We field many “my pet ate this, what do I do?” phone calls over the holidays. One of the main offenders, other than chocolate, is Poinsettias.
Poinsettias, also known as Euphorbia pulcherrima, are a popular holiday flower. Although they are regarded far and wide as a holiday toxin, their toxicity is actually usually overrated.
When bitten or ingested the white, sap-like substance inside of the flowers and leaves can cause an upset stomach (vomiting and diarrhea) and associated symptoms of nauseousness (drooling, lip smacking, etc.). In most cases these issues are self-limiting, meaning they don’t require any treatments. However, dogs and cats with particularity sensitive stomachs may need to be treated more carefully.
The sap has also been known to have an almost caustic property. The main concern is that it has the potential to cause irritation/burn to the mucus membranes of our pets. There have also been a few reported incidences where cats get some if it in their eye from rubbing up against the plant. These situations would require veterinary care.
If you are ever concerned about the toxicity of a plant contact:
Written by Caitlin Johnston, RVT