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Don’t Deck the Halls with Death: Toxic Plants

toxic poinsettia pets albuquerqueDeck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la la la la la….well, if you have pets you may want to reconsider this festive lyrical suggestion. During the holidays we tend to decorate our homes with more indoor plants than any other time of year. Though this is pretty, it can also be deadly to your pet.  Most animals like to chew on plants to add some roughage to their diet. They can be a good source of vitamins and can help with indigestion. For cats, eating plants can help move hairballs through their stomachs so they can cough them up easily.

There are many plants that are perfectly ok for your pet to eat, but many of our holiday plants are toxic.  Many plants are also sprayed with pesticide which can also be toxic to your pet. Toxic reaction to pesticides include vomiting, seizures, coma, and death.

Most Toxic Holiday Plants


This is the favorite holiday plant. It is perfect for tables, or hanging baskets, and just makes the house look beautiful. If your pet eats the leaves of a Poinsettia it can cause nausea and vomiting.


Ready to kiss someone under the mistletoe? This is the most romantic of holiday plants and is highly toxic. In fact, mistletoe is so toxic that often when you buy it the real berries are removed and fake berries have be substituted. Though the berries are the most toxic part, the leaves can also make your pet sick. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, hallucination, drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, abdominal pain, and death. If you get mistletoe, make sure to hang it out of reach of your cat or dog.


If you are in full decking the halls mode, you may want to consider using fake holly instead of real holly. Both the leaves and the berries on a holly plant can be toxic, though the berries are much more toxic than the leaves. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain. If you have holly boughs, try to hang them out of reach of your pets.


These pretty plants make beautiful host gifts. As pretty as they are, they are extremely dangerous to cats. If you cat eats even a small amount it can cause sever issues such as gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), and seizures.


Every time I go to a big box store I see a grow your own Amaryllis kit. These pretty flowers add a lovely splash of color and growth during the winter. However, it also contains noxious substances that cause salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, and tremors. The bulb is even more dangerous than the flower.


If you decide to decorate with living plants, make sure to keep them well out of the way of your pets. If you think your cat or dog has ingested any of these toxic plants, call your Albuquerque vet immediately.



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8200 Menaul Blvd NE #R Albuquerque, NM 87110 Phone: (505) 292-3030

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.