Choosing Your Pet-Friendly Christmas Plants

PET CHECK BLOG - No. 10 Downing Street Christmas Wreath

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Have You Chosen Your Pet-Friendly Christmas House Plants?

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

No. 10 Downing Street Christmas Wreath
Image of Wreath by Flowers by Stephanie made for No 10 Downing Street, London, The Prime Ministers residence.

There’s more than 24,000 million cats and dogs in UK households, according to the latest figures from the PMA, 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 holly, ivy and mistletoe which all date back being used hundreds of years as Project Britain explain.

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 and garlands, along with the more recent tradition of Christmas trees, however they may provide nasty surprises to dogs and cats and even rabbits, if gnawed, chewed, and eaten.

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

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 that roam the home will naturally forage and eat anything they find lying around.

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.

Christmas trees popular since the 1840s, in the UK, as a traditional part of the festivities include a number of differing 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 less 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.

Read our blog about pet-friendly Christmas Trees for more information.

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.

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5 Christmas Pet-Friendly Plants

UK Supermarkets such as Sainsburys, Tescos, Waitrose, are stocked with rows and rows of brightly coloured red Poinsettias during December which make a lovely Christmas pet-friendly present, 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.

Shop Local

Shopping Local and 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.

The best tip is to 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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You can read more about having a Pet-Friendly Christmas in our guides, features and most recent blogs listed below.

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