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Christmas plants - be aware of the dangers.

Poinsettia Plant     

The poinsettia plant’s brightly coloured leaves contain a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth, If the leaves are eaten, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most pets will not eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap.Puppies and kittens -- are at the highest risk. Severe reactions to the plant include seizures, coma, and in some cases, death.

Holly and Mistletoe

Holly and mistletoe are also popular Christmas plants. These plants, along with their berries, have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. Symptoms of illness from eating these plants include vomiting and diarrhoea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain.

Mistletoe contains multiple substances that are toxic to both dogs and cats, including toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin (Lectins, Phoratoxins). Mistletoe is well known for causing severe intestinal upset, as well as a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, and even hallucinations . If a large enough amount of these plants are eaten, seizures and death may follow. The leaves and berries of holly and mistletoe plants, even the dried plants, should be kept well out of your pet's reach, or kept out of the home altogether.

Lilies and Daffodils

Both popular gift items at this time of year, plants in the lily and daffodil can be toxic to pets. In cats, Lilium and Hemerocallis genera lilies are the most dangerous. Eating even a small amount of the plant will have a severe impact on a cat's system, causing severe symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, heart irregularities and convulsions. Daffodils are also toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Amaryllis

The beauty of the flowering Amaryllis is matched by its toxicity. The Amaryllis contains Lycorine and other noxious substances, which cause salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain, lethargy, and tremors in both cats and dogs. The bulb of the plant is reputed to be even more dangerous than the flowers and stalk.

The Amaryllis also goes by other names, including Belladonna, Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna, and Naked Lady.

The Christmas Tree

There are other dangers to consider with the good ol' Yule tree other than lights and ornaments. The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet's mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and puncture.

Additionally, the water used to nourish Christmas trees can be noxious. Bacteria, moulds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.

Be sure to check out our other advice for a pet safe Christmas here

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