Christmas decorations are fun and beautiful, but some holiday décor is hazardous to pets – often leading to severe illness and death.

To avoid spending the most wonderful time of the year at the emergency vet’s office, use extreme caution (or avoid altogether) these five most-dangerous Christmas decorations:


Tinsel is the most-dangerous Christmas decoration of them all. Its shiny appearance lures in even the best-behaved of pets and can cause intestinal obstruction if even a few strands are consumed. Intestinal obstruction can lead to death.


Mistletoe (including its berries) contains pharatoxin viscumin and toxalbumin – substances that are toxic to both cats and dogs. If ingested, abdominal pain, breathing problems, drop in blood pressure, diarrhea, excessive drooling, hallucinations, seizures, and death are possible.


Holly and its berries are also toxic to cats and dogs, whether fresh or dried. Symptoms are similar to those of mistletoe, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and vomiting. Seizures and death can occur if a large amount is consumed.


Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias aren’t the most toxic plants to pets. The plant’s leaves contain a sap that irritates the mouth’s tissue and esophagus, and it can cause nausea and vomiting. A large amount of poinsettia matter has to be consumed before the pet is poisoned, and the irritation from the plant’s taste and texture generally detours animals from consuming such amounts.

Liquid Potpourri

Liquid potpourri is extremely toxic to cats; dogs aren’t as susceptible to potpourri toxicity, but caution should still be taken when using liquid potpourri. Just a few licks can cause cats to experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, corrosive mouth burns, dehydration, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, dry heaving, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, tremors, pawing at mouth, vomiting, and weakness.

If your pet consumes any of the above – or any other holiday decoration that he shouldn’t have – contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline* (800-213-6680) right away for life-saving action.

*Please note, the Pet Poison Helpline is offered 24/7 to residents of the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean for a fee of $49 per incident.

Share this story with your friends and family to ensure the safety of their beloved pets, and remember, the best product for your pets is the one that makes them happy and healthy!

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