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Decorating for the holidays safely!

Having bright, ornamental plants is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. However, not every plant is safe to keep around your pets. Many plants that are used to decorate for the holidays can range from being mildly toxic to cause severe reactions. Most commonly, ingestion of the plant will cause gastrointestinal upsets, but more severe reactions have been observed.

Poinsettia Plant is the most common toxic plant seen during the holiday season. The sap from the poinsettia can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested as well as mouth and skin irritation.

mistletoe-michele-roohaniMistletoe is another plant that can be toxic to children and pets. If you are planning to decorate with this plant remove the berries if possible and tightly secure the sprigs. The symptoms that are usually seen if mistletoe is ingested are vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and an increased respiratory rate.

Holly’s red berries are toxic if ingested and will cause gastrointestinal upsets with vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, more severe symptoms, such as seizures and tremors, can be seen after ingestion. Decorating with artificial holly is the best option because cats, in particular, are attracted to this Christmas plant.

Christmas trees can be dangerous to curious pets and children as well. The oils from fir trees can be toxic and cause vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include mouth and skin irritation as well as excessive drooling. Ingestion of tree needles can be dangerous and cause a gastrointestinal obstruction that can need immediate attention and possibly surgery.

Also, remember that tinsel and ornaments can be attractive to pets, especially cats. Try to keep the glass and aluminum ornaments higher up where your pets cannot reach them. If ornaments are chewed they can cause lacerations in the mouth, throat, and intestines, as well as become a choking hazard.

The holiday season is a great time to enjoy meals with the family, but your pets should not be included in those meals. Fat trimmings and bones are hazardous to pets. Fat trimmings can cause an upset stomach and in some cases pancreatitis. Bones can cause choking and intestinal obstruction. The safest option is to offer your pets their own treats like carrots, green beans, and healthy dog treats.

The best way to keep your pet safe during the holiday season is to observe their interest in the plants and decoration. Inform your guests and family about the dangers of feeding your pet’s food from the table. Check the plant for signs of chewing or leaves missing. If you think that your pet has ingested or chewed on a houseplant, decoration, or toxic food contact us immediately to keep your pet safe. Keep the plants out of reach of curious dogs and cats and if you are concerned that they will ingest them it is best to decorate with the artificial plants.

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