When the holidays roll around, many people use festive plants to amplify the holiday spirit in their homes. Unfortunately, some popular holiday plants are not safe for our pets—and it’s not always easy to know which ones are dangerous. Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs? Are bromeliads poisonous to cats? What about Christmas cactus—is it poisonous to cats or dogs? Before you bring that new potted plant or wreath into your home, it’s important to have all the information.
“The truth of the matter is, most plants might make the animal drool or get a tummy ache or get a little diarrhea, but most plants are not fatal,” says integrative veterinarian Carol Osborne, DVM, of the Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
But that’s no reason to be lax about safety.
“However, there are some plants that absolutely can be a matter of life and death,” Dr. Osborne says. “Mistletoe berries are super toxic—they can cause a heart attack and even death.”
Knowing which holiday plants are toxic to dogs and cats is the key to keeping your pet safe.
“Exercise caution when bringing holiday plants into your home,” says Tina Wismer, DVM, DABVT, DABT, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill. “Make sure that you know the risks associated with these plants and that they are not in the direct reach of your pets. Better yet, opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.”
Here are a few of the most common poisonous holiday plants, according to Dr. Wismer and Dr. Osborne:
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