The Holidays are upon us, and many of us are decorating their homes. Pet owners need to be aware that some plants used can be dangerous if not toxic to dogs. Knowing which plants to avoid, can avoid danger to your dog. Your best defense is knowledge. A few of the most common problems are listed below. Dogs will often chew plants for additional roughage. Puppies are the most frequent offenders. However, a lot of dogs are prone to this behavior. The general recommendation is to keep Holiday plants out of reach of your pets. Here are a few of the most common plants that should be kept away from your pet:
Although most people believe that the poinsettia plant is deadly, it is unlikely that a small amount ingested will be lethal. That said, if the leaves are ingested, it can cause nausea and vomiting which is not fun for your dog or you! The bigger concern would be a plant that has been treated with a pesticide. The size and weight of your dog would determine the reactions, but puppies and small dogs would be at the highest risk. Severe reactions would include, seizures, coma and in some cases, death. Personally, I only keep them in areas where the dogs don’t have access and are safely gated.
Holly and Mistletoe
These plants, including the berries, are more dangerous than the poinsettia plant. Mistletoe, while very popular, if ingested, are an absolute trip to the vet. This plant contains substances that can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems and unusual behavior (hallucinations). Keeping this plant away from your dog is an absolute must.
The Christmas Tree
Most folks are concerned about the lights and ornaments, which is a great concern, but there are more dangers… There are oils contained in fir trees that can be irritating to your dog’s mouth and stomach. This can cause vomiting and drooling. The bigger concern is where the tree needles cause your dog great discomfort; it can also cause gastrointestinal obstruction and puncture.
The best policy is to opt for safety. If you bring one of these plants home, place them in an area that is out of reach for your dog. An alternative is to buy imitation plants. Should you find yourself in a position where your dog has ingested one of these, consult your veterinarian immediately or contact poison control.