Veterinarian - San Diego
1540 Morena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110



By R. deLeon-Mims
December 22, 2013
Category: Pet Safety
Tags: Holiday   Amaryllis   Holly   Mistletoe   Pine   Poinsettia  

This holiday season as we’re hosting guests and decorating our homes we should keep in mind while decorating our dwellings with greenery or accepting floral gifts, be aware of the potential for toxicity that festive plants can have for pets.



The Amaryllis contains Lycorine and other noxious substances, which cause salivation, gastrointestinal abnormalities (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain), lethargy, and tremors in both cats and dogs. The bulb of the plant is reputed to be more dangerous than the flowers and stalk.



In dogs and cats, consumption of Holly leaves and berries causes gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and/or diarrhea and lethargy.


Decorative Pine Trees

There are a variety of pine trees that have the potential for causing toxicity, including the Australian, Norfolk, and Norfolk Island Pine. Additionally, the water used to nourish a pine tree can be quite noxious. Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.



Consumption of mistletoe berries or leaves can cause severe gastrointestinal, cardiovascular (low blood pressure, low heart rate), and neurologic (collapse, unusual behavior) signs.



This plant has an over exaggerated bad rep for being toxic to our pets.  Though we shouldn’t be overly worried, poinsettias do contain a latex-like sap that causes oral irritation and vomiting.


All in all, the best way to keep your pets safe from potentially harmful plants this season is prevention.  Try to keep pets separate from areas where these plants are in your home, or you may opt to forgo keeping these plants in your home this season.  In any case, if your suspect that your pet may have ingested a plant that is toxic or anything harmful for that matter, please contact our office immediately.  Also, the ASPCA has a Poison Hotline you can contact at (888)426-4435 for any poison related emergency.


Have a safe and happy holiday!