Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?

Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?

Poinsettias are a popular holiday plant that is commonly found in homes and businesses throughout the winter season. Unfortunately, poinsettias are toxic to dogs if ingested. Ingestion of poinsettia leaves can cause mild stomach irritation and vomiting. In severe cases, it can cause excessive drooling, shaking, and even seizures. Therefore, it is important for pet owners to take caution and keep their dogs away from poinsettia plants.

Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?

Yes, poinsettias are toxic to dogs and cats, ingestion of any part of the plant can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.

What is Poinsettia Poisoning?

Poinsettia poisoning is a phenomenon that occurs when humans or animals ingest the leaves of a poinsettia plant, which are often mistakenly thought to contain a deadly poison. While not deadly, poinsettia leaves contain a sap that can be mildly irritating to the skin, eyes, and mouth. Consumption of larger amounts of poinsettia sap can cause nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

Poinsettias are an evergreen shrub native to Mexico, and were named after the first United States Minister to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett. They can be found in many homes during the holiday season, but their bright red and green foliage is often mistaken for one of their deadly cousins, which contains a poison called oleander. Oleander is deadly in large amounts and does not exist in poinsettia plants.

Most cases of poinsettia poisoning are mild, but serious health issues can occur when large amounts of the sap are consumed. Symptoms can include intense abdominal pain, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. It is important to seek medical attention in the event of suspected poisoning.

It is important to note that while not deadly, poinsettia plants should not be consumed under any circumstances. While the effects are generally mild, they can cause discomfort for the person or animal who ingested the plant. To prevent accidental poisoning, keep poinsettia plants out of reach of children and animals.

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What’s the Problem With Poinsettias and Dogs?

Poinsettias contain a milky white sap which can be an irritant to a dog’s skin, eyes, and mouth if they come in contact with it. If consumed in large quantities, poinsettias can cause intestinal irritation, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

Causes of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogsflower 2

  1. Ingestion of the leaves: Poinsettias have a milky sap that contains toxins that can irritate the digestive system if ingested.
  2. Contact dermatitis: The sap of the poinsettia can cause contact dermatitis in some dogs if they rub their face or body against the leaves.
  3. Ingesting the flowers: Eating the poinsettia flowers can also cause toxic reactions. The flowers contain a compound called latex which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  4. Pollen allergic reactions: Some dogs may be allergic to the pollen from the poinsettia, resulting in sneezing, coughing, and other respiratory issues.

Symptoms of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs

Poinsettia poisoning in dogs is an issue which should not be taken lightly. The signs and symptoms of poinsettia poisoning in dogs vary depending on the amount consumed and can range from mild to severe. The following are the most common signs and symptoms of poinsettia poisoning in dogs:

  • Vomiting: Vomiting is one of the most common signs of poinsettia poisoning in dogs. This could be due to the presence of a toxin or irritant substance in the poinsettia plant.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea is another common symptom of poinsettia poisoning in dogs. This occurs due to the presence of toxic substances in the ingested plant.
  • Drooling: Drooling is another sign of poinsettia poisoning in dogs. Dogs may drool heavily after eating the plant.
  • Abdominal Pain: Abdominal pain is also common with poinsettia poisoning in dogs. This is due to the presence of toxins in the ingested plant.
  • Loss of Appetite: Dogs may also lose their appetite when they have eaten poinsettias. This is due to the presence of toxins in the plant which can cause gastrointestinal distress.
  • Weakness: Weakness is another symptom of poinsettia poisoning in dogs. This is due to the presence of toxins in the ingested plant which can affect the dog’s energy levels.

Diagnosis of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs

Poinsettia poisoning in dogs is typically diagnosed through the presence of physical symptoms that are consistent with potential plant poisoning. Signs of toxicity can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, drooling, and red discoloration of the mucous membranes. Blood tests can be carried out to identify high levels of salicylates, which are substances found in poinsettias. Treatment typically includes supportive care, fluids, and medications to reduce stomach upset. In more severe cases, activated charcoal may be used to absorb any toxins that remain in the stomach. In some cases, it may be necessary to induce vomiting to rid the body of the poisonous plant.

What Plants Are Poisonous to Dogs?

Some of the more common plants that are toxic to dogs include azaleas, amaryllis, certain lilies, tulips, rhododendrons, castor beans, sago palms, oleander, and yew.

Common Holiday and Christmas Plants That Are Dangerous to Dogs

  • Mistletoe: Mistletoe is a popular Christmas greenery, but it is potentially toxic to dogs if ingested. All parts of the plants contain toxic compounds that cause gastrointestinal upset, difficulty breathing, and changes in blood pressure.
  • Holly: Holly is another festive plant that can pose a danger to your pet. All parts of the holly plant contain insoluble calcium oxalates which can cause intense burning and irritation to the mouth if ingested. If severe, this could cause vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
  • Poinsettia: Poinsettias are a popular holiday plant, but the leaves contain a milky sap that is non-toxic to humans but can be dangerous if ingested by dogs. The sap can cause severe irritation in the mouth and can possibly even produce drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  • Amaryllis: Although fragrant and festive, amaryllis can be dangerous for your pet. The compound lycorine found in the plant is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and loss of appetite. If ingested, the dog should be seen by the vet immediately.

What To Do if Your Dog Ingests Poinsettia

If you suspect your pet has eaten any part of a poinsettia, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your pet may experience mild gastrointestinal upset like vomiting or diarrhea, but it’s important to seek veterinary care right away to rule out any more serious problems. Depending on the amount ingested, your veterinarian may recommend giving your pet activated charcoal, which can help absorb the toxins.

Treatment of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogsflower 1

Treatment of poinsettia poisoning typically consists of supportive care such as decontamination, gastrointestinal support, hydration, and monitoring of the pet’s vital signs. Decontamination may include inducing vomiting with apomorphine or hydrogen peroxide, depending on the circumstances. Gastrointestinal support involves administering activated charcoal to reduce further absorption of plant toxins, as well as providing medications to reduce nausea and vomiting, if necessary. Antiemetics may also be given to reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal upset. Fluid therapy and other supportive care may be necessary to manage electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, or other health complications. The prognosis for poinsettia poisoning in dogs is good with prompt and aggressive treatment.

Recovery of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs

Poinsettia poisoning in dogs is rare, and the prognosis is usually good if the dog receives prompt treatment. Treatment typically involves inducing vomiting to help flush the toxins from the stomach, providing supplemental fluids to help dilute the toxins, and providing supportive care such as monitoring the dog’s vital signs and providing medications that can help reduce any nausea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. If the dog is having difficulty breathing or is showing signs of a more severe reaction such as seizures or difficulty walking, immediate veterinary evaluation and care is necessary. With prompt and appropriate treatment, recovery is usually complete.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Eating Poinsettias?

The best way to stop your dog from eating poinsettias is to not have them in your home in the first place. If necessary, keep them out of reach from your dog by hanging them in a secure area, or if the poinsettia is potted, put it up on a shelf or in a room that your dog doesn’t have access to. If your dog does get ahold of a poinsettia, they may experience some gastrointestinal distress, so it’s important to monitor them for vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of distress. In serious cases, consult with a veterinarian immediately.

Pet Safe Alternatives to Poinsettias

  • Christmas Cactus
  • Cyclamen
  • Norfolk Island Pine
  • Lemon Cypress
  • Orchid
  • Peace Lily
  • Schefflera
  • Boxwood Topiary
  • Christmas Rose

SEE ALSO: Are Dogs Mouths Cleaner Than Humans?


Q. What happens if a dog eats a poinsettia?

A. Eating a poinsettia will typically cause mild gastrointestinal upset in dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Q. Can I put a poinsettia outside?

A. No, poinsettias are not frost-resistant and should not be kept outdoors.

Q. How long does a poinsettia last?

A. A poinsettia can last in good condition for several weeks to a few months if taken care of properly.

Q. Do poinsettias give off a smell?

A. No, poinsettias do not give off a smell.

Q. Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs?

A. Yes, poinsettias are toxic to dogs if ingested.


In conclusion, poinsettias are poisonous to dogs, It is best to keep them away from your pet to prevent irritation or an upset stomach. Additionally, it is important to keep them from chewing on the flowers.

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