by Carol Stevens
Huerfano- Holidays are always a wonderful and joyous time. Decorations and treats flow throughout the house. They are beautiful, but they also may be deadly to your family pet. For example, tinsel and chocolate can be fatal or cause severe illness. Also, pets may chew on electrical cords and wiring if they are not hidden.
Flowers and plants add special beauty to any holiday, and they make great gifts. But if your family includes pets, you may want to learn which plants are safe and which ones you need to avoid. Here is a list of plants to avoid. Remember that ingesting bulbs often causes the most severe illnesses.
Holly (Ilex sp.). This plant, commonly found around Christmas time, can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression.
Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.). Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, tremors, drooling and abdominal pain.
Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.). This plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, it has been associated with difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, collapse and, if a lot is ingested, death. Some animals may show erratic behavior or hallucinations.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia). This plant can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting. It has a low level of toxicity and is basically non-toxic.
Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, Easter cactus (Schlumbergera or Zygocactus). In dogs, if large quantities of this plant are ingested, vomiting and diarrhea (possibly with blood) and depression have been reported. These plants are considered low toxicity plants.
Keep holiday plants, decorations, and candy out of reach of your pets. Next week we will discuss the less common but still toxic winter holiday plants.