Help! My Pet Ate My Mistletoe!

Here's why you should think twice before decorating with mistletoe 😱🐶

is mistletoe poisonous dogs cats

You might be hoping to catch that special someone under the mistletoe — but hopefully you don’t catch your pet chowing down on that mistletoe instead.

Mistletoe is poisonous to dogs and cats, which makes it a common danger around the holidays.

We spoke with Dr. Julian Rivera, a veterinarian at West Village Veterinary Hospital in New York City, to find out just what you should do if your pet swallows the festive plant.

Why is mistletoe poisonous to dogs and cats?

Both cats and dogs can suffer from poisoning if they manage to eat any part of the mistletoe, including the leaves and berries.

“All parts of the plant are potentially toxic,” Dr. Rivera told The Dodo.

The seriousness of symptoms depends on just how much your pet managed to scarf down.

Signs of mistletoe toxicity

“Ingesting the plant can cause anything from GI upset and weakness to neurological signs or low blood pressure,” Dr. Rivera said.

Other signs of mistletoe toxicity include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Death

What to do if your pet eats mistletoe

Even if you don’t catch your dog or cat in the act of eating mistletoe, bring them to the vet right away if you suspect ingestion, whether or not they’re experiencing any of those symptoms.

You should also enlist the help of poison control experts.

“If your pet ingests the plant, I recommend that you call ASPCA Animal Poison Control or the Pet Poison Control Hotline on the way to your vet,” Dr. Rivera said. “That way, they can work together to come up with a treatment plan.”

The best way to ensure your pet stays safe this holiday season is to keep mistletoe out of your house altogether — or at least somewhere very out of reach.