The 5th day of Christmas: Potpourri and Candles

The smell of fresh pine, nutmeg, and cookies provides us with the sense of Christmas.  For our pets these smells can be overwhelming to their senses or it can get them into trouble. At Urgent Pet Care we want you to be aware of some of the dangers that potpourri and candles can pose.


Dry potpourri can be toxic depending on the types of plants that are in the potpourri.  Even if the potpourri is not made of any toxic plants, the oils and plants that make up the potpourri if ingested, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Liquid potpourri on the other hand is much more toxic to cats specifically.  Just a few licks can cause severe chemical burns to the mouth.  Dogs aren’t as sensitive to potpourri but ingestion of the products could still cause a problem.

Poisonous to: Cats

Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe

Common signs to watch for:

  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Retching
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors
  • Occasionally in severe cases: Organ damage

If your cat even took just a few licks of your liquid potpourri, the veterinarians at Urgent Pet Care Omaha would recommend giving us a call as soon as possible for further information and instruction.

Essential Oils               

Cats are especially sensitive to essential oils, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea), central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities. If inhaled, essential oils could lead to aspiration pneumonia as well.

Candles and Wax Warmers:

Candles and wax melts if ingested by your pets are generally non-toxic but can cause acute gastrointestinal upset. The two biggest hazards with candles and pets is the risk of burns or fire.  A candle or wax warmer if knocked over by your pet can cause mild to severe burns depending on the heat of the wax.  Another big concern is the risk of a fire which could in turn be more damaging to you, your pet and the rest of your family.  As a precaution Urgent Pet Care of Omaha wants to warn you against leaving candles, open flames, or even wax warmers unattended, especially where pets are present.

Visit Urgent Pet Care Omaha

If you suspect that your dog or cat has ingested any of these household items or has burns from wax or potpourri, the doctors at Urgent Pet Care Omaha recommend an exam to help determine if your pet is having an issue.  At Urgent Pet Care in Omaha, our veterinarians are here for you and your pet, every night, weekend, and holiday for any veterinary emergency. No appointment is needed during an emergency, but we do appreciate a phone call to let us know you’re coming.

To reach our Omaha office, please call 402-991-9444. For the Papillion office, please call 402-597-2911.