What you need to know about Christmas poinsettias if you have pets

Nov 21 2023, 9:45 pm

The holiday season is upon us, and many Canadians are adding poinsettias to their homes for extra decor. But how dangerous are they to pets if they sneak a nibble or two?

Don’t freak out just yet. Though it may have a bad reputation, this holiday plant is not highly toxic for our four-legged friends.

“There is a mild danger for pets,” says Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline.

“I suspect that someone wanted to stress the importance of keeping pets away from poinsettias and went a little overboard,” she added, speaking to the severity of poinsettias.

If a pet does ingest some of the plant’s milky sap, it may result in skin or gastrointestinal irritation, including vomiting or not eating.

Schmid says there is no need to rush them to a vet if they chomp down on the plant.

“Keeping them at home is ideal. If they develop persistent vomiting or diarrhea, they should be taken to a doctor of veterinary medicine. Usually, a pet might vomit on their own once or twice and then not have any other issues.”

Schmid adds that there are plenty of other things pet owners should be mindful of over the holiday season. It is recommended that pet owners be aware of medications from visiting guests, chocolate, any food product that may contain xylitol for dogs, and electrical cords like Christmas tree lights.

So there you have it. If your cat or dog decides to treat themselves to a little bit of poinsettia, don’t get too worried. Just monitor for any symptoms and get back to enjoying some holiday cheer; they should be fine.

Laine MitchellLaine Mitchell

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