8 Winter Plants That Are Unsafe for Dogs
During the winter season—especially the winter holidays—there are a variety of plants people might bring into their homes. You may not realize that some of these plants are dangerous for one reason or another. Your dog may be indoors and safe from the outdoor dangers of winter, but don't forget that certain plants may cause harm if your dog eats or chews on them.
Learn which winter plants you should keep out of your dog's reach. Here is a partial list of winter plants that are dangerous to dogs.
The Amaryllis is a beautiful red flower that is often grown indoors in the winter. Starting out as a bulb, this flowering plant develops bright red trumpet-shaped blossoms that are a pleasure to look at.
Unfortunately, the Amaryllis contains toxic substances like lycorine that poison dogs if eaten. Ingestion can lead to excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, and tremors. The bulb of this plant is considered to be more toxic than the stalk or flowers and stalk.
Other names for the Amaryllis include:
- Cape Belladonna
- Naked Lady
- Saint Joseph Lily
The Christmas Cactus is a year-round plant that is popular at Christmastime. This winter-flowering cactus is not actually poisonous to dogs. However, eating this the fibrous plant material can cause significant irritation to your dog's gastrointestinal tract. Consumption may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
The Christmas Cactus may also be called the Easter Cactus.
Daffodils are sometimes given as gifts around the holidays, whether potted or in floral arrangements. Unfortunately, the daffodil is poisonous when eaten by dogs. The bulb is the most toxic part, but other parts may still be harmful. Consumption of daffodil can lead to kidney disease in dogs.
Holly plants may be found both indoors and outdoors during the winter. The toxic effect of this plant come from soap-like chemicals called saponins. Ingestion of holly can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and lethargy. The stems of the holly plant are the most toxic, while the eaves and berries are lower in toxicity.
Various holly plant names include:
- English Holly
- European Holly
- Oregon Holly
- American Holly
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Mistletoe is very common around Christmas due to the tradition of kissing beneath it. Unfortunately, mistletoe contains multiple substances that are poisonous to dogs, including toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin.
Dogs that eat mistletoe berries or leaves can develop vomiting and diarrhea, low blood pressure, low heart rate, difficulty breathing, and neurologic complications.
Be sure to secure the mistletoe up high were is can't be reached by dogs and is unlikely to fall to the ground.
Many people love to bring a live pine tree into the house for Christmas. Unfortunately, several varieties of pine trees can have toxic effects on dogs.
Even non-toxic pine trees can cause complications. Dogs that eat pine needles risk gastrointestinal upset. In addition, the Christmas tree water can contain pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria, and other harmful substances that may make your dog sick if he drinks it.
Many different pin trees have toxic effects when dogs eat them. This includes but is not limited to the Australian, Norfolk, and Norfolk Island Pine. The exact toxic mechanism in these pines is not understood.
Many people are aware that Poinsettia plants can be harmful to dogs. However, this is probably one of the least dangerous plants on this list. Poinsettias are not truly poisonous. However, the sap in these plants, when ingested, can cause vomiting and oral irritation. It's still best to keep Poinsettias out of reach to keep your dog from experiencing unpleasant effects after nibbling on the flowers or leaves.
Be prepared to act quickly if you suspect your dog has been poisoned. Keep a list of important phone numbers in a visible, easily accessible location. Save the numbers to your cell phone as well. Be sure pet sitters and other people who might be in your home are aware of the location of the list. The following phone numbers should be included:
- Your primary veterinarian
- One or more nearby 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics
- ASPCA Poison Control: (888) 426-4435 (possible fee)
- Pet Poison Hotline: 800-213-6680 (possible fee)
- An emergency contact number for you and your dog's co-owner (if applicable).