Beware of toxic plants that might be harmful to pets

Holiday plant often mistaken as deadly,

Poinsettias are commonly recognized as a holiday plant with their beautiful, crimson red leaves that exude Christmas cheer. But as a pet owner, maybe you’ve only admired them from afar, thinking the plant is poisonous to pets.

Fear not: Contrary to popular belief breed from an urban legend, poinsettias are mildly toxic to pets, if at all, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.

The plant produces a milky white sap that, if consumed by your pet, can cause mild signs of gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, drooling or, rarely, diarrhea. If your pet’s skin is exposed to the milky sap, they could experience redness, swelling and itchiness. Generally, these symptoms are self-limiting but if they persist a trip to the veterinarian may be necessary.

If you suspect a pet has eaten a poinsettia and is displaying concerning symptoms, contact a veterinarian immediately. If a veterinarian is not available, the Pet Poison Helpline has a 24-hour consulting help line.

While the poinsettia may not be a poisonous plant, there are other “holiday” plants which are, including mistletoe, lilies, rosemary, holly, and its berries.

Cat biting holiday wreath made of fir, pine, mistletoe branches, cones decorated with golden ornaments. Pet having fun

It is wise to note that lilies are frequently used by florists in bouquets, so inspect any holiday floral arrangements brought into the home. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, just one or two bites from a lily can result in severe acute kidney failure in cats — even the pollen of the lily is considered highly toxic.

Ingestion of Christmas and English holly can result in severe gastrointestinal upset for dogs or cats. If ingested, most dogs and cats smack their lips, drool, and shake their heads excessively due to the mechanical injury from the spiny leaves.

While most of us hang mistletoe high enough so it’s out of reach of our dogs and cats, it can also be toxic if ingested. Mild signs of gastrointestinal irritation are common; if ingested in large amounts, collapse, low blood pressure, ataxia (loss of coordination), seizures or even death can occur.

While some holiday plants may be deadly, you need not banish poinsettias from the home for fear of a fatal exposure. Keeping poinsettias out of the reach of pets is still a good idea, but don’t let an urban myth prevent you from celebrating the holidays with a touch of floral style.

Equipping your employees with a My Pet Protection plan can provide additional comfort should their furry companions get into something they are not supposed to.