Holiday Plants and Pet Safety

Many of us decorate our homes with plants during the holiday season. There are certain species of houseplants and flowers that are more popular during this festive time of year. However, if you have pets in your household, you should know which holiday plants are safe and which are toxic. Cats and dogs are known to eat houseplants, so it is best to avoid those that are dangerous. Here is the lowdown on 4 popular holiday plants and pet safety.


Mistletoe: Toxic

Mistletoe is a common holiday decoration, however, it is toxic if ingested by both humans and animals. Luckily, it is usually hung overhead, out of reach of children and pets. European mistletoe is more toxic than the American variety. Both the leaves and berries are poisonous if eaten.


Poinsettia: Mildly Toxic

The brightly-colored leaves of the poinsettia plant are popular during the winter holidays. Poinsettias are mildly toxic to children and pets and may cause stomach upset and a mouth rash. Large amounts of the plant would need to be consumed for it to cause much concern.


Christmas Cactus: Safe

The Christmas cactus is a harmless succulent. It is non-toxic to dogs and cats. It does have pointed pads, but they are not sharp like other cacti. These plants are great decorations for the holidays because they bloom during December and January. Their flowers can be pink, white, red, orange, and yellow. A Christmas cactus makes a great gift to any pet-lover in your life.


Holiday Plants and Pet Safety: Fir Tree

Hands down, the most common living holiday decoration is the tree. Holiday trees are usually firs, often Douglas firs. While most pet owners believe that the greatest risk involving trees and pets is the tree getting knocked over, firs are also mildly toxic.


The oils from tree needles and branches can cause an upset stomach and vomiting if ingested. Also, the sharp needles can be hard on the digestive system. Keep an eye on animals when they are near the tree so they don’t knock it over or taste it.


Pets are also known to drink the water, which will make your tree dry out more quickly, and a dry tree is more of a fire hazard. One way to keep pets away from the tree is to apply a bitter apple spray to it. Animals dislike the taste and smell of this product, which is used as a deterrent to keep pets from chewing on things.


Polar Home Inspections provides inspections for home buyers and sellers to Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment.