poinsettia Plant

The poinsettia plant is usually tops on the list of holiday plants that are poisonous to pets. But this is actually one of the least toxic plants.  While the poinsettia is mildly toxic, it’s not deadly. According to the Poison Pet Helpline, if ingested, it’s likely to cause vomiting, drooling and possibly diarrhea. The milky sap can cause skin irritation such as redness, swelling and itchiness.

poinsettias are dangerous for dogs.


Keep your mistletoe high in a doorway and watch for falling berries if you have fresh mistletoe. Mild mistletoe poisoning can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. If you’ve gone overboard and were suspecting the kissing bandit, watch out.  When ingested in large amounts, mistletoe can cause abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure, collapse, unstable walking, and seizure.


It has spiky leaves and shiny red berries. What could possibly go wrong? Consumption of holly is a bad idea. It can cause severe gastrointestinal upset (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea).  If ingested, most pets lip smack, drool, and head shake excessively due to the mechanical injury from the spiny leaves.

Does your cat like to nibble on plant leaves? If so, you should watch out for these plants, all members of the lilly family. Even ingestion of small amounts such as a couple petals, leaves, pollen, or water from the vase may result in severe, acute kidney failure, according to the Poison Pet Helpline. Lillies are less toxic to dogs, but they should still be monitored.  Daffodils are toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Christmas Trees

Last on our list — the Christmas Tree. Fresh cut Christmas trees can be mildly toxic. The tree needles and branches are not easily digested and can cause irritation, vomiting, obstruction or puncture. Fir tree oils can irritate the mouth and stomach and cause drooling or vomiting. Avoid hanging loose tinsel or other items that are eye catching and easily eaten.

A perhaps more important issue is the tree water itself. If you have added preservatives or aspirin to the tree water to keep your tree fresh, be sure to cover the water container with plastic wrap or foil. That way your pets won’t drink out of the tree bowl like they do out of the toilet (which is another story completely. )

We hope these tips help you to have a safe and happy holiday!

Looking for the best gifts for the dog lover this holiday season? We have that too! Check out Houston Dog Mom’s Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers.

HoustonDogMom Rebecca G. is a Houston-based dog lover and shelter volunteer.