‘Highly toxic’ festive plants to keep away from pets – may cause ‘tremors or even fits’


As festive plants return to stores and into homes, Gtech has noticed that Google searches for poisonous Christmas plants, including enquiries about poinsettias, has increased by 120 percent over the last 12 months. To help those worried about which festive foliage might be harmful to cats and dogs, the company has shared an insight into which ones should be kept out of the way of four-legged friends.

1. Poinsettia

The experts said: “Poinsettias have long been associated with Christmas due to their colour and mid-winter bloom. Poinsettias belong to the Euphorbia family, which has a reputation for being highly toxic. 

“Luckily, poinsettias have a lower level of toxicity and only produce mild symptoms if ingested. However, they can still cause nausea and vomiting if eaten.”

This means it is best to keep them positioned on a higher surface in the home, where it cannot be reached by any pets at all.

2. Holly

An iconic Christmas plant, Holly is usually in lots of Christmas displays and decorations. The leaves of a holly bush are not poisonous, but according to the ports, the red berries are “very toxic” to animals.

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The experts said: “These red berries can trigger an upset stomach for pets, resulting in irritation, vomiting or diarrhoea, which is why they should be kept out of reach from them. Fortunately, the spiky nature of the leaves should help to deter any pets from getting too close.”

3. Mistletoe

The pros added: “This pretty plant is known to spark romance and sweet moments at Christmas time, and it has become a staple in many households during December. 

“Luckily, this festive greenery is relatively low toxic, and it is unusual for pets to develop any symptoms after consuming mistletoe. In the rare cases that pets do react to this plant, they are most likely to have a wobbly stance, tremors or even fits.

“Nevertheless, the traditional hanging placement of this plant should hopefully reduce the likelihood of any pets reaching it to take a taste.”

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4. Ivy

Ivy is often used as foliage in winter wreaths and garlands, so if it is found within the home, it’ll likely be in small quantities.

Nonetheless, this plant can cause pets stomach upset if consumed, and skin irritation if they come into direct contact with it.

The experts noted: “While furry animals, such as dogs and cats, will have some protection from coming into close contact with ivy, it is probably best to swap out ivy from any decorations that your pets can reach.”

5. Christmas trees

Christmas trees are found in most households that celebrate the day during the month of December. For those with a real tree, it is important to regularly clean up any needles which may have dropped.

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The pros said they are of low toxicity, but the pine needles can be sharp, causing cuts and irritation to the mouth and throat of any pets.

Lucy Rhead at Gtech commented: “Christmas plants can add an extra level of seasonal decoration to your home, bringing joy and colour during the winter months.

“However, Christmas can also be a tempting time for curious pets who want to explore the new decorations and scents that you have added to their home.  

“Our advice would be to research all the plants you keep in your home for any potential toxicity that could cause harm. 

“Keep anything that could be a danger out of reach of your pets, or simply replace them with more pet-friendly alternatives.”

Luckily, there are a variety of pet-friendly festive plants which would be perfect in any home. This includes the Christmas cactus, one of the names given to the Schlumbergera family of cacti.

According to Beards & Daisies, this gorgeous plant is “safe” around furry friends and children. The moth orchid, often given as gifts over the Christmas period, is also another pet-friendly plant.

Like the Christmas cactus, orchids are available in a variety of different colours including pink and white and will grow in a variety of different conditions.



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