Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?
If you love flowers and even if you don’t have a green thumb, you’re probably familiar with the bright red flowers and green leaves of the poinsettia plants that many people in the U.S and other countries use to decorate their home around the Christmas holidays. But are poinsettias poisonous to dogs? Dogs are curious animals, especially puppies and younger dogs who often explore new things in their home with their mouths. But can poinsettias make your dog sick?
When it comes to poinsettias, otherwise known as euphorbia pulcherrima, it’s the milk-colored fluid inside that contains plant chemicals. These saponin like chemicals, or phytochemicals have a foamy quality when mixed with water or saliva. So, if your dog eats a poinsettia plant, they may appear to be foaming at the mouth which can be quite scary if you don’t know what’s going on.
Although no human has ever died from ingesting poinsettias, they can cause diarrhea and cramping if eaten in large quantities. You would experience a similar reaction if you decided to nibble on a bar of soap or used a cup to drink from that contained dish soap residue. When it comes to dogs or any other animal, they would have to eat a pretty big quantity of poinsettias for it to cause fatal health problems. This doesn’t happen often because like humans, even dogs don’t relish the taste of soap.
What If My Dog Eats Poinsettias?
So, if you suspect your dog has been nibbling on your poinsettia plant, what do you do? The first thing is to observe your dog for any signs of distress. You may see some mild vomiting, excessive drooling, or on rare occasion, diarrhea. Some dogs who get the milk-colored sap on their skin may break out in a rash, or have some redness or swelling in the area of contact.
In most cases, rinsing the area with water and applying an antihistamine type cream will relieve symptoms. Make sure your dog has lots of fresh water to drink and change the water several times over twenty-four hours to be sure it stays fresh. For severe vomiting or diarrhea in your dog after eating poinsettias, contact your vet for treatment advice.
What Other Holiday Decorations Are Toxic for Dogs?
So, poinsettias have gotten a somewhat bad rap but what other holiday decorations are toxic for dogs?
Holly berries and mistletoe are more toxic than poinsettias. If your dog eats either of these toxic plants, he may experience intestinal problems. See a vet immediately if your dog exhibits symptoms such as belly pain, diarrhea, excessive drooling, or vomiting. Lilies which are a popular flower used by florists in decorations at any time of year are highly poisonous for dogs. It’s believed even the pollen from a lily can make your dog severely ill!
Snow globes are also popular at Christmas time and are often a decoration that gets picked up and shaken a lot when extended family and friends visit. But be cautious if the inevitable happens and a snow globe gets broken around your dog. The liquid inside some snow globes is antifreeze, which is toxic for your dog.