Common Christmas plants can be poisonous to pets

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:39

    Christmas decorations and plants are great for helping us humans get in the Christmas spirit. However, many of these plants can be dangerous to our pets. The following is a list of poisonous plants and common symptoms if ingested by a pet: Poinsettia The flower itself is not poisonous; however, the sap from its leaves is considered to be poisonous. The sap may cause skin irritation and if ingested may irritate the oral cavity and cause a gastroenteritis. If the sap gets onto your pet, immediately wash the area with soap and water. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of irritation. Mistletoe The berries of the mistletoe plant are poisonous. The berries can cause excessive salivation, gastroenteritis, increased breathing, increased heart rate and/or excessive urination. If ingested in sufficient quantities, the reaction may be fatal. Holly The berries from the holly plant are also poisonous and gastrointestinal symptoms may be seen as a result of ingestion. Bittersweet The entire plant is toxic, although once again the berries are the most dangerous part. They contain a substance called solanine that can cause gastroenteritis, bradycardia (slow heart rate), sedation, respiratory distress and possible coma. Jerusalem Cherry The berries also contain solanine, with the above symptoms. Boxwood Boxwood twigs and leaves contain a substance called buxene, which can cause gastroenteritis, convulsions, and respiratory distress. Remember that pets are curious. Puppies and kittens cannot resist the temptation to investigate their surroundings, so decorate your homes responsibly. This article was submitted by George C. Chondris, D.V.M., at the Companion Animal Hospital of Washingtonville. To find out more, visit the hospital’s Web site at You can also find it on Facebook at cahwash.