Holiday Safety for Children and Pets
We all enjoy the holidays and love giving holiday plants and decorating our homes but many of these can be toxic to humans and pets. Remember plastic or artificial flowers and decorations can be harmful to children and pets also.
Here are some popular holiday plants and their toxic effects:
- Amaryllis hippeastrum Eating the bulb can cause abdominal pain.
- Christmas Trees Cedar Ingesting the bark can cause abdominal pain. The sap may cause an itchy skin rash.
- Holly Berries - Eating 1 or 2 berries should be OK. More than 2 berries can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Minnesota Poison Control says 20 berries can kill a child.
- Jerusalem Cherry - Ingesting can cause vomiting, skin redness, drowsiness or restlessness, and hallucinations. Seizures are rare, but possible.
- Mistletoe phoradendron - All parts of mistletoe contain toxins. If ingested, mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. According to California Poison Control, one to two berries or leaves eaten by a child will NOT result in serious harm. If you hang mistletoe in your home during the holidays, place it in a piece of netting or a plastic sandwich bag to prevent leaves and berries from dropping to the ground where kids and pets can eat them.
- Poinsettia euphorbia - Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias have been considered safe for the holiday home since the 1970's. Eating several leaves can give you a stomach ache though, and the sap can cause skin rash. Wash away sap with soap and water.
- Pyracantha You can eat a large number of berries before getting a stomach ache. Like the poinsettia, this plant is considered safe by experts.
- Rosary Pea or Jequirity Bean - Very Dangerous - These berries are very dangerous. They can be swallowed whole, but can be life-threatening if they are chewed prior to swallowing. Vomiting and abdominal pain occurs within a few hours after swallowing, followed by bloody diarrhea
Holiday Pet Poisoning Prevention Tips:
During the busy Holiday Season, it is important to remember that plants and decorations can be harmful and even toxic to both animals and humans. Dogs and Children are especially prone to poisoning as they will often eat almost anything.
Avoid potential pet dangers with some preventive measures this holiday season.
- NO CHOCOLATE - Don't allow your dog to eat chocolate. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which acts very much like caffeine. Too much theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, restlessness, excitement, tremors, seizures, and even coma.
- NO ALCOHOL - Don't feed your pets alcohol or illicit drugs. It is dangerous. Many pets have had to be treated at an emergency vet clinic because of the foolishness of their owners.
- EMERGENCY NUMBERS - Have the phone number of your veterinarian and the emergency vet number posted. Keep the poison center number handy. If you suspect a pet poisoning, do not wait to call. Prompt attention may make a crucial difference in your pet's health.
- POISON CONTROL CENTER - To make your dog vomit at home (under the direction of a health professional), use 3% household hydrogen peroxide. Have a bottle on hand and always call before using it. http://www.aapcc.org/dnn/default.aspx
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