Holiday Plant Primer
Around the holidays our homes are filled with all sorts of objects that aren’t there the rest of the year. Many times this includes festive plants of all kinds. These plants often end up in the mouths of curious pets, especially puppies and kittens. Some may not cause any problems at all, but many cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. Here is the low-down on a few of the more common holiday house guests:
While the poinsettia plant is perhaps the most infamous holiday plant, its reputation is not entirely deserved. Its extreme toxicity is largely an urban legend. The plant is mildly toxic and irritating to the mucous membranes. While it is unlikely to cause severe illness, it is probably best to keep this plant out of reach.
The level of toxicity of mistletoe largely depends on the variety, but the berries of both the American and European variety cause stomach irritation at small doses. At larger doses, it can trigger much more serious problems (including low blood pressure, seizures, and disorientation).
Eating holly can result in severe stomach upset in dogs and cats. Signs that your pet has eaten holly include smacking of lips, drooling, head shaking, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Lilies are very popular around the holidays, but they are deadly for cats. Ingestion causes severe stomach upset, heart arrhythmias, kidney failure, and death.
Don’t discount the tree! The oils and sap can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, which can lead to drooling and vomiting.