Poinsettias are not deadly to pets

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not deadly to cats and dogs. But they might get sick if they eat a lot of the plant.

‘Tis the season for poinsettias!

Poinsettias are one of the most popular holiday plants because of their colorful leaves that can range from a creamy white to a traditional bright red.

Recent online searches show many people are wondering if poinsettias can kill cats and dogs. Similar claims have been circulating on social media for years.


Are poinsettias deadly to pets?



This is false.

No, poinsettias are not deadly to pets, but ingesting large amounts can cause illness.  


Poinsettia plants have had a bad rap for over a century. According to the ASPCA, the holiday plant has been called lethal to pets since around 1919. But poinsettias aren’t as dangerous to cats and dogs as many people believe. 

The ASPCA, the American Kennel Club and the Pet Poison Helpline all say poinsettias are only mildly toxic to pets — not fatal — due to chemicals found in the plant’s milky white sap. 

“While poinsettias are commonly ‘hyped’ as lethal plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated,” the Pet Poison Helpline says on its website.

When cut, poinsettia stems excrete a milky white sap that contains minimal levels of chemicals called diterpenoid euphorbol esters and steroidal saponins, which are similar to those found in detergents.

If cats and dogs consume large quantities of the sap, they may experience mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation, such as nausea, vomiting, drooling, or sometimes diarrhea. Skin irritation, including redness, swelling, and itchiness, can also occur after contact with the sap.

More from VERIFY: No, Dawn dish soap should not be used as a regular flea treatment for pets

But the American Kennel Club and Pet Poison Helpline both say medical treatment is rarely necessary unless symptoms are persistent and severe.

“Poinsettias are a mildly toxic plant and should certainly be used with caution, but the dangers are hardly ever serious or fatal,” Jerry Klein, DVM, the American Kennel Club’s chief veterinary officer, said in 2018.

To be safe, Klein recommends keeping plants like poinsettias out of your pet’s reach during the holiday season. He also says to never leave your pets unattended when decorations, plants or potentially hazardous foods are present. 

While poinsettias aren’t deadly to pets, the ASPCA says there are a few other seasonal stems people should be wary of having around their pets. 

“Holly and mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems when ingested, and various lilies that are often found in holiday bouquets can cause kidney failure in cats,” ASPCA says. 

More from VERIFY: No, adding sugar to Christmas tree water won’t help keep it fresh

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

Follow Us

Want something VERIFIED?

Text: 202-410-8808

You May Also Like

Last podcast of Epsom College head found dead with family reveals they faced ‘big changes’

The first female head of Epsom College revealed her family had faced…

UK nurses, ambulance crews strike, straining health system

LONDON – Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance staff walked off…

Police search for 72-year-old driving erratically in Harrogate – latest updates

The pensioner has not taken her medication and is reportedly using her…

Love Island viewers spot problem with series as they switch off

The latest episode of the ITV dating show has left viewers frustrated

Victims to speak in court in Chasing Horse’s sex abuse case

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Victims, police detectives and federal agents are…

Tristyn Bailey’s family speaks after guilty plea of her killer

Jury selection was set to begin Monday in the trial of Aiden…

‘Lettie was perfect in every way’: Nursery staff who looked after Epsom head’s daughter pays tribute

The little girl who was found dead with her parents on the…

Teen arrested as police chases sees car abandoned on Sheffield tram tracks

He was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous…

Unit 4’s board president discusses the future of Schools of Choice

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – The Champaign Unit 4 School District is tackling…

Happy Valley stars reveal how show's ending was kept from cast as they meet for first time on This Morning

The stars revealed details of the last ever episode were taken out…

Happy Valley Ryan star Rhys Connah in moving tribute to Sally Wainwright and cast

Happy Valley star Rhys Connah took to Instagram to reflect on the…

Polk County Sheriff Searching For Man Who Picked Up A Cell Phone At Lakeland Family Dollar

(PCSO) POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is seeking…