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VERIFY: Yes, poinsettias are mildly toxic to pets

The leaves contain a sap that's irritating to the mouth and esophagus and can cause intestinal issues.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

Are poinsettias poisonous to your pets?

ANSWER:

Yes, poinsettias are toxic, but they should not be deadly. If your cat or dog eats them, they risk gastrointestinal irritation and nausea. 

SOURCES:

Dr. Douglas Kratt, President, American Veterinary Medical Association

PROCESS:

Every year, warnings pop up on social media informing people that poinsettias are toxic to pets. But is it true?

Our Verify researchers reached out to Dr. Douglas Kratt, the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association and a practicing veterinarian who owns Central Animal Hospital in Onalaska, Wisconsin.

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"I tell people to have their pets enjoy the holidays with them," he said. "But be careful with all of the new things that are added to the house. Poinsettias have a very mild toxicity in the grand scheme of things, and primarily what you're going to get is an upset stomach, potentially some upset, lower intestinal tract issues as well.”

According to the AMVA, Holly and mistletoe are more toxic than poinsettias and can cause intestinal issues.

The AMVA also warns pet owners to watch out for Christmas tree water treated with preservatives because it can also be problematic for pets.

Our expert said if someone's pet experiences any issues, they should reach out to their veterinarian who knows their pet's health.

The AMVA's Household Hazards pamphlet says every home contains a variety of everyday items and substances that can be dangerous or even fatal if ingested by dogs and cats. 

Credit: AMVA

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Credit: AMVA