Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs and Cats


Red Poinsettia Plant
Poinsettia Plant

The milky white sap found in poinsettias does contain chemicals called diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents. While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated.

If a dog or cat chews on a Poinsettia Plant mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or on rare occasions, diarrhea may occur. If the milky sap gets onto the skin (humans included), dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop. Signs are self-limiting and generally don’t require medical treatment unless severe.

The threat to animals  (and humans) is considered minimal.

Information is provided by the Poison Pet Line.

24/7 Animal Poison Control Center