During the Christmas season, many of us like adorning our homes with colorful red poinsettia plants. They’re a Christmas staple because to its distinctive star-shaped leaves. As many as 35 million of these plants are marketed in the US each year!
In Mexico and Central America, poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) have long been a popular holiday flower.
Christmas flower, lobster flower plant, or Flores de Noche Buena are some of its other names (Flowers of the Holy Night).
Suppose you go home and your poinsettia arrangement has been bitten on or devoured. Learn about the dangers of poinsettia for dogs by reading on!
What is the poinsettia plant?
With its red leaf and green stalk, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is generally linked with the holiday season. Despite its popularity as a festive potted plant, the little tree may reach a height of almost 13 feet.
Poinsettias are native to Central America, where they were initially connected with the Christian holiday of Christmas. It’s not just for the holidays that these plants are grown in their millions each year. Even though many people only keep and care for them during the Christmas season, they are perennial plants and may be cared for all year long.
Poinsettia leaves, on the other hand, emerge solely during the winter months. Because of this, they have become synonymous with the holiday season. Bracts are the primary component of their bloom, which lasts for a longer period of time than the flowers themselves. Usually, the leaves are only out for a brief time before disappearing again.
Dogs and other animals may be drawn to them because of their color. It’s a problem for our home design as well as a potential danger to our animal pals.
Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?
Many people are misinformed about poinsettias because of their illustrious past. Poinsettia leaves were falsely blamed for the death of a little boy in a 1919 American urban legend. Because of this falsehood, the poinsettia plant is now widely believed to be poisonous to children and animals alike.
Dogs are unlikely to die from eating poinsettia leaves. Toxic levels are “usually overestimated,” according to the ASPCA . Dogs, on the other hand, should avoid this plant. However, they can create health issues and should be avoided because they are not lethal. An bad response is much less likely if the dog simply ate one poinsettia leaf.
One of the most common ways that poinsettia leaves might injure our dog is through ingestion. When a person eats the leaves of a poinsettia, the sap might flow into their mouth. The tongue and gums can be irritated, as well as the stomach and esophagus, which may cause vomiting.
Even if it doesn’t come into direct touch with their eyes, the dog’s skin may be impacted. As a result of the dog’s curiosity, they may inadvertently ingest the leaves’ sap. It is unlikely that a serious response would occur, but we still need to exercise caution. But it’s better to be cautious than sorry; even if all you get is a bloodshot eye.
What Parts of Poinsettias are Poisonous to Dogs?
The plant sap contains the irritating compounds that cause the poisonous effects of this plant. The poinsettia’s sap may be detected on the plant’s branches and leaves. The same irritating ingredient may be found in the red parts of the plant, which we mistakenly believe to be the petals or blossoms.
The plastic pot that poinsettia plants are stored in can be deadly to dogs if chewed up and consumed, even though it is not toxic. You should avoid feeding your dog anything made of plastic since it might hurt its mouth and digestive system.
Choking hazard: Larger bits of plastic might possibly cause blockage if swallowed (intestinal obstruction). When it comes to little dogs, this is especially true. Please contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect your dog has eaten plastic or any other non-edible Christmas decorations.
My Dog Ate a Poinsettia. What Should I Do?
Don’t freak out if your dog ate a poinsettia! Your dog should be alright in the vast majority of situations. Despite this, there are still a few things you must do to keep Fido safe.
Step 1: Look Fido Over
Take a good look at your dog. Are they well-lit and inviting? Do you see anything out of the ordinary? Is it a lick or a paw on their mouth and face that you see? Have you have any nausea or vomiting?
Dogs who consume poinsettias seldom become critically ill. It’s best to go to the nearest emergency vet if your dog is sick or looks to be really ill.
Step 2: Remove The Plant
Clear any signs of the plant from your home and make sure your dogs cannot get to it. It may be a good idea to put your pets in a separate area while you clean up.
Step 3: Collect Information
Calculate the amount of plant eaten. Even if you just have a few slivers of the plant left, you might be able to put something together. Check the plastic pot for any missing parts by doing so. Other Christmas decorations, including as tinsel and ornaments, should be checked to make sure they aren’t missing or chewed up.
Step4: Call Your Veterinarian
All the information you’ve acquired on your dog’s breed, age, and weight should be passed along to the police officers. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether or not your dog needs to come into the clinic for a checkup, and your veterinarian can help you make an informed decision.
What Happens if a Dog Eats a Poinsettia Plant?
Any potential risks to dogs’ health from ingesting poinsettia flowers are quite minor and usually go away on their own. There is a greater risk of poinsettia poisoning for little dogs and pups, or for larger dogs who have consumed significant amounts.
Irritation to Skin and Eyes
If the poinsettia plant’s sap comes into touch with the skin or eyes, it might cause moderate discomfort. There may be redness, tearing, slight squinting or rubbing of the cheeks in case the sap goes into the eyes. When someone’s skin is infected, you may observe a red rash on their body. You may also see your dog scratching, biting, or licking the region that is inflamed.
These symptoms are generally short-lived and self-resolved. Nevertheless, the eye region is incredibly sensitive, and your dog might easily scratch its eye as it tries to alleviate the discomfort it is experiencing. Poinsettia sap may be removed from the skin by rinsing the area with lukewarm water. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or if the symptoms don’t improve.
Irritation to the Mouth
When poinsettia leaves or branches are bitten or chewed, the plant’s sap contains compounds that can irritate the mouth. You may observe Fido licking his lips, drooling, or pawing at their mouth more frequently than typical. Most of the time, these side effects will go away on their own, but if they persist for more than a day or two, you should consult a veterinarian.
Due to the direct irritation of the digestive tract, ingestion of the poinsettia plant might result in an upset stomach. Poinsettia can cause vomiting, decreased appetite, moderate lethargy, and diarrhea in dogs.
Poinsettia consumption has a direct correlation to these side effects, which tend to become more pronounced the more you ingest. Poinsettia-related gastrointestinal symptoms are, for the most part, temporary and self-resolving.
Your veterinarian will recommend a feeding regimen that is appropriate for your dog. After a stomach ache, it’s recommended to eat small, frequent meals. A gastric diet recommended by a veterinarian might also be beneficial.
Tummy problems may be particularly distressing for little dogs, particularly puppies. If a puppy or tiny dog does not eat, they might get dehydrated and possibly hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). They must be closely observed. Notify your veterinarian right away if anything unusual happens.
The poinsettia plant does not cause blockage of the intestines. It’s a concern if your dog has gnawed through the plastic pot or other holiday decorations. A blockage in the intestines is possible due to the fact that they are alien entities.
Vomiting (sometimes numerous times), difficulty passing stools, decreased appetite, difficulty keeping food or drink down, and diarrhea are all signs of intestinal blockage. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you believe your pet has eaten any of these products or is displaying indications of a blockage. This is a life-threatening situation, and it has to be investigated as quickly as possible.
Can poinsettias kill a dog?
Only slightly poisonous poinsettia is likely to cause a dog to die from eating it. Because it might induce vomiting and diarrhea, you should always consult with a veterinarian before giving this to your dog. If a puppy or a small breed dog stops eating and develops vomiting and diarrhea, they can soon become ill and dehydrated.
What are symptoms of poinsettia toxicity in dogs?
Dogs may have an unfavorable reaction to the medication, despite the fact that it isn’t lethal. How much sap has been swallowed or has come into touch with the dog’s skin will determine the outcome. In addition, the symptoms may be more severe if the sap comes into touch with sensitive regions of the body. Included are:
- Itching on the skin
- Blisters are a common ailment (when the ingested amount is high)
Poisoning in dogs can have a wide range of effects and symptoms, but some are more serious than others and have greater long-term consequences. Take a look at our cannabis toxicity in dogs page for more instances.
Poinsettia Poisoning in Dogs: Treatment
Veterinarian care is rarely required for poinsettia-eating dogs. Most of the time, the symptoms are non-serious and go away on their own. In some cases, veterinarian care may be necessary for tiny dogs and pups, as well as canines with more severe clinical symptoms.
Poinsettias have no known cure. Clinical symptoms are the focus of treatment. Your veterinarian may recommend medicine to help your pet’s stomach calm down. Ointment to soothe and protect sore eyes may also be prescribed. If a tiny dog or puppy is very dehydrated, they may need intravenous fluids (IV drips) in the hospital, although this is quite unusual.
What if my dog eats a poinsettia leaf?
The sap of the poinsettia plant irritates the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and eyes of dogs in little doses. Anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling are all possible side effects, as are flushed and irritated skin and eyes. Even though these symptoms are generally self-limiting, it’s always better to seek the counsel of your local animal hospital.
Despite the fact that poinsettias are not extremely harmful to dogs, this does not mean that they should be chewed! A little amount of poisoning from poinsettia sap can result in symptoms such as dizziness and nausea as well as a general feeling of drowsiness.
If your dog ate a poinsettia, you should seek immediate medical attention from a veterinarian. Certain dogs, such as pups and tiny breeds, have a higher risk of developing difficulties because of the effects, which are dose-dependent.