Poisonous Plants for Pets Around Christmas

There are many increased risks to your pet’s health around the holidays. Well-meaning guests who feed the dog table scraps may rank right up there. But one of the most overlooked dangers reside in the plants, flowers, and foliage which are are often popular this time of year. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common ones.

Poinsettia PlantPoinsettias
The Poinsettia plant is often a fixture in holiday decorations. However, despite its reputation, it is not deadly. Its brightly colored leaves do contain a sap that that can cause irritation in the mouth and esophagus if ingested. This can lead to nausea and vomiting. But any animal (or small child) would have to eat a large amount of the plant to cause extreme poisoning. However, the danger of ingesting pesticides poses a greater risk, especially to young or small animals. If the plant’s leaves have been sprayed or treated, then a severe reaction can occur. Extreme, though very rare, situations could result seizures, coma, or death.

MistletoeMistletoe and Holly
Mistletoe and holly also take center stage at Christmas. These plants and their berries have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. Mistletoe contains toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin which can lead to stomach upset, quick drops in blood pressure, and breathing problems.

Christmas LilliesLilies and Daffodils
Lilies and daffodils are toxic to all pets, though especially to cats. Ingesting even a small amount can cause severe reactions that include gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia, and convulsions. Daffodils, especially the bulbs, are also toxic to most pets.

The Amaryllis, which also goes by such names as Belladonna, Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna, and Naked Lady, contains Lycorine. It can cause extreme discomfort, lethargy, and even tremors in both dogs and cats. The bulbs, which can sometimes be confused with onions, are more dangerous than the flowers and stalk.

Christmas CactusChristmas Cactus
A year-round favorite is the Christmas Cactus as well as the Easter Cactus. The parts or flowers of these plants are not toxic. However, ingesting them can lead to some stomach or intestinal irritation.

Pine NeedlesPine Needles
Many dogs will vomit after eating the needles, though most dogs will simply vomit them up after their “snack.” Of more concern is the water that sits in the stand, which can contain chemical agents used to treat the tree. Even a few sips of that bacteria or mold-ridden water can cause upset stomach.


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Avas Flowers

Avas Flowers has an informative article on this subject as well as a comprehensive table. Here is a list of the more known toxic indoor poisonous flowers and plants:

Plant Name Toxicity Level Plant Description Symptoms of Poisoning
Primrose (Cyclamin Persicum) Highly Toxic The cyclamen is one of the most popular but poisonous flowers on the planet. It blooms red, pink and also in white in the colors. The five petals of a flower are bent backwards and sit on about 20 cm long stems. The flowering period is from August to April. The leaves are heart-shaped and drawn. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, sweating, and severe nausea with diarrhea. Furthermore, there are circulatory disorders and respiratory paralysis which occurs at lethal doses. It also acts externally on inflamed skin and on the eyes.
Pink Floyd, also known as Amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids) Toxic The Amaryllis is a funnel-shaped, bulbous plant with nodding flowers. The color of the flower is red, pink and white. They stand on a stem that can reach 90 cm high. Symptoms nausea and vomiting, excessive sweating, salivation, dizziness and diarrhea. It can also damage the kidneys and cause paralysis.
Weeping Fig (Ficus Species) aka “Rubber Tree” Toxic This ficus species, like all others, excrete a milky white substance from its green, variegated leaves. Vomiting and diarrhea will become present since paralysis and even death cannot be excluded even though this is one of the lesser poisonous plants for cats and dogs.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria) trifasciata aka “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” Toxic The leaves of the hemp sheets are sword-shaped, which form a rosette and have pale green spots. The plant grows up to three feet high. The flowers give off a strong scent and are yellowish. The snake plant contains toxic components. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea.
Dumb Cane Highly Toxic The Dumb Cane is one of the most popular houseplants in the Americas. It has an oblong to oval shape, spanning 25 – 40 cm long. It has leaves that are dark green with white spots. The plant consists of a greenish husk even though it is rarely in bloom. It can reach a height of six feet. Poisoning of animals is evident. Severe irritation of the mouth, irritation of the stomach, intestines and neck are seen. Animals have difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, associated with a loss of voice along with bloody diarrhea and possible death.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena drago) Toxic 40 Dragon Tree species grow on Earth. Dracaeno drago is often found in the Canary Islands, where it can grow up to 30 feet high. In the Americas, it is kept as a houseplant. The leaves are evergreen, have inconspicuous flowers and orange colored fruits. The Dragon Tree is one of the less poisonous plants for dogs and cats. In cats, diarrhea occurs after ingestion of the leaves.
Tulip Toxic From April to May, the tulip drives their 4-8 cm long, bell-shaped flowers of the onion to bloom. According to the breed form, the flower color varies over white, yellow, orange, pink, red to blue and even black. The leaves are up to 30 cm long. Poisoning starts with excessive salivation, vomiting, gastrointestinal pain and diarrhea.
Azalea (Rhododendron Simsii) Highly


Azaleas bloom mostly red to pink. The flowers are bell-shaped or funnel-shaped and they are usually in corymbs. The leaves are oval and leathery. The plants grow bushy and often have a small trunk. Vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, convulsions, weak pulse and slow breathing slow are the most common side effects. Animals also suffer from depression. When it comes to flowers poisonous to cats and dogs, this one is at the top of the list.
Oleander Fatal The Oleander grows as a shrub and sometimes as a small tree. Its pink or white flowers have five petals. They appear from July to September. The leathery leaves are usually three to a whorl. The plant grows up to 6 meters high. Dilated pupils, drop in body temperature, cool legs and gastrointestinal discomfort with diarrhea. Death occurs, even in humans, by paralysis of the heart.
Chrysanthemum Toxic This yellow flower heads in an umbrella-like panicle. They appear from July to September. The leaves are up to 25 cm long. The stems of the plant are edgy and it reaches a height of 60-130 cm. The plant smells very aromatic when crushed. When it comes to flowers poisonous to dogs and cats, the Chrysanthemum targets house animals more than other animals. Tumbling, drowsiness, and blindness are associated with mucosal irritation, kidney and liver damage.


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