Are Poinsettias Lethal to Pets: True or False?

Have you for years not purchased a poinsettia at Christmas due to them being lethally poisonous to your pet? 

The Calgary Staff at the Horizon Veterinary Group have good news for you this Christmas season – the poinsettia has been misunderstood for centuries!  Ingestion of poinsettias may cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset, irritation of the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, and dermatitis (skin irritation), but are not lethal to your pet.

So where did the stories that plants were lethal to children and pets start?  Back in 1919, the son of a U.S. Army Officer passed away and it was thought that the cause of death was from ingesting the leaves of a poinsettia. Researchers have since completed tests that confirm that poinsettias are not lethal to cats, dogs, or children.

The poinsettia plant contains a milky sap that can cause mouth irritation and stomach upset, so the Horizon veterinarians recommend keeping your poinsettia out of your pet’s reach.   From a fellow cat owner to another – that may be easier said than done!  Be assured that even if your cat climbs to “Mount Everest” to check out your poinsettia – it will not be fatal to your kitty.

 If your furry loved one does decide to eat your poinsettia, monitor them and if you become concerned for their health, please call and book an appointment with one of our Horizon Veterinary hospitals immediately.


 Have a safe and happy holiday!