For a carefree, happy holiday, we need to be aware of special hazards that our festivities can create for our pets. Knowing them, we can avoid them.
First, there are four major holiday plants that are commonly used this time of year. The poinsettias have always been on this list, even though the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has recently stated that the toxic potential of this plant is overstated. Still, the white sap from this plant can cause gastrointestinal irritations; some symptoms may be increased salivation, vomiting and diarrhea. It is easier to place the plants up where your pets can't get to them, than to have to stop and clean up after them.
Remember that cats can jump higher than most dogs, and cats like to rub and nibble on indoor plants too.
The second plant to handle with care is mistletoe. All parts of the plant are toxic, even the berries, and since the berries are apt to drop off as the sprig dries out, care should be taken when placing these plants over doorways or in halls. Mistletoe may cause severe symptoms including seizures and since the minimum dose has not yet been determined, it is best to check the floor under any hanging sprigs and clean up immediately.