The holidays are a wonderful time of year, full of spending quality time and making memories. Your furry friends will love the extra time and attention with you, and the extra treats like dog christmas cookies, of course too. During the holidays, homes are filled with lots of new and interesting items that will surely pique dogs’ interests and curiosity. It is important to be mindful of the items you expose your dog to both inside and outside of the home; many safe things are mildly toxic to dogs. It’s essential to get the scoop on common holiday plants and décor’s potential toxicity for your beloved pet; keep reading to find out which of your favorite holiday staples are safe for Fido and which can pose a threat.
Christmas Cactus is not poisonous to dogs. However, as with many other common household plants and holiday staples, it can potentially cause illness in dogs or curious cats if ingested in large amounts. There are a lot of pet-friendly indoor plants and christmas plants that are not harmful, however, the sap inside may cause digestive irritation. Certain plants can cause skin irritation if your pet has sensitive skin.
Dogs’ Curious Nature
Dogs are naturally curious animals and love to explore using their senses of smell and taste to understand the world around them. Their instincts, descending from previous generations of wild ancestors, still are at play when your dogs investigate new plants, decorations, and gifts brought into your home.
Dogs can tell a lot more about the world around them using their sense of taste and smell than their humans can. Dog’s smell is estimated to be about 1,000 to 10,000 times stronger than humans . The power of smell tells a story when dogs sniff; for example, while a human might smell the scent of bread baking, a dog would be able to distinguish each ingredient. When your dog is investigating new plants like Christmas cactus and Poinsettia, they are gathering information that we are not able to sense. They may be smelling the scent of the person who harvested the plant or the scent of other animals that touched it in the plant nursery.
Dogs’ Chewing and Eating Behavior
There are many reasons why dogs will chew or eat undesired items, even when you stock the house with their favorite dog bones or dog toys. Depending on your dog’s age, chewing may be more mild or frequent and can develop into unhealthy habits if they are not channeled with proper training. It is vital to train your dog early on to mitigate the onset of chewing and destructive patterns. Make sure to pay attention to signs of nervousness or separation anxiety in dogs, as these can trigger destructive chewing behavior and eating inappropriate objects around the house.
1. Dogs chew to explore
When we bring home lots of new items, we have to remember that we are changing our dog’s environment. We are bringing in new sensations and must give our dogs time to investigate these new additions without scolding them. Dogs need an awareness of their territory to ease anxiety and keep them feeling comfortable.
2. Dogs Chew and Eat for Entertainment
Let’s face it; sometimes, our dogs get bored. While we are busy running around taking care of preparations for the holiday season, our furry friends are stuck at home. They may begin to get into newer objects because they are exciting and interesting and give your dog something to do—try today’s best chew toys for dogs. You can alleviate negative chewing behaviors by exercising your dog regularly so they can release pent-up energy and play with them.
Dogs chew and gnaw when they have built up nervous energy. Anxiety can occur when your furry friends have interactions with a lot of new people during the holiday season. Find out more about how to curb destructive chewing from the ASPCA .
3. Dogs Chew for Maintenance
Dogs maintain their teeth by chewing and gnawing on items. Help them by giving the best dental chews for dogs! When dogs chew grass and your favorite new holiday plants, it may be their form of self-care. Chewing keep tartar buildup from forming on your dog’s gums and strengthens their jaws. Puppies may experience pain when teething and may chew as a way to alleviate the pain of new teeth breaking through.
Is your puppy eating grass? Eating lots of grass or plants helps your dog’s digestive system too. The potassium and fiber found in different plants can help your dog’s food pass through the intestine easier, making for easier bowel movements and reduced digestive discomfort.
If your dog is continuously eating through objects in your house or constantly feeding, however, this could be a sign of a more serious medical condition like a tapeworm. Find out more about dog illnesses that may contribute to overeating.
Holiday Plant Safety for Dogs
We all love to fill our home with our favorite holiday staples to boost our holiday spirit. But we have to be mindful of the space we share with our family pets. Be sure that both the cactus and other holiday plants you bring home will expose your dogs and cats, especially if left unattended. Enjoy a joyous holiday, and rest assured that your pets are safe by reviewing the risks of bringing popular plants home this season.
Christmas Cactus are designated as safe for dogs; they are NOT poisonous to dogs, as confirmed by the ASPCA or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. However, this does not mean that dogs should have full access to eat Christmas cactus, as it can still pose some health risks if ingested. Both Christmas Cactus and its counterpart, the Easter Cactus, contain fibrous plant material. The fibrous material can cause digestive pain, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs when eaten in large quantities. Aggravation of the stomach and intestines may occur if consumed in large quantities.
Additionally, the sap inside Christmas cacti is considered an allergen for some dogs and may cause mild to severe digestive discomfort. Often, insecticides or fertilizers are used during the growing process, and both are considered toxic to dogs. Since it is often difficult to verify the origin of plants, especially if they were gifted to us, it is better not to take the chance and prohibit your dog from eating these plants.
Now onto the most common Christmas plant of the season, the Christmas tree! While the scent of fresh pine swirling through the house during the holiday season brings us much joy, the same is not always true for dogs, especially if ingested. Before posing your beloved dog with those adorable jingle bells and Christmas sweaters, you should understand the risk that Christmas trees pose.
Christmas trees themselves are generally considered non-toxic to dogs. However, the pine needles and the water supply are where issues may arise.
Those pesky pine needles that spread like wildfire are not only a pain to sweep up, but they may be a pain to your dog too. The oils from fir trees are known to cause digestive pain or oral irritation, causing both vomiting and excessive drooling. If swallowed, the sharp points on pine needs have the potential to puncture your dog’s intestinal lining.
One of the more significant risks to your pet’s health is in the tree’s water supply. If left unattended, your pet may mistake the water at the base of the tree as a bowl and use it as drinking water. Often times live trees are kept bright and vivid through the holiday seasons by using any combination of preservatives, insecticides, or fertilizers in the water, which can pose a serious threat to dogs. It is best to keep them from eating or drinking anything under the tree.
According to the AKC, poinsettias are considered mildly toxic to dogs. The milk-colored white sap contains chemicals that are similar to those found in household detergents. Meaning chemicals found in Poinsettias are known to cause vomiting, excessive drooling, and diarrhea upon consumption. Additionally, if the white sap rubs onto your dog’s skin it can cause skin irritation on sensitive skin. Generally, these symptoms will not be severe or fatal to your dog. However, should symptoms worsen over time, you should contact your vet immediately as a precaution.
1. Which cactus is poisonous to dogs?
Christmas Cactus and Easter cactus are both generally safe for dogs. Any type of cacti may cause digestive discomfort if your dog eats them in excess. Cactus needles can cause injury to your dog’s tongue and mouth as well.
2. Are Christmas cacti poisonous to dogs?
Most Christmas plants are generally safe to mildly toxic to dogs. The most popular type of holiday plants, Christmas trees, Poinsettia, and Christmas cactus, will cause vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling if ingested in large quantities.
3. Is cactus safe for dogs?
Cactus is considered safe to be around dogs. Dogs should be monitored to make sure that they are not consuming large amounts of the plant. Cactus needles are sharp and can puncture your dog’s tongue and mouth if ingested.