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Are Poinsettia Plants Dangerous For Dogs?

Chihuahua sitting near a poinsettia plant.

You might not know the name of this plant, but if you’ve been around a Christmas decoration or two, you’ll recognize it instantly. Poinsettia plants are one of the most beloved decorations for the holiday season, thanks to their big, red flowers; but are Poinsettia plants dangerous for dog?

Many people are concerned about having poinsettias around their beloved pooches. After all, pet safety is the number one rule for responsible pet parents. In addition, there are rumors that poinsettias are deadly for animals and should be avoided at all costs. But how much of that is true? Miami Pet Concierge investigates.

Are Poinsettia Plants Dangerous For Dogs?

What Are Poinsettias?

Poinsettias are a plant that is native to Central America and Mexico. Once cultivated by the Aztecs for traditional medicine, the poinsettia is estimated to be the world’s most economically important potted plant.

Thanks to its bright red flowers, the poinsettia is now more commonly associated with Christmas and the festive season. As a result, these flowers are often seen in decorative bunches, table centerpieces, and on display throughout the season.

Although their distinctive red color makes them easy to spot in a crowd, the poinsettia goes by many names, including:

  • Christmas Flower
  • Easter Flower
  • Étoile de Noël
  • Euphorbia Poinsettia
  • Euphorbia Pulcherrima
  • Fleur Pentecôte
  • Flor de Pascua
  • Lobster Flower Plant
  • Lobster Plant
  • Lobster Flower
  • Mexican Flame Leaf
  • Noche Buena
  • Paintedleaf
  • Papagallo
  • Poinsettia Pulcherrima
  • Pastora
  • Flower of the Holy Night
  • Flower of Christmas Eve

Poinsettias And Your Dog

Poinsettia poisoning occurs when your dog eats a large amount of the poinsettia plant and or leaves. Animals, especially dogs, explore the world through tastes and nibbles, which is why you need to know what is safe to have around a curious pup. For many years, pet parents were warned against having poinsettia in the house due to the risk of accidental death of an inquisitive pooch. However, according to the National Capital Poison Center, this is incorrect.

A study conducted by the Ohio State University set out to establish what a dose of poinsettia toxin in children equates to. After experimenting with amounts of up to 1.25 pounds (500-600 leaves), they still did not find any fatal toxicity levels.

“Every year, people ask me if poinsettias are poisonous to people and pets… So I try my best each year to spread the word that they are not,” says Robert McMahon, associate professor, and coordinator of the greenhouse program at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster.

In truth, when eaten, the poinsettia plant is incredibly irritating, but it is not entirely fatal. Poinsettia plants carry milky saponins, chemicals, and protein enzymes in the plant’s leaves and stems—all of which can upset a dog’s delicate digestive system.

If your pet does manage to swallow some poinsettia plant, they will most likely experience mild irritation, including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Poinsettia poisoning is not great, but it is rarely deadly.

Signs Of Poinsettia Poisoning

The good news is that a fatal dose of the poinsettia is doubtful in canines and furry friends alike. However, if your dog does ingest poinsettia, the severity of their symptoms will depend on the amount they ate, their age, breed, and size.

If you believe your dog may have ingested some poinsettia, look out for these symptoms:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Licking lips repeatedly
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Red, itchy, watering eyes
  • General discomfort

If you believe that your dog has eaten some, you can consult with your veterinarian about the best course of action. In most cases, your dog will expel the plant and require some serious petting and cuddles. However, if your dog hasn’t emptied their stomach yet, your vet can help induce vomiting.

Remember that pet safety is always the most important part of being a pet parent. To learn more about pet care services, or how we can help you keep your pet safe, contact us directly.

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