If you witnessed or strongly suspect your pet ingested a toxic plant, this is considered an “ORANGE” – or urgent case – on our Fast Track Triage system. We recommend calling ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 for help determining if your pet consumed a toxic amount and for guidance on what to do next. If veterinary care is advised, call your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital ahead of your arrival.
Holiday time is here and that means holiday decorations! As fun as it is to be festive for the season, holiday plants can potentially be toxic to your pets. When decorating, it is important to be aware of where you are placing plants and decor to prevent pets from getting into things that could be dangerous to them and result in a visit to the veterinarian.
Lilies are often found in winter floral bouquets and centerpieces. True lilies (Day, Tiger, Easter, Asiatic, Japanese Show) are highly toxic to cats. Every part of this plant is toxic, including the pollen and even the lily’s water dish. If ingested, lilies can cause life-threatening kidney damage. Prompt treatment is necessary to allow the best possible outcome. If you own a cat, never bring lilies into your home! Common symptoms of lily toxicity include kidney injury, vomiting, anorexia, drooling, and lethargy.
This is a common winter, bulb plant that you can purchase and grow at home. If dogs eat the bulb, it has the potential for causing an intestinal obstruction. Chewing on the flowers and leaves can also lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, and even tremors.
Yew is a common green used in wreaths and decor. This can be very toxic to both cats and dogs if eaten. Signs include tremors, difficulty breathing, vomiting, seizures (dogs), and even death.
4. Holly and Mistletoe
Both holly and mistletoe are common in holiday decor. If chewed on, the leaves can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Make sure to place arrangements up away from where pets can get to them. Also, remember that cats are curious and can jump on to shelves to access things!
5. Christmas Trees Water
The decorations on your tree can be dangerous to your pet, but also the tree itself can be dangerous! A real Christmas tree’s water can be toxic as it can contain bacteria, pesticides, and mold. Also, the needles from Christmas trees and wreaths can be irritating and potentially cause intestinal obstructions.
BONUS: What about Poinsettias?
Poinsettias are very common decorative plants, but they’ve acquired a bad rap. They are considered toxic to cats and dogs, but they are only mildly toxic. This means they may cause mild symptoms like stomach irritation. They might also experience oral and skin irritation from the plant’s milky sap. But contrary to popular belief, they are not deadly! With that being said, it’s still best to keep poinsettias out of your pet’s reach to avoid these mild signs like hypersalivation, lip licking, vomiting, drooling, or diarrhea.
We hope you and your pet have a safe and happy holiday season! If you are concerned that your pet has eaten a highly toxic plant, please contact your family veterinarian or emergency clinic IMMEDIATELY.
For a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants, check out ASPCA’s Poisonous Plant List.