Are Holly Berries Poisonous?

I want to use Holly stems and berries as decorations but a friend said holly berries were poisonous to dogs and cats. Are Holly berries poisonous?

Hi Sue,

Red and green Holly Plant
Holly and Berries

┬áThere are 100’s of species of Holly Plants. All should be considered potentially poisonous to dogs, cats, and children who are attracted to the numerous red berries. Holly Berries should never be consumed! Some say if a human eats only 3 berries they will become ill. (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sleepiness). Dogs & cats are particularly sensitive to the saponins,┬ámethylxanthines, and cyanogens in the leaves and berries. The spiny leaves cause additional problems if ingested. Stay safe this holiday and keep all plants away from your pets and small children.