Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?

Are Poinsettias Poisonous to dogs? The quick answer is no, although dogs may suffer from mild gastrointestinal upset if they swallow a leaf.  Depending on the dog’s size and how much they actually swallow, they might feel unwell with gastrointestinal upset.  If you have a small dog with a weird taste for the plant, your little pooch (depending on the amount eaten) is going to be in more distress than a much larger dog.

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This post was written to reassure you about poinsettias and your dog.  It’s always best practice to keep plants and other potential toxins out of reach, but can at least rest assured that no serious harm will come to dogs who swallow a small bit of poinsettia.

You’ll also get two Bonus Content Sections.  In the first section, you’ll learn about the most common houseplants and their effect on dogs.  Some plants that you have in your home right now could be a lot more poisonous to dogs than poinsettias. 

In the second section, you’ll get a quick “How To” about “petiquette” for the holidays with more tips on keeping your dog safe while answering the question, “Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs?”

Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs

Not really.  If your dog decides to chomp on a bright red poinsettia leaf, there’s a chance they are going to get sick, but not seriously ill.  Your dog could end up with mild gastrointestinal upset. Depending on the size of your dog and the amount of plant eaten, it’s possible for your dog to have an episode of vomiting and diarrhea.

Watch this YouTube video for more information that answers the question, “Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs?”

No Need to Panic!

Once a dog has swallowed a piece of poinsettia plant, there’s nothing you can do.  The good news is that there’s probably nothing you NEED to do. However, I have to say that you should still give your vet a call.  Many people wonder, “Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Dogs,” and I think it’s important to consider the size of your dog versus the amount the dog has ingested.

Different dogs can react in different ways. Also, if your dog IS vomiting or has diarrhea, you really have to watch out for dehydration.

If anything is going to happen, it will likely involve oral irritation or mild gastrointestinal upset.  

Rare symptoms of toxicity could include difficulty breathing or even show signs of anaphylaxis.  Depending on the size of the dog and the amount they have eaten, they might suddenly have trouble breathing, or show signs of anaphylaxis.

In general, there’s no need to panic if you discover your dog has just swallowed a piece of a poinsettia plant.  If your dog starts to act unusually and appear unwell, take them to the veterinarian. You might think it has to do with the poinsettia plant, but it’s always possible there is another medical issue going on with your dog.

Bonus Section Content:

What’s In Your House?

The top 5 most common houseplants in America include the aloe vera plant, the snake plant, succulents, Peace Lilly, and English Ivy.

Are Any House & Garden Plants Safe for Dogs?

Aloe Vera Plant

The aloe vera plant is known worldwide for its healing properties. It’s easy to grow and is a perfect houseplant, especially if you’re prone to dry skin, mild burns or sunburns.

You might think that since it’s available in many drinks and products for people that it would be safe for dogs.  Not so.  Symptoms of aloe vera plant poisoning in dogs includes severe vomiting and diarrhea. This is particularly dangerous for puppies who may become dehydrated quickly, or dogs with compromised immune systems.

Snake Plant

The snake plant is toxic to dogs and creates symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Other names for the snake plant include, Golden Bird’s Nest, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, or Good Luck Plant.

Peace Lilly

If you have a Peace Lilly in your home, be careful that your dog doesn’t take a bite out of it.  If that happens, your dog could have irritation of the mouth, excessive drooling, trouble swallowing, or vomiting. 

English Ivy 

The English Ivy is also called Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, and California Ivy.  This plant can also cause  gastrointestinal upsets similar. These include vomiting, stomach pain, excessive drooling, and diarrhea.

Are Succulents Poisonous to Dogs?

Succulents are not good for a dog to eat.  The plant’s water-carrying properties make it sound safer to eat than it is.  For dogs, the irritant comes from compounds within the plant.

A little exposure may cause some skin irritation; however, if your dog decides to eat the whole plant, it’s a worthwhile trip to the veterinarian clinic. 

Side effects of succulents for dogs include everything from mild mouth irritation, to difficulty breathing.  If your dog seems to be okay but you’re really not sure, it’s okay to contact Pet Poison control or your veterinarian for advice.

Bonus Section 1

Petiquette and Dog Safety

If you plan to host social gatherings, make a point of taking care of your dog before guests arrive.  Dogs tend to feel safe and secure in crates that are not too big (and obviously not too small). Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around and there should be enough room for a bowl of water. Even a dog who is normally calm can get over-excited when company comes. Just because your dog never chewed on plants before doesn’t mean your dog will never chew on plants.

The last thing you want is a guest asked, “Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs?” while your pooch chomps on some leaves

No Table Scraps Please!

Even people who love dogs might not understand the consequences of feeding them table scraps.  For that matter, your guest might not realize their unattended drinks could be lapped up by the dog. 

If you’re not going to tuck your dog safely away while the party is in full swing, it’s okay to remind guests to be mindful of the dog.

You might be interested in:  Are Dog’s Mouth’s Cleaner than Human’s?

Bonus Section 2

Holiday Dog Danger Zones 

Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs isn’t the only question to ask yourself.  A simple Christmas tree can be very dangerous to adventurous dogs, especially artificial trees.

Artificial trees, just like the real thing, tend to weaken over time. The needles fall out and mini-lights loosen.  Dogs are drawn to trees just as much as cats are.  Hazards include swallowing sharp, artificial needles. When this happens, your dog is exposed to PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a cancer-causing compound found in consumer products. 

Christmas tree ornaments shatter easily, leaving sharp pieces for your dog to swallow or step on.  Have you ever tried to stop your dog’s paw from bleeding? It’s not easy.  

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

Poinsettia plants are the least of your worries over the holidays.  Chocolates tend to accompany social gatherings, but chocolate is toxic for dogs.  In fact, the consequences of your dog eating chocolate is likely more dangerous than whether or not they a piece of poinsettia.

The two naturally occurring ingredients in chocolate are caffeine and theobromine.  Dogs are unable to metabolize these stimulant compounds.  It is the build-up of stimulants in the dog’s body that create toxicity.   

Read About the Alarming Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs!

The following is a pet poison control teams use to determine the severity of the toxicity.  With this information, they can get to work to clear the toxins from your dog’s body.

8-16 mg/lb of theobromine can cause vomiting and diarrhea

17-44 mg/lb  of theobromine causes increased heart rate and arrhythmias

45-55 mg/lb- of theobromine causes seizures and central nervous system dysfunction

>55 mg/lb – of theobromine can cause death.

To Sum It

Hopefully, your question, “Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs” has been answered.  They are not poisonous, but dogs who chomp into the bright red plant might get a mild reaction.

The bigger dangers in your house could be the everyday plants on the windowsill. Christmas trees, ornaments, packaging, etc., are all potential dangers.  The last think you want is for your dog to need emergency surgery to remove tinsel from their body.

I want to thank you for reading this post. Are poinsettias poisonous to dog is an excellent question, and I hope it’s been answered for you.  Keep asking questions because that’s how we all keep our dogs safe.

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Are poinsettias poisonous to dogs?
Poor Bob. He knows he’s never going to find out whether poinsettias are poisonous to dogs if he asks Crazy Uncle Carl
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About Lisa Theriault

Lisa Theriault wants you to know right up front that she is not a veterinarian. None of the articles/posts on this website are meant to take the place of veterinarian care. That said, Lisa has had a lifetime of experience dealing with dogs and plans on further education on dog anatomy and canine massage. In the meantime, Lisa's posts are all professionally researched and carefully crafted. The last thing she wants is to do or say anything that would hurt your dog. Stay tuned for more updates to Lisa's bio.