Poinsettia

Poinsettia

plants

Alternate names

Euphorbia, lobster flower, flame leaf flower, Flower of the Holy Night, Flower of Christmas Eve, Crown of the Andes, Easter flower

Toxicity to pets

During the holidays, poinsettias are a popular Christmas plant. Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) plants are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. The milky white sap found in poinsettias contains chemicals called diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents. While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated. When ingested, mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea may be seen. If the milky sap is exposed to skin, dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop. Rarely, eye exposure can result in mild irritation. Signs are generally self-limiting and typically don’t require medical treatment unless severe and persistent. There is no antidote for poinsettia poisoning. That said, due to the low level of toxicity seen with poinsettia ingestion, medical treatment is rarely necessary unless clinical signs are severe.

Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Licking lips
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness)
  • Eye irritation

 

Poinsettia

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Disclaimer

The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.