Alternative Holiday Plants To Keep Around Pets

The holiday season is here; and homeowners are decking the halls with boughs of holly; however, pets are not sharing the same enthusiasm. Some popular holiday plants can make dogs and cats extremely ill, if ingested. Here are top holiday plants that make dogs sick along with alternatives to consider planting around the house:

1. Poinsettia: Probably the most iconic holiday plant. However, this plant contains sap that is irritable to dogs and can cause swelling of the mouth and esophagus. Vomiting can occur if leaves are ingested.

Alternative: Red Roses. These blooms are not only romantic, but they are considered deer-resistant and can keep deer away from

2. Holly: Sorry, no mistletoe for dogs. Holly is a toxic plant that has a greater toxicity level than poinsettia for companion animals. Mistletoe can cause breathing problems, hallucinations, a drop in blood pressure, upset stomach and other intestinal complications. 

Alternative: Autumn leaves have similar buds as holly, but not even close to the level of toxicity making it a safe alternative plants to be around dogs.

3. Daffodils: While daffodils are commonly planted in yards for deer resistance, it's best to keep them away from pets, too. A small amount ingested can leave cats with gastrointestinal issues, convulsions and other health concerns. 

Alternative: White orchids can be replaced for either daffodils or lilies. They look great in homes and create a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

4. The Christmas Tree: Some conifers, such as pine and fir, contain oils that can irritate pets' mouths and stomachs. Tree needles can lead to gastrointestinal irritation and punctures, if ingested. What's worse, the Christmas tree comes with other concerns for pet owners such as the lights and ornaments dangling from the tree. While pets may first view both as toys, they can cause serious health issues beyond choking if chewed on.

Alternative: Christmas Cactus. This type of holiday plant makes our nice and naughty list. While pet owners will not have to worry about irritants from the tree as with Christmas furs, the needles on the Christmas Cactus can prick dogs and lead to choking hazards, if ingested.

5. Amaryllis: Beautiful, but dangerous. Amaryllis plants can leave pets drooling excessively with a decrease in appetite, abdominal pains and vomiting. 

Alternative: Achira plants. This type of plant looks similar to Amaryllis, but do not have high levels of toxicity. Not only are achira plants pet-friendly, but they can be used in cooking as an alternative to cornstarch. 

These top holiday plants must be avoided at all costs by pets. Keep close watch on pets that are sniffing around these holiday plants and consider alternative pet-friendly plants to grow and leave around the house this Hanukkah and Christmas.


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