Holiday Plants

The holiday season is a very festive and happy time of year. Many of us like to decorate with plants and give plants as gifts. Here are several common plants to watch out for during the holiday season.
Common Holiday Plants
Poinsettia – These plants come in a variety of colours ranging from deep red to soft pink and even ivory. This plant is thought to be extremely poisonous but changes in the floral industry, particularly in the use of herbicides and pesticides make this plant more of an irritant than a killer. It is the sap, rather than the leaves, that causes the irritation. The plant may cause mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or diarrhea. If the milky sap is exposed to skin, dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop. If your pet is showing any of these signs, contact your local vet.
Mistletoe – Mistletoe is a tradition in many families, but be careful that the sprig is securely attached while hanging. Poisoning can occur if your pet eats a large amount of the berries. If you do use mistletoe, try and remove the berries if you can. Symptoms of mistletoe poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, increased heart and respiratory rate. These symptoms could eventually lead to shock, coma, and ultimately death. In rare cases, an animal can go into shock or even die. Consult your vet immediately if your pet eats any amount of mistletoe berries.
Holly – The berries can be poisonous if large amounts are eaten. Your pet may experience stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. When Christmas or English holly is ingested, it can result in severe gastrointestinal upset, thanks to the spiny leaves and the potentially toxic substances. If ingested, most pets lip smack, drool, and head shake excessively due to the mechanical injury from the spiny leaves. Call your vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
To be on the safe side, keep your holiday plants out of reach of your dogs and cats during the holidays. If you suspect your pet has ingested any, contact your Veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline for treatment recommendations.

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