Hazardous Holiday plants for your Vail Valley Pets

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Hazardous Holiday plants for your Vail Valley Pets

Winter Plant Pet Hazards

​As your vail valley emergency and preventative care veterinarians, we are often asked about plants which can or may be hazardous to your pets around the holiday season.

This article is dedicated to just that topic~

I love having plants around the home, especially those that are seasonal for the holidays.  However, it’s very important to remember that there are several plants that you should be aware of that are poisonous to our pets.  These plants can cause anything from an upset stomach to life-threatening issues and it’s important to know which ones are dangerous!

Let’s start with Poinsettias – I’m already seeing them in Costco!  These plants have red, white, pink or mottled leaves which are frequently mistaken for flowers.  Fortunately for dogs and cats, the toxicity of the plant has been greatly exaggerated.  The most common signs of poinsettia exposure in dogs and cats include vomiting, not eating and lethargy.  If you see your pet ingesting part of this plant, be sure to put it in a place where they cannot get at it and keep an eye on them for any signs of sickness. 

One of my favorite plants is a Christmas Cactus, I love to see mine bloom!  Another name for this plant is the “Crab’s Claw Cactus”.  If your pet ingests this plant, you may see some vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy however this plant isn’t considered “toxic” to your pet.  Again, do not allow your pet to eat this plant and if they do, keep a close eye on them for an upset stomach. 

Luckily, this next plant is typically hung out of reach of our pets – Mistletoe!  Mistletoe has various levels of toxicity depending on what species we are dealing with however most species we have here in the US are not toxic to our pets.  The most common clinical signs seen in dogs that ingest it include vomiting and lethargy however much more serious side effects have been reported in humans.  What’s most important with mistletoe is to keep it way out of reach of your pets. 

Holly can be quite irritating to your pet if they ingest it.  The most common clinical signs include excessive salivation, not eating, vomiting and diarrhea.  If you see your pet ingest this, try to rinse their mouth out and call your veterinarian as they may recommend treatment.

Lilies are most often seen around Easter time however are a beautiful plant that is available year-round.  All species of lilies are extremely toxic to cats.  All parts of a lily are considered toxic and ingestion of just a tiny piece of a leaf can cause death.  Lilies cause renal failure in cats and immediate treatment by your veterinarian is necessary in order to prevent death.  If you have cats, it is recommended that you never have lilies in your home as there is no way to be sure they won’t chew on part of the plant. 

All of these are plants that are commonly encountered during fall and winter holidays and it’s important to know what to look for if your pet gets into them.  If you ever have a concern or question be sure to contact your veterinarian as we are always more than happy to give you advice – better to be safe than sorry!  Happy Holiday Season!

We look forward to seeing you!