Are Christmas Plants dangerous for our Pets?

dangerous-christmas-plants-1024x536 Are Christmas Plants dangerous for our Pets?

Looking at Christmas from a dog’s perspective, lots of exciting and unusual things appear in your home, making it a very appealing time for them to get into all kinds of mischief. There are many interesting wrapped gifts, sparkling decorations, enticing foods and unusual trees and plants. Your dog will no doubt be interested in them all, but it is mainly the flora and foliage that may be of interest. Below are some of the poisonous Christmas plants for dogs.

When bringing anything new into your home, it is essential to assess if there will be any risk to your pet or impact them. Considering these risks, here is our list of the most popular Christmas plants that are more common in our homes during the festive season and details of their suitability for having them around your dogs.

Christmas Trees

christmas-4770743_1280-1024x632 Are Christmas Plants dangerous for our Pets?

There are many varieties of Christmas Trees, with most of them having low toxic levels if chewed or swallowed, but you could find that if the needles from the branches are chewed, the oil may irritate the dog’s stomach and mouth. Fir tree needles are also very sharp and may cause perforation or cuts to the mouth if munched. Look out for symptoms of excess saliva, diarrhoea and sickness.

Decorations on your Christmas tree will also be tempting for your inquisitive pet, who may consider them toys. Yet, if chewed, glass baubles can splinter, tinsel will cause a stomach blockage if swallowed, and tree lights, if damaged, can result in electric shock if the cable is snapped. Take care if you erect your Christmas Tree in the room where your pets are allowed, and never leave your animals alone to get up to mischief.


Thanks to its sharp leaves and bitter taste, most dogs will probably not eat the holly leaves, but they are considered toxic if ingested. It takes only a tiny amount of holly to make your pet quite ill. The holly leaves are spikey, so they can easily scratch your dog’s eyes and ears. Take care if he thinks the branches are for pulling at and retrieving. The red berries are beautiful in winter, but if eaten, they can cause an upset stomach.


Prolonged or substantial skin contact with this vine can result in an allergic reaction, skin dermatitis or severe irritation. If consumed, a tummy upset may ensue.


We all love the vibrant red colours of the Poinsettia plant, yet while it’s often reported as highly toxic, recent studies have shown that ingestion of this plant may not be as harmful as previously thought. If you have these plants in your home, keep them well out of the reach of your pets to avoid any irritation if eaten. Look out for vomiting, excessive salivation, and irritation to the stomach and mouth.


In recent years, mistletoe has had a revival and is now very popular in the festive home when making wreaths and table centrepieces. Mistletoe is poisonous to pets, especially if the white berries are eaten. Severe health symptoms may arise, including heart problems, breathing difficulties, gastrointestinal upsets, brain and nerve damage, and in extreme cases, death. If you insist on having mistletoe in your home, keep it high so your dog cannot reach it, and of course, make sure no berries fall onto the floor, where he can easily pick them up.

Many other species of plants are dangerous for your pets. Although bringing them into our homes at Christmas is traditional, it’s wise to know which ones are safe before you buy them. Do some research, or ask your local garden centre for advice.


This plant is often used to brighten up homes in the winter because it flowers around Christmas for around ten weeks.

If your dog gets hold of this plant, it can cause loss of appetite, diarrhoea, vomiting, tremors and lethargy.


What to do if your dog eats one of these poisonous Christmas plants for dogs

Should the worst happen and your dog manage to chew on one of these festive plants, the symptoms can range from mild to very serious.

As with festive food, some festive plants will not be a major problem and may cause your dog to feel unwell. However, others can be more serious. Whatever the case, it is important to contact your Vet for help and advice as soon as possible or phone vetfone.

On behalf of Finchley Dog Walker, Have a happy and safe Christmas

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