Holiday Plant Hazards

The holidays are full of food, fun, and family. They also present a few hazards for our animal companions! Read on to find out more about keeping your pet safe from plant hazards during the holiday season.

The Tree

If you’ve set up a holiday tree in your home this year, it’s important to be aware of a few potential dangers. Not only can the ornaments and lights adorning your tree prove hazardous if a pet tries to play with them, parts of the tree itself can cause harm. Fir trees produce an oil that can irritate a pet’s mouth or stomach, possibly leading to vomiting. Pine needles can irritate a pet’s stomach and even puncture the stomach lining. Keep a close eye on your animal friend when they’re playing near the tree.


A pet would have to ingest quite a lot of a poinsettia plant to actually experience symptoms of poisoning; that doesn’t mean the plants are entirely safe, though. The poinsettia’s leaves contain a sap that can irritate a pet’s mouth, esophagus, and stomach—if enough is ingested, a pet is sure to experience excessive drooling or vomiting. Plus, a poinsettia plant may have been treated with a pesticide or fertilizer product, which you don’t want your four-legged friend ingesting.

Mistletoe and Holly

These popular plants aren’t safe for pets—both the plant material and berries of holly and mistletoe contain toxins that can cause serious symptoms, including stomach upset, abdominal pain, drooling, low blood pressure, diarrhea, and vomiting. Holly and mistletoe may even prove deadly if enough is ingested! Don’t allow your pet access to these plants under any circumstances.


Did you know that various species of lilies are toxic to cats, and may harm dogs as well? Even small amounts of the lily plant can cause loss of appetite, lethargy, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and—without prompt treatment—seizures or worse. Since lilies are common in bouquets and gift packages during the holidays, pay extra attention this time of year.

Autumn Decorations

You may still have plant decorations around from back in the fall season—while common autumn plants like pumpkins, gourds, and decorative corn aren’t necessarily toxic to animals, they can present a choking hazard or cause intestinal upset when swallowed.

If you would like to know more about keeping your pet safe during the holidays, give us a call. We’re here to help!

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