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Toxic winter and holiday plants for pets

Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 10:55 am

This is the time of year we are all busy with holiday plans, but it is also a good time to review your house plant list and your backyard plants to ensure your pets are safe. Many plants, both inside and out, take on a different appearance in winter, so it is good to review some basic botanicals which may be harmful to your animals or possibly even children. This is a very short list of things that you should be aware of, and if you want to research this topic at length, the internet is a great resource for specific information.

Cats and dogs are spending most of their time indoors with the change of season, so check your winter house plant inventory. First on the holiday list is the Poinsettia (Family: Euphorbiaceae; Botanical name: Euphorbia pulcherrima). These colorful beauties can cause vomiting if cats or dogs ingest them, so place them out of reach of tongues or paws and double check that floor! Make sure that if your Poinsettia plant sheds any leaves that you clean them up from the floor immediately. Another popular plant acquisition during this time of year is Mistletoe (Viscum album (LINN.) Family: N.O. Loranthaceae). Common reactions can be nausea and diarrhea followed by death if the animal has ingested the berries or leaves. If your cat or dog displays any symptoms, consult your veterinarian and be prepared to describe what parts of the plant the pet has ingested – leaves, berries, or stems.

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