Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are popular winter holiday plants known for their bright red and green leaves, which complement any Christmas-themed decor. While a poinsettia is mildly poisonous to your dog if he ingests any part of it, it usually won't do anything other than cause him some gastrointestinal distress.

Red poinsettia flower
Poinsettia plant
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The Perils of Poinsettias

Poinsettias contain a toxic latex sap that can cause vomiting if Fido decides to eat any part of these showy plants, warns the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In some cases, it could cause diarrhea. The sap, which contains diterpenoid euphorbol esters and chemicals similar to saponins, may irritate your pup's mouth, causing him to drool excessively, warns the Pet Poison Helpline. Poinsettia sap also may irritate your pooch's skin if the plants are bruised in any way, causing the affected skin to become red and inflamed. If the sap gets into your pup's eye, it also could cause conjunctivitis.

What to do if Your Pooch Eats Poinsettias

Consult with your vet to determine if any emergency care is necessary for your pup based on the amount of poinsettia matter he has ingested and the severity of his symptoms. Usually the symptoms are mild and will resolve themselves. To avoid issues, keep those pretty poinsettias away from your dog, whether indoors or out, by placing houseplants out of his reach and fencing off areas where they are planted outdoors.