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VERIFY: Yes, poinsettias are mildly toxic to pets

Do you have to avoid buying poinsettias if you have cats and dogs? Not always.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

Is the colorful plant that's super popular this time of year 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:

Janine Oliver, DVM -- Veterinarian at Benessere Animal Hospital

Pet Poison Helpline

 PROCESS:

'Tis the season for poinsettias! 

Warnings are all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram making sure you know that this festive plant is toxic for cats and dogs.

It's often said that the Christmas flower is poisonous to pets, but is it true?

Our Verify researchers at WFMY in Greensboro, North Carolina consulted a veterinarian with over a decade of experience and the Pet Poison Help Line. They all agree that poinsettias can be harmful to pets, but they're only mildly toxic. It really depends on how much of the plant a pet has eaten.

Poinsettias will irritate a pet's gastrointestinal tract. Eating a whole plant, for example, can cause diarrhea and vomiting.  

"Most of those incidents are probably going to be self-limiting, in that they're are going to throw up, purge what they took and then be okay," Janine Oliver, at Benessere Animal Hospital, said. "But, if they continue to throw up or have diarrhea, they need to see a veterinarian to replace the fluids that they lost. Dehydration is the biggest danger when you're dealing with vomiting and diarrhea."

The Pet Poison Helpline also said to look for signs of drooling, licking lips, and skin and eye irritation. There is no known cure for poinsettia poisoning, but our Verify experts say it rarely requires medical treatment.

So yes, poinsettias are toxic to pets, but they shouldn't be deadly. 

Avoid poinsettias if your pet is likely to try to eat them. If not, it's okay to have them in your house. 

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