Poinsettias are poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses, but don’t tear down your Christmas decorations just yet. They’re not as poisonous as you would think.
The famous crimson-pointed flowers are only mildly toxic, meaning the signs related to poisoning are rarely serious. Generally, you can expect some mouth and stomach irritation, and maybe some vomiting depending on how much your dog ate. Other than that, your dog should be just fine. Still, if you’re concerned about the way your dog is acting, it’s always best to get them checked out by a vet right away.
Why Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?
The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is part of a large family of flowering plants. Some plants are food sources, others are used for medicinal purposes, and others create beautiful waxes and oils.
Many of these plants are safe to handle and eat. However, some plants in this family contain poisonous fruits, leaves, and sap, and poinsettias fall into this category. The latex-like sap found in the famous Christmas flower irritates the skin and eyes after contact. Interestingly, scientists don’t know why this is, but they assume phorbol esters are the main culprits.
Signs of Poinsettia Poisoning
The good news is that Poinsettias aren’t deadly to your dog, so you can still keep them around the house for the holidays. Just keep the plant out of reach of your dog.
If worse comes to worst and your dog eats the plant, you can expect these signs:
The degree of these symptoms varies based on how much of the plant your dog eats. Usually, dogs experience only mild symptoms as the irritant and bitter sap puts them off ingesting large quantities.
How Is Poinsettia Poisoning Treated?
Generally, the signs your dog will show after chewing on some poinsettias are mild, self limiting and don’t require any special treatment.
If your dog has eaten a significant amount or is showing concerning signs then you should contact your vet for advice straight away.
Occasionally your vet may induce vomiting if your dog has eaten a large amount of plants in the last few hours, but never attempt to make your dog sick at home. Supportive care, for example IV fluids may also be needed.
As for skin, eye, and mouth irritation, you can flush the areas with fresh water but your dog may require a special ointment from your vet to help ease the inflammation from the plant’s sap.
Other Toxic Holiday Plants
Several plants are toxic to dogs, but only a handful are commonly seen around the holidays. The most common are mistletoe, holly, and bulbs. Avoid these plants to keep your holiday fun safe and sound.
Poinsettias pave the snowy path for the Christmas season. Even though they’re technically poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses, don’t worry yourself sick about it just yet. Go ahead and decorate your home for the holidays, but just keep the plant out of reach for your dog!
Featured Image Credit: Veronicatxoxo, Pixabay