When you’re decorating your home for the holidays this year, remember to keep your pups safe and avoid these 5 holiday plants that are toxic to dogs!
When we got home from our Thanksgiving road trip to Colorado last weekend I couldn’t wait to start pulling out all of the Christmas decor. I actually put our tree up before we left but I didn’t actually decorate it until we got home. I wanted to go with silver and white decorations this year but I knew I needed a lot more themed ornaments to make that happen. I also wanted to put together a Christmas-y floral arrangement for our dining table but that’s still on my to-do list.
I have a beautiful white bowl vase that seems like it’s begging for a gorgeous display of pine boughs and white poinsettia. It would flow with my white Christmas vibe so well but I’m worried to do it because pine needles and poinsettia are mildly toxic to dogs and poinsettia. Commonly, if a dog ingests either of those holiday favorites they will experience mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea but my boys are so little I worry about them eating too much and getting really sick.
A lot of holiday plants are thought to be poisonous and therefore dangerously fatal for dogs. That isn’t exactly true. Most holidays plants are mildly toxic to dogs which result in gastrointestinal irritation but isn’t fatal unless very large quantities are ingested. If your dog sneaks a nibble of a holiday plant he might vomit and feel icky but that’s about it. I have anxiety because my dogs are so little (7 lbs and 15 lbs) and I love having plants around, especially during Christmas.
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5 Holiday plants that are toxic to dogs
If you want to decorate with holiday plants this Christmas but are worried about bringing toxic plants in around your dogs, these are the top 5 Christmas plant offenders that might make your pup feel a little crummy.
Usually, mistletoe is hung high over doorways so you can steal a kiss or two when you catch your honey under it but if the mistletoe falls down or your dog finds a magical way to get way up there to get it, he may get really sick. Mistletoe is actually one of the worst holiday plant dangers to your pup.
Every part of the mistletoe plant (berries, stem, and leaves) is mildly toxic to dogs. Eating any part of this plant can cause intestinal upset, as well as a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, and even hallucinations. If you can go with artificial mistletoe I’d recommend it because it’s probably best to avoid bringing this plant into your home and around your dog.
Amaryllis (Christmas Lilies)
Christmas lilies (aka Amaryllis lily) is another of the worst offenders when it comes to toxicity toward dogs. This holiday favorite contains many toxins, which causes excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, and tremors in dogs and cats. It’s even worse if your pup happens to eat the bulb of the plant.
It’s best to avoid bringing lilies into your house but if you insist on having these in your home over the holidays, make sure you also have the information for an emergency vet nearby. If your dog eats lilies, a trip to the vet may very likely become part of your Christmas plans.
Anytime I hear anyone talking about dangerous holiday plants for dogs, Poinsettia tops the list. Even though it’s less toxic than mistletoe, this is the plant everyone seems to think about when they think of plants that are toxic to dogs. In truth, poinsettia is only mildly toxic to dogs and they have to ingest a lot of it to experience anything more than a mild upset belly.
If the leaves of a poinsettia are ingested, your dog will experience mild nausea and vomiting. Poinsettia leaves also produce an irritating sap so it’s unlikely your dog would eat very much of it and even less likely he ever eats it a second time. It’s just not that tasty to them.
Holly / Holly Berries
The tiny spikes on holly plants are usually enough to keep dogs from eating it but some dogs (like mine) seem determined to not let something like tiny spikes keep them from a dangerous meal. Both the leaves and the berries of the holly plant contain moderately noxious compounds that cause mouth pain and upset bellies.
If your dog eats holly or holly berries, he’s likely to experience diarrhea, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, blood in his mouth, vomiting, and a loss of appetite. If your dog eats holly he’s not going to die but it’s also not going to be a very merry Christmas for anyone.
Christmas (Pine) Tree
Ugh, ok, so I know I sound like a Grinch here but it’s important to share that your Christmas tree can be dangerous for your dog. You should definitely be careful with lights and be sure to use shatterproof ornaments but there are other dangers as well.
Fir trees produce an oil that is irritating to your dog’s mouth and stomach. If he licks (like my Wilkins) or nibbles, that oil can lead to excessive drooling or vomiting. If he eats those low-lying branches or the needles that fall to the ground, he could suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones I’ve mentioned repeatedly above or, even worse, obstruction or abdominal puncture which would require a trip to the vet. And, that doesn’t even include the noxious water around your tree that’s likely to house bacteria and mold. I love real trees as much as the next girl but do yourself a favor and invest in a quality artificial tree.