following article was written by PETA intern Keegan Baur.
I am thinking of a plant indigenous to
Mexico. Its dark-green leaves are crowned by the plant's signature fire-engine
red petal-like leaves, which form the pattern of a star. It is one of the top
three plants most commonly associated with Christmas, right along with
mistletoe and holly. If you guessed poinsettia, you're right on the money! Many of us happily decorate our homes with
traditional holiday flora, but it's important to protect our beloved and
oh-so-curious companion animals from harmful intoxication.
Surprisingly enough, poinsettias are not
actually poisonous. However, poinsettia sap can irritate the skin, and
consumption of any part of the plant can cause severe oral irritation and an
upset stomach. Some signs that your animal may have ingested this plant include
vigorous head-shaking, excessive drooling, and frequent pawing at the head or
While red poinsettia leaves aren't
toxic, holly leaves and berries are. At first glance, those small red
fruits seem innocent enough, but they can induce vomiting and diarrhea and can
even be fatal if a large enough quantity is consumed.
Ingestion of mistletoe
can also be dangerous. Symptoms may include nausea, excessive drooling and
urination, diarrhea, vomiting, and low blood pressure. Low blood pressure
causes increased respiratory and heart rates and—if severe enough—can lead to
shock and death.
In addition to these, there are many
other common holiday plants that are also poisonous, including the highly toxic
Amaryllis plant and even the mildly toxic fir tree!
However, no matter the "level" of toxicity of any given plant, you
should always closely monitor your
animals and keep floral decor well out of their reach. In addition, please keep
your companion animals away from the Christmas tree in order to prevent
possible accidents and harm.
one of your animals does ingest a houseplant—any houseplant—always play it safe
and immediately call your veterinarian or the 24-hour Pet Poison Helpline (1-800-213-6680)
for further guidance.
If any of these sources are unresponsive, call PETA immediately, day or night, at 757-622-7382
(then dial 2). Keep these numbers easily accessible in order to
receive assistance as quickly as possible. Provide as much information as you
can, including the type of plant consumed, the quantity, how long ago the
animal consumed it, and any symptoms exhibited by the animal.
Again, it's best to prevent disaster by
keeping your companion animals away from any seasonal plants. Keep in mind that
many of these plants are available in artificial (and therefore animal-safe!)
varieties. During the holidays, let's all ensure that our companion animals
stay safe, happy, and healthy so that they can celebrate the season right along
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.