Q. Are hollies poisonous to dogs and cats?

Hollies have been planted in my co-op's communal garden. Some residents are concerned that hollies are poisonous to dogs and cats.


Yes, holly berries can be toxic to cats and dogs. However, hollies have a lower toxicity than some poisonous plants; animals that eat the berries sicken but subsequently recover.

See the ASPCA's information page for more on holly toxicity. (The ASPCA lists the botanical name as Ilex opaca. That is the botanical name for American holly. Other hollies have different botanical names.)

You can bookmark their website to use as a resource. Also, if you believe a pet has eaten something poisonous you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. (Note: A $65 consultation fee may apply.)

Here are some things you might try.

  • In future, try to buy only male holly plants (hollies plants are either male or female) so no berries will form.
  • If possible, you could put up fencing or some other barrier to prevent animals from reaching the fruit.
  • Another option might be to prune the lower branches so that the remaining branches are too high for pets to reach.
  • Keep pets well fed so they have no reason to be tempted by the berries.
  • Keep dogs on a leash so they can easily be pulled away from berries.

For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service

  • Last Updated Apr 02, 2018
  • Views 63
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

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