The holidays are a common time to put out festive decorations, including plants. Unfortunately, certain plants are dangerous if eaten by your dog or cat and can lead to an emergency animal hospital visit. This holiday season, keep your four-legged loved ones safe by avoiding these popular holidays plants.

Holiday Plants You Should Keep Your Pet Away From

1. Holly

With their red berries and deep green leaves, holly is a common Christmas plant. But if your pet eats the plant, they may experience diarrhea and vomiting. Holly also contains poisons that can irritate an animal’s throat and mouth and cause excessive drooling. If you notice any of these symptoms, bring your pet to an animal hospital immediately. To be safe, instead of buying holly, consider autumn olive plants. They have the same bright season colors, without the dangerous toxins.

2. Poinsettia

animal hospitalWalk into most homes and retail stores during the holiday season, and you’re likely to see bright and festive poinsettias. If your cat or dog eats their leaves, which contain toxic sap, they may become nauseous and vomit. Pay attention to any signs of lethargy or refusal to eat food. Call a vet right away for instructions on what to do. As an alternative to poinsettias, use red roses. Their colorful appearance will fit right in with your holiday decorations. And, the flowers are pet-friendly if they are consumed.

3. Pine Trees

If you have a live Christmas tree, chances are it’s a pine tree. The smell and sight of this popular variety are synonymous with the holidays. Unfortunately, pine leaves have oils that can trigger vomiting and stomach irritation in both dogs and cats. If the actual pine needles get swallowed, they can get stuck in their throats or cause indigestion. If this happens, take your pet to the animal hospital for emergency care. It’s worth investing in an artificial tree to keep your pets safe and healthy.

4. Mistletoe

Hanging from door entryways, mistletoe is another common holiday plant. If the leaves or berries fall on the floor and get eaten, pets are susceptible to a host of dangerous conditions, including hallucinations, respiratory issues, and even death. Get them to the animal hospital right away if you notice any unusual behaviors. Because of their toxicity, you should avoid bringing mistletoe into your home.


If your pet gets sick during the holidays, contact Cat & Dog Hospital of Columbia in Howard County, MD, for preventative and emergency pet treatment. You can always count on their team of veterinarians and staff to provide compassionate and thorough care for your dogs, cats, and other pets. Should you ever need their services, call this animal hospital at (410) 995-6880. Visit their website for more information about their services.