Oh it’s the most wonderful time of the year.  The lights are up, the carols are sung, and that extra cup of eggnog is filling everyone with holiday spirit.  Yet, hiding among all this hope and good cheer, lurk some very real dangers for your furry friends.

Potential Harmful Holiday Plants

Mistletoe - While you may think that you’re pretty slick strategically hanging the mistletoe, hoping to sneak a smooch or two at the Christmas party, be careful if you happen to share your home with family members of the furry variety.  Both the leaves and berries of this festive foliage are highly toxic to pets.  If ingested in small amounts, mistletoe can cause both dogs and cats to experience intense abdominal pain, as well as a sudden drop in blood pressure, problems with breathing and hallucinations.  If ingested in larger mounts, animals can experience seizures, and even death.  The takeaway?  If you happen to share your home with a four-legged friend, you may be better off keeping the mistletoe out of your house all together.  Sorry, Casanova, you’ll have to acquire your kisses some other way.  

The Tree - Even the solemn symbol of the holiday season itself can prove menacing.  If your curious critter decides to gnaw on the branches a bit, they could be in for an unfortunate surprise.  The oils that fir trees produce can irritate the mouths and stomachs of both cats and dogs.  This can cause excessive drooling and vomiting.  If your pets are a bit more zealous and manage to actually get a real bit of your tree, the situation could get a bit worse.  The needles can cause damage to the digestive system, as well as obstructions, neither of which will come as a welcome gift, and will most certainly cost you a great deal of time and money at the vet’s office.  

Poinsettia - Over the years, this holiday staple has gotten quite a reputation as a possible holiday hazard to pets and children.  It is true that the sap that is emitted from the leaves is irritating to the mouth and throat (of pets and toddlers alike), which can cause nausea and even vomiting.  However, thankfully, the likelihood that your oet or offspring would be able to consume enough to put them in any serious danger is very low.  That being said, however, it is still best practice to keep your ruby-colored beauty up and out of reach of any would-be nibbler.  

Deck the Halls

While holiday decorations can help to set the mood and put everyone in the spirit, some decor choices can put pets in potential danger.

Tinsel - layering on the tinsel can really make your tree sparkle, but it can also land you in your local veterinarian’s office with a hefty bill.  If cats or dogs eat tinsel, they can develop what is called a linear forgein body, which will need immediate surgical intervention.  

Ornaments - it is one of the most time-honored holiday traditions, carefully unpacking each ornament and choosing the perfect spot on the tree.  As wholesome and Norman Rockwell-esque as it may appear, even the Christmas ornaments can spell danger for your pets.  Unfortunate though it may be, those glittering, shiny pieces strewn, ever so carefully, upon your tree can prove just too tempting for some animals and when they hit the ground, your floor becomes a literal minefield.  On average a trip to the vet to fix up a laceration from a broken ornament will run you round $329.00 bucks.  Not to mention, you'll have to explain to Nanny that her favorite family ornament, that she reluctantly gave to you last year, has met its untimely fate.  That is not a conversation that we envy having.