Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?


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Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs? The answer is yes, poinsettias are mildly toxic to some dogs if ingested. The poisonous elements in poinsettias are resin-like sap and cyanogenic glycoside. If your dog ingests any part of a Poinsettia plant, you should contact your veterinarian. Signs of ingestion to watch for include vomiting, lethargy, tremors, and diarrhea.

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Yes, poinsettias are toxic to dogs if ingested. Symptoms of poinsettia poisoning include vomiting, drooling, and difficulty swallowing.

What is Poinsettia Poisoning?

Poinsettia poisoning in dogs is the result of eating the leaves, stems, or flowers of the poinsettia plant, which is toxic to dogs. Clinical signs of poinsettia poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and even seizures or coma in severe cases. It is important to seek veterinary treatment immediately if your dog has ingested poinsettia parts, as the toxins present in the plant can cause serious harm.

What’s the Problem With Poinsettias and Dogs?

The primary concern with poinsettias and dogs is that the plant’s leaves are toxic to pets if ingested. Eating poinsettia leaves can cause minor stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, poinsettia ingestion can cause excessive salivation, difficulties in swallowing, and in rare cases, neurobehavioral changes can occur. It is best to keep the poinsettia away from pets, as ingestion of the leaves can lead to serious complications.

Causes of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs

  • Ingestion of the plant: The sap from a poinsettia plant can cause irritation to a dog’s oral tissue, plus mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation if ingested, including drooling, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
  • Ingestion of the leaves: The leaves of the poinsettia plant contain a glycoside known as “euphorbin” which can be toxic if ingested. Signs of poisoning may include vomiting, nausea, excessive drooling, dilated pupils, tremors, and/or even seizures.
  • Ingestion of the flowers: The flowers of the poinsettia plant contain a substance known as psoralen, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression in dogs.

Symptoms of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs

  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of poinsettia poisoning in dogs. It may range from mild to severe in severity.
  • Vomiting: Vomiting is another common symptom and may occur within hours after a dog has eaten poinsettia or may be delayed up to 24 hours.
  • Increased salivation: This is often noticed soon after ingestion of poinsettia parts and is usually accompanied by drooling.
  • Loss of appetite: Loss of appetite often accompanies poinsettia poisoning due to the gastrointestinal upset that it causes.
  • Abdominal pain: Abdominal pain is commonly experienced by dogs with poinsettia poisoning and may result in restlessness and attempts to vomit.
  • Wobbly gait: Wobbly gait or loss of coordination is another sign of poinsettia poisoning. It is usually accompanied by ataxia or a general unsteadiness.
  • Tremors: Tremors may occur anywhere from a few minutes to a few days after ingestion of poinsettia parts.
  • Increased thirst: Increased thirst is often seen in dogs with poinsettia poisoning as a result of vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Increased urination: An increase in urination can also be seen as a result of the increased thirst that accompanies poinsettia poisoning.
  • Seizures: Seizures may occur in severe cases of poinsettia poisoning if the toxin affects the central nervous system.
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Diagnosis of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs

In order to diagnose poinsettia poisoning, the veterinarian will perform an examination of the dog and take a detailed history, including when the last exposure occurred. Additionally, they will also recommend certain diagnostic tests such as a complete blood cell count (CBC), biochemical profile, urinalysis, and electrolyte levels to check for any systemic abnormalities.

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  1. Sago palm: This common ornamental plant is highly toxic to dogs, and even eating one small seed can prove fatal.
  2. Delphiniums and larkspur: These two types of flowering plants contain a toxin that, when ingested, hampers the way signals are sent from the brain to the muscles, ultimately leading to paralysis and death.
  3. Macadamia nuts: Commonly found in a variety of baked goods, these nuts can cause nerve damage, muscle weakness, vomiting, fever, and paralysis in dogs.
  4. Azaleas and Rhododendrons: These popular shrubs contain toxins that can cause stomach issues, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and an increased heart rate.
  5. Foxglove: Eating even a small portion of this flowering plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and heart rhythm problems in your pet.
  6. Avocado: The fruit and leaves of avocados contain a toxin called persin that can be harmful to pets. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even heart failure.
  7. Onion and garlic: Eating any part of these plants can be toxic to dogs, the thiosulphate in them can damage red blood cells. Symptoms can range from gastrointestinal distress to anemia.

Common Holiday and Christmas Plants That Are Dangerous to Dogs

  • Holly: Holly contains saponins, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stupor if ingested by dogs. The red berries are especially problematic, as they contain even more saponins than the leaves.
  • Mistletoe: Mistletoe’s leaves, flowers, and berries contain the toxins tyramine and manuscripts, which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, low blood pressure, and even seizures if consumed in large quantities.
  • Poinsettia: Poinsettia contains a sap that can irritate a dog’s mouth, throat, and stomach. Symptoms include vomiting, drooling, and excessive licking of the lips or feet.
  • Lilies: All parts of the lily plant contain an alkaloid toxin, which can cause vomiting and, more dangerously, kidney failure if ingested by a dog.
  • Illamasqua: Illamasqua contains the toxin saponin, which is toxic to dogs if ingested. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation.
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What To Do if Your Dog Ingests Poinsettia

If your dog has ingested poinsettia, the most important thing is to seek veterinary help right away. If the ingestion was recent, your veterinarian may choose to induce vomiting to try and remove as much of the plant from the dog’s system as possible. They may also give the dog activated charcoal to help absorb any leftover toxins in the system. Poinsettia leaves can also cause gastrointestinal irritation, and the veterinarian may choose to administer an antacid or anti-diary medication to help soothe the gut. In serious cases, hospitalization and intravenous fluids may be necessary.

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Treatment of poinsettia poisoning in dogs includes symptomatic and supportive care such as:

  1. Inducing vomiting: This can be done by administering 3-4 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide orally to the dog. This is to prevent further absorption of the toxin in the dog’s body.
  2. Fluids: IV fluids are given to help flush out the toxins from the dog’s body and help the dog’s organs to function properly.
  3. Activated charcoal: This is given orally to reduce further absorption of the toxin in the dog’s body.
  4. Symptomatic treatment: Another symptomatic treatment is also given depending on the condition and the symptoms the dog is experiencing. This includes anti-nausea medications, antibiotics, eye drops for eye irritation, and laxatives.
  5. Anti-inflammatory medications: Anti-inflammatory medications are given to reduce inflammation in the dog’s body.
  6. Diet: A diet rich in proteins and carbohydrates is given to the dog to nourish its body and help it recover faster.

Recovery of Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs

Poinsettia poisoning in dogs is typically not fatal, although severe symptoms such as vomiting, drooling, and shaking may occur. Treatment for poinsettia exposure in dogs includes induced vomiting to remove the plant from the gastrointestinal tract, charcoal administration to absorb any remaining toxins, and supportive care for more severe signs. Fluid therapy and anti-nausea medication may be necessary to treat dehydration and vomiting. In severe cases, more aggressive treatments may be necessary, such as stomach lavage to remove plant material or the use of bronchodilators to ease respiratory distress. Without prompt treatment, severe signs can be life-threatening. Complications should be monitored closely and supportive care maintained for the next few days. With appropriate treatment, most dogs make a full recovery.

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How Can I Stop My Dog From Eating Poinsettias?

The easiest way to prevent your dog from eating poinsettias is to keep plants out of reach of your pet. This is especially true for poinsettias, which are known to be toxic and could cause gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting. If your pet has access to the outdoors, keep your poinsettias covered or enclosed in a screened area to prevent accidental ingestion. It may also help to re-home poinsettias to locations that are completely off-limits to your pet. Additionally, teach your pup not to chew on plants or inappropriate objects by redirecting their attention to a permissible chew toy.

Pet Safe Alternatives to Poinsettias

  • Orchids: Orchids are beautiful, elegant, and timeless, and they make an excellent alternative to poinsettias. They are also non-toxic to cats and dogs, so they can be safely displayed in your home with pets.
  • Christmas Cactus: Like poinsettias, Christmas cactus is a popular flowering plant for the holidays. It’s also pet-friendly!
  • Amaryllis: Amaryllis is another beautiful and non-toxic alternative to poinsettias. They come in a variety of colors and look great in any home.
  • Pine Cones: If you are looking for a festive, pet-safe option, pine cones are an ideal choice. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be used to decorate for the holidays without having to worry about your pet’s health.
  • Paper Flowers: Paper flowers are a beautiful and creative way to decorate for the holidays. Not to mention, they are non-toxic and pet-friendly, too!


Q. What happens if a dog eats a poinsettia?

A. Eating poinsettias can make a dog sick and cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually go away within 24 hours, but if your dog has eaten a large amount, they may need to see a veterinarian for treatment.

Q. Can I put a poinsettia outside?

A. No, poinsettias should not be placed outdoors as they are not cold-tolerant.

Q. How long does a poinsettia last?

A. A poinsettia typically lasts up to two months when placed in a sunny window or in bright indirect light.

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 can be toxic to dogs.


In conclusion, poinsettias are poisonous to dogs. The plant produces a white sap that can cause digestive distress in dogs, and potentially other pets, if it is ingested. It is best to keep your pet away from these plants, or any other potentially dangerous plants, when possible.


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