Holiday Plants Poisonous to Pets

Safe and Happy Christmas Holidays for You and Your Pets

Having pets around during the holiday season can bring you extra joy. Don’t let it cause additional worry. Puppies or kittens, like small children, are naturally curious and might find themselves in trouble after sampling a brightly colored plant. If you are doubtful that your pet will stay away from your holiday plants, then it’s best to not bring these plants into your home. In general, if your pet ingests a toxic plant they could have diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or excessive drooling. More dangerous symptoms include convulsions, seizures, and death.

Pine Needles

Sometimes people forget the tree can be toxic to your pets. The oil from the pine tree is an irritant, possibly drooling or vomiting. Eating the pine needles is more dangerous because they can cause gastrointestinal problems like puncture or blockage. Treatment will depend on how much pine needles your pet was exposed to since serious gastrointestinal problems involve a trip to your local veterinarian.


Many people have probably learned that poinsettia are dangerous for pets. However, the toxicity of a poinsettia is often over-rated. This holiday plant is only mildly irritating and might cause nausea or vomiting if eaten. Treating exposure to poinsettia can probably be done at home by limiting access to food and water until gastrointestinal symptoms have subsided.

Mistletoe and Holly

Both mistletoe and holly are more toxic than other plants. If your pet ingests mistletoe gastrointestinal or cardiovascular problems might occur. Mistletoe can cause vomiting, hallucinations, breathing problems, a drop in blood pressure, and if enough of the plant is ingested, seizures or death. Holly can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as other problems like depression. Treatment of mistletoe exposure could involve having to induce vomiting in your pet. Some cases require a veterinarian to monitor the animal’s health. Treatment of holly exposure could be as simple as rinsing your pet’s mouth or limiting food access for a few hours. However, exposure to holly or mistletoe can require intravenous fluids if there are problems keeping your pet properly hydrated.

Amaryllis and Lily

Amaryllis is a popular holiday gift because of its bright flower. Amaryllis exposure can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, but also more dangerous problems like tremors and convulsions. Amaryllis are sometimes referred to as amaryllis lily but are not part of the same family. Treatment of amaryllis exposure will depend on the case. It might only require limiting food and water access while gastrointestinal symptoms decrease.

Lily plants are not necessarily considered toxic to dogs but since there are a large variety of lily flowers you should still be careful around your pets. If your cat ingests lily then it could cause gastrointestinal problems, kidney failure, convulsions, and cardiovascular problems. Treatment of lily exposure is much more serious and requires veterinary intervention since it can involve use of activated charcoal and intravenous fluids for at least 48 hours.

Safety First

Remember, how much of a plant your pet ingests and how large your pet is both effect how much danger your pet is in after accidental ingestion. A small amount of exposure might lead to nothing more than a nauseous pet and withholding food and water for a few hours but some serious problems can occur that would involve a trip to the veterinarian.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health then it’s always best to contact your local veterinary clinic.