Chewing on plants is one of the unexplained behaviors that dogs and cats sometimes show. Scientists and practicing vets don’t know why exactly our four-legged friends chew plants, but they offer some possible reasons for this behavior, including a lack of micronutrients, the need to induce vomiting or get rid of intestinal parasites, or just liking how the plants taste.
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Unfortunately, cats and dogs aren’t always repelled by plants that may hurt them. If you have a cat or a dog, you should know which plants to keep away from your pet, regardless of the reason why he or she likes to chew them! Here are a few plants to be wary of during the holiday season.
4 holiday plants to keep away from your pet
Mistletoe and holly
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Mistletoe and holly are popular holiday plants, and wreaths made from them look cute, but it’s best to keep these plants out of your home if you have a dog or a cat. The plants are toxic both to cats and dogs and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and trouble breathing if eaten.
Evergreen Christmas trees
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Cats and dogs may get a great kick out of knocking down Christmas trees, such as pines and fir trees. But it’s not fun when your overly curious pet eats this tree's needles. They may cause irritation of the mouth and tongue, diarrhea, vomiting, and, sometimes, puncture wounds.
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Poinsettia is less toxic than some other common plants, but it’s still not worth the risk. The plant isn’t known to cause fatal poisoning, but dogs and cats that have eaten the plant are likely to develop nausea and vomiting.
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Lilies are beautiful, sure, but don’t bring them into your home if you have a cat. According to ASPCA, lilies aren’t toxic to dogs, but if your cat ingests any part of the plant, the animal is likely to develop severe symptoms, such as heart rhythm problems, a whole range of gastrointestinal issues, kidney failure, and seizures.
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What to know before you bring any plant into your home
The four plants listed above are just a few among hundreds of plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. Before you bring any plant into your home, look it up and check if it’s safe for your furry friend.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic plant (or any toxic material, for that matter), the first thing you should do is call the vet immediately.
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Be prepared to provide the following information:
- your pet’s breed, weight, and age;
- name of the plant or other material the animal ingested;
- if possible, the time of ingestion and the amount of material ingested;
- signs and symptoms your pet has developed.
Note: Don’t induce vomiting unless the vet tells you to do so. Keep your pet safe!