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December 17, 2014

Dear Dr. Wise,

Are poinsettias poisonous to cats and dogs?

During the holidays poinsettias are a popular plant to have around since they add to our festive holiday decorations.  Though poinsettias tend to get a bad rap, the good news is that they are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs.  The toxic part of the plant is the milky white sap, which contains chemicals called diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents.  While poinsettias are commonly considered to be poisonous plants, they rarely are and will cause mild irritation to the mouth or stomach.  Instead, the bigger threat is lilies. The ingestion of only 1-2 leaves or petals, even the pollen can result in severe, acute kidney failure in cats. Certain lilies which are found in holiday bouquets, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer; day and Easter lilies pose the biggest threats. The good news is that dogs are not affected, and will likely only develop a mild upset stomach.  For more information on what is poisonous to animals visit the pet poison website:

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Dr. Wise


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