This Howliday Season, ‘Deck the Halls’ without the holly!
Although boughs of holly and mistletoe are beautiful and traditional decorations, they are harmful to your pets! Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea while mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Many holiday varieties of lilies can also cause kidney failure in cats.
Before entertaining the guests, decorate your home with silk or plastic artificial plants or a pet-friendly bouquet for the purrfect celebration!
And be sure to check your yard and garden before letting your pets run free to play. Running paws through fresh cut grass, eating nearby blossoming flowers and licking slugs is what dogs LOVE to do! But, some garden flowers and plants can cause harm to our furry friends. Especially if you live in the desert areas – all Cacti are prickly to their paws! Christmas Cactus is toxic to dogs and ingesting the leaves, flowers or branches causes bloody diarrhea, depression and vomiting.
For any emergency – contact the Pet Poison Hotline.
“Many of the calls that we receive at Pet Poison Helpline this time of year involve pet ingestions of yard and garden products that may have harmful chemicals or ingredients,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, at Pet Poison Helpline. “Additional yard-related emergencies involve pets that have dug into and ingested the contents of compost piles, or consumed various plants and flowers that can be poisonous.”
Watch out for these toxic plants in the yard:
– Mulch products that contain cocoa beans, which is made from by-products of chocolate production. The chocolatey smell of the mulch can lure pets to eat it, and with toxins like theobromine and caffeine, ingesting mulch with higher concentrations can be harmful to our four-legged friends. Mulch products with low concentrations are not as dangerous, but high concentrations can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death.
– Fertilizers that contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron. Although tasty, these products can form a concentration in the stomach that can obstruct the gastrointestinal tract and cause severe pancreatitis.
– Pesticides and insecticides can be life threatening, even if eaten in small amounts.
– Slug and snail baits may keep the slimy, slow-moving creatures away, but the active ingredient, metaldehyde, is highly poisonous to both dogs and cats. When ingested, metaldehyde produces clinical signs of distress within one to two hours, including salivation, restlessness, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and life-threateningly high body temperature. These baits are highly toxic and without immediate veterinary attention, symptoms can last for several days and can be fatal.
– Acting as an incubator for mold, compost can be toxic for pets and wildlife. Eating Moldy food or compost can cause sickness and physical distress with symptoms such as, agitation, panting, drooling, tremors and seizures.
– Aloe Vera benefits humans in many ways including acting as a soothing salve for burns. While the gel inside the leaves is okay for dogs, the outer leaves contain saponins that cause diarrhea, nausea, tremors and vomiting.
– Apple trees and cherry trees are also toxic to dogs. The stems, leaves and seeds contain cyanide. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, dilated pupils, panting and shock.
– Asparagus ferns are commonly found inside homes in hanging baskets. The toxic plants contain sapogenins that cause allergic dermatitis. If the plant forms berries, the berries cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
– Azaleas and rhododendrons contain grayantoxin in all areas of the plant. Grayantoxins affect muscle and nerve function causing a number of symptoms including colic, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, weakness, slowed heart function, and paralysis of the legs.
– Clematis vines have large, showy flowers that are prized blooms, but they contain the toxin protoanemonin. This irritant causes diarrhea, excessive drool and vomiting in dogs.
– Dense Privet hedges create natural fencing in gardens but the needles and branches contain terpenoid glycosides, a toxin that causes intestinal upset, loss of balance and coordination and a racing heart in pets.
– Eucalyptus branches are also toxic to dogs. The eucalyptus oil causes depression, diarrhea, excessive drooling, lethargy and vomiting.
– If you have garlic in your vegetable garden, keep dogs out of it. Garlic contains N-propyl disulfide, a toxin that causes blood in urine, deterioration of red blood cells, lethargy, panting and rapid heartbeat.
– Hosta plants are also toxic since they contain saponins that cause depression, diarrhea and vomiting in dogs.
– Red maple trees are also dangerous for your dogs. If they eat the leaves, their red blood cell function may be impaired. Symptoms of red maple poisoning include abdominal pain, change in urine color, darkened eye and mouth membranes, dog founder (inflamed paw), lack of appetite and lethargy.
– Rhubarb is a great treat when cooked into a dessert for humans, but for dogs the leaves and uncooked roots contain soluable calcium oxalates. This toxic acid causes excessive drool, kidney failure and tremors.
While pretty and aromatic, pets should avoid these flowers and plants at all costs:
– Lily of the Valley, which contains cardiac glycosides, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate severe cardiac arrhythmias and seizures if eaten by a dog or a cat.
– Crocuses that bloom in the spring can cause an upset tummy, but fall crocuses can cause a much more dire situation for both dogs and cats. Also called the Meadow Saffron or Colchicum autumnale, this flower can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding and multisystem organ failure with bone marrow suppression. Symptoms can be immediate or delayed for days.
– Lilies, specifically the Tiger, Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show and Day lilies, are deadly and highly toxic to cats. Even if only eaten in small amounts, including the water from a vase, the exposure to pollen can result in severe kidney failure.