Are poinsettias poisonous to pets?

Are poinsettias poisonous to pets?
Source: WDAM

PINE BELT (WDAM) - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and folks are beginning to deck the halls. Sometimes with a few things that can be harmful for family pets.

One bright red holiday plant comes with its own myth about being poisonous to pets if consumed.

"You're talking about poinsettias, and no, it's not true," said Animal Medical Center Veterinarian Jodi Griswold. "However, the poinsettias, if consumed, especially in large volumes, can cause severe gastritis, and that leads to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea."

The poinsettia is native to Mexico and were first brought in to the United States in the early 1800s, even at that time filled with a few myths of just how the red flower came about.

The symptoms from the gastritis can be fatal to your pets if it goes unattended.

"Those signs, especially if they go untreated can be fatal, so yes and no to the myth," Griswold said. "It's not that they are toxic long term, but they can definitely cause an issue for your pet."

According to Griswold, the poinsettia isn't the only plant you should worry about in the holiday season.

"Lilies in flower arrangements are very toxic especially to cats," Griswold said. "Also when you are thinking of things around the house, mistletoe, holly, anything that you know that can be on the tree, those needles, cats and dogs chewing on, the plants can be toxic and can cause similar gastritis issues."

Another popular holiday tradition that many families are guilty of is handing over those table scraps to the family pets.

Griswold said that is a very big "don't" for your pets in the holiday season.

"I do not want people to share their holiday meal with their pets,"  Griswold said. "Ham off the table, especially when it's that honey glazed or even turkey that's heavily spiced and treated, people like to think if there's meat in my dog's food and my cat's food that's got to be safe for them, but it's those extra spices, salts, peppers and glazes that are not, those are all things that we like to think of should be normal and safe for a pet, but can cause some very serious issues."

Griswold added that fatty foods, sweets, chocolate, and anything with artificial sweeteners will also cause problems for pets.

Additional foods that can be dangerous to your pet:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot pits
  • Avocados
  • Cherry pits
  • Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
  • Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
  • Hops (used in home beer brewing)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy foods
  • Mushroom plants
  • Mustard seeds
  • Onions and onion powder
  • Peach pits
  • Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
  • Raisins
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Salt
  • Tea (because it contains caffeine)
  • Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
  • Walnuts
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
  • Yeast dough