Christmas Cactus

Filed Under: Dogs, Cats, Poisoning

It is just a few short weeks before the Christmas holidays. Your best friend sends you a beautiful Christmas cactus to accent the season. Unfortunately your pets decide that the colorful flowers of your holiday plant are truly irresistible. Your dog, with the help of the family cat, uses the plant as a newly acquired play toy and disassembles the Christmas cactus while you are at work. Should you be concerned that some of the flat segments which comprise the Christmas cactus found their way into your pet’s stomach? Probably not!

The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), or crab’s claw cactus, is not considered to be toxic. A native of the jungles of southeast Brazil, this favorite of the holiday season can sport a variety of colorful flowers that radiate outward from its segmented, deep green branches.

In certain instances, the ingestion of plant parts may result in mild gastric upset. Clinical signs that may occur include: vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia (lack of an appetite), and depression. Treatment for the gastric irritation is generally not required other than withholding food and water for a couple of hours.


Volmer, Petra. “How Dangerous are Winter and Spring Holiday Plants to Pets?” Veterinary Medicine. December, 2002. P. 879.

Topics: christmas, holidays

Symptoms: depression, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting

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