Choosing Your Pet-Friendly Christmas Plants

PET CHECK BLOG - No. 10 Downing Street Christmas Door Wreath

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\\\ updated Winter 2022

Have You Chosen Your Pet-Friendly Christmas House Plants?

Christmas is a busy time for householders and part of the festivities can include decorating your house with natural wreaths, garlands, trees, plants, shrubs, and pot plants giving them to friends, family, and colleagues as Christmas presents.

Wreaths have been traditional decorations since the Greco-Roman times


There are more than 24,700 million cats and dogs in UK households, according to the latest figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, PFMA, 2021, and it’s important to decorate homes making interiors as pet-friendly as possible. Something that we don’t always consider when making our traditional Christmas choices.

Our current Christmas traditions include using natural vegetation such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe all ready available in towns and along hedgerows in the countryside which all date back to being used hundreds of years as Project Britain explains.

All kinds of high street and online shops, as well as garden centres and florists, sell flowers, plants, and shrubbery, hand-made and ready-made door wreaths, garlands, along with the more recent tradition of Christmas trees, however, they can provide nasty surprises to dogs and cats and even rabbits, if gnawed, chewed, and eaten.

Natural Plants To Avoid

Holly can provide your pets with nasty side effects including the signs of toxicity, drooling, vomiting, choking, and signs of diarrhea. Place these plants higher up and out of reach in the home is essential to avoid pet access.

Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe

As freshly cut shrubbery dries out during the festive season helped on by our centrally heated homes, the berries and leaves may wither more frequently and drop off where pets, including indoor pet rabbits, roam the home will naturally forage and eat anything they find lying around.

Ivy and mistletoe can provide your pets with nasty side effects, similar to holly, including the signs of toxicity, drooling, vomiting, choking, and signs of diarrhea.

Holly can provide your pets with nasty side effects including the signs of toxicity, drooling, vomiting, choking, and signs of diarrhea.

Place these plants higher up and out of reach in the home is essential to avoid pet access.

Vets report seeing up to 30% more A&E cases through their doors during December mainly due to accidents related to Christmas festivities. To avoid risks to your pet, it’s important to sweep up any falling debris quickly.

If your pet is insured then it’s likely to be one of the many insurance plans that now offer free 24/7 veterinary advice by mobile or visually. However, if you’re not insured then accessing 24/7 online vets such as joii pet care can be a great alternative to instantly finding out about potential toxic problems with your dog, cat or rabbit if they suddenly become unwell. Click Now

Free Plant Identification Apps

If you struggle to know all the plants available trying using some of the free apps available to download that can help you to avoid costly pet mistakes such as –

  • FlowerChecker available Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • Smart Plant Home available Mobile OS, iOS, Android
  • PlantNet Plant Identification available Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • PictureThis available Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • PlantSnap available Mobile Os; iOS, Android
  • Plantix available Mobile Os; Android

See more at the Google Play Store and Apple download store. There are various customer reviews left to read about the apps, where all are rated.

Christmas Trees 

Popular since the 1840s, in the UK, as a traditional part of the festivities growing in even more popularity as a symbol of peace, include a number of different varieties of fir pine trees. The trees have prickly needles and these can be dangerous to dogs and cats where the needles can fall off which can hurt pet paws, and if eaten, cut pet mouths, and puncture their stomach intestinal linings.

UK Christmas trees that are known for dropping fewer needles after being cut and displayed during the traditional period include the Blue Spruce which is a blueish colour particularly at its most vibrant colour during spring and renowned for being hardy surviving British winters if bought in a pot with a root ball when displayed and planted outside, and the Nordmann Fir. Both trees are available from numerous stockists up and down the country.

Rabbits can eat the fir pine needles in moderation but trees generally have not been grown organically, pesticides used during growth, and can be poisonous to your pets. The oils from the sharp needles are poisonous to pets, where they will show the usual first signs of toxicity being drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Read more about Choosing Your Pet-Friendly Tree from Sustainable sellers.

\\\ Pet-Friendly Plants

5 Christmas Wintertime Pet-Friendly Plants

One can head to your local UK Supermarket such as Sainsbury’s, Tescos, Waitrose who stock rows and rows of brightly coloured red Poinsettias during December which makes a lovely Christmas pet-friendly present, (as long as they don’t have glitter and extra trimmings added), along with Christmas Cactus, Hyacinths, Cranberry, and early Narcissus.

Hyacinths bulbs can be poisonous if your pet manages to get dig them out of a plant pot. Cut flowers are better in the home.

Narcissus bulbs, like hyacinth bulbs, can be poisonous causing vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea if they manage to eat the bulbs. Cut flowers are better in the home.

Christmas Cactus is a little spikey causing a mild irritant if eaten.

Cranberries are generally safe unless the pet manages to feast on them.

Poinsettias can give mild toxicity if too much is eaten being the usual signs of drooling vomiting, or rarely, and later stage diarrhea.

Shopping Local supporting your high street has never been more important, a quick google check will provide you with your best florist selling plants. Look for those particularly that sell plants without added glitter, additional trimmings, and baubles for a more pet-friendly and safer Christmas.

Important position your flowers and plants in the home mindful of your inquisitive pets and that most plants are grown with the aid of toxic pesticides unless specifically purchased from organic growers, so take care and site plants above waist height making them inaccessible to pets.

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