Are Poinsettias Poisonous To Dogs or Cats?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: March 31, 2022
Image Credit PinkCoffee Studio/Shutterstock.com
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If you own a cat or dog, it is wise to know which types of plants are toxic to them. One of which you may be curious about is the poinsettia. Commonly adorning homes and buildings with its vibrant red foliage and rich green leaves, this easy-to-care-for plant was brought to America by the first American ambassador to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett. Popularity spread, and the plant was named after Poinsett. Some believe the poinsettia flower and foliage represent the Star of Bethlehem, which is one reason why it is a popular plant around Christmas.

The last thing you want is to worry whether this lovely plant is harmful to your pets. Luckily, this article will address the matter so you can decorate your home without worrying about poisoning your pet!

Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs or Cats?

poinsettia
The poinsettia may be mildly toxic to your cat or dog if ingested, but it is not typically fatal.

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Poinsettias are not poisonous to dogs or cats. However, they are mildly toxic when ingested. Most experts agree that poinsettias aren’t really dangerous to cats or dogs, at least not fatally. The key is to understand the main difference between something poisonous and something toxic. If it is poisonous, it is usually deadly, even in small quantities. However, the toxicity of substances varies.

Symptoms In Dogs And Cats Who Have Eaten Poinsettias

Ingestion of poinsettias by your pet can produce mild to severe symptoms, even though they are not deadly dangerous. If your cat or dog eats some poinsettias, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If its milky sap gets on your pet’s skin or eyes, it can cause some mild irritation. If you have a pet that likes to eat plants, it’s a good idea to keep a poinsettia out of their reach.

Is It Safe To Keep Poinsettias Around Pets?

poinsettia
Poinsettias can be kept around pets as long as they are monitored.

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It is safe to keep poinsettias around your pets, provided you keep them out of their reach. There isn’t much toxicity in a poinsettia, especially when compared to other members of the Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) family.

To put this in perspective, an 8-year-old child would have to eat several hundred leaves for hazardous levels of toxins to build in their system. Even though a few leaves may upset a pet’s stomach, ingesting a substantial number would be necessary for it to be poisonous to the pet.

What To Do If Your Pet Has Eaten Poinsettia

Unless the symptoms persist, it’s unlikely that your cat or dog will require a trip to the clinic after ingesting or being exposed to poinsettias.

Here are a few at-home remedies for poinsettia pet ingestion that you can try:

  • Rinse the mouth out if there is visible plant debris.
  • Avoid making your pet throw up, as this could agitate or harm them even more.
  • Several hours after your pet last vomited, see if they can keep down a small, bland meal.
  • If your pet regurgitates a considerable amount of water after drinking it, you can help by limiting the amount of water they consume at a time.

Who To Contact If You Think Your Pet Is Poisoned?

Fun Jobs with Animals: Veterinary Assistant
Good veterinarians know how to engage with pet owners and interact with people to help them feel comfortable.

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Fortunately, if your pet consumes a small poinsettia plant, there is usually no need for medical attention. However, pet owners worried about their cat or dog can always take their pets to the doctor or a veterinary hospital.

The ASPCA Poison Control or Pet Poison Helpline can also provide expert guidance for a charge.

Last but not least, do your best to keep poinsettias out of the reach of your curious pets; it’ll be better for them and your poinsettia in the long run.

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.