Poinsettias and Dog Poisoning: What's the Connection?


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Poinsettias are pretty plants that grow both indoors and outdoors. They are popularly called holiday plants as they are a common sight around Christmas in North and Central America. These plants have large, bright red flowers which have clusters of tiny yellow flowers at their center. Parts of this plant, mainly the leaves and stem, contain a white, sticky secretion that is the main cause of concern when discussing toxicity in animals. What exactly is poinsettia poisoning in dogs?

Are poinsettias toxic to dogs?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, because the sticky white secretion form the plant is mildly toxic for most dogs and ingesting this secretion can cause a number of problems for your dog. The secretion contains certain chemicals that can irritate skin and digestive tract in dogs, which can lead to a number of symptoms that indicate poisoning and toxicity. No, because contrary to popular perception, poinsettias are only mildly toxic to dogs and only if consumed in large quantities.The level of toxicity your dog may suffer from poinsettia ingestion depends on a number of factors:

  • Size of the dog: If you have a small dog and it has ingested an entire poinsettia plant, then there is a greater risk of toxicity than if you have a bigger dog or the dog has ingested only a small amount of poinsettia. If your small dog has ingested a large amount of the plant, it is best to get in touch with your vet to know the symptoms and ensure you dog is safe.
  • Amount of poinsettia ingested: Poinsettia is only mildly toxic to dogs, which means you only need to worry if your dog has ingested a large quantity of the plant. If your dog has nibbled on a few leaves or flowers of the plant, it is probably not a cause of concern and your dog will be alright.
  • Age and general health of the dog: Older dogs and dogs with poor digestive health might react more severely to poinsettia ingestion than younger and healthier dogs. Such dogs will usually exhibit telltale signs of toxicity, and you need to take them to the vet right away once you notice the symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of poinsettia ingestion and poisoning
  • Excessive drooling
  • Itchiness and irritation of the skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Scratching face repetitively

If you are unsure how much poinsettia your dog has ingested or how unwell your dog is after ingestion, it is bets to take your dog to the vet for a quick checkup. This will ensure that your dog is cleared for poisoning or is given timely treatment if there are any indications of severe poinsettia poisoning.

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