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VERIFY: 'Poisonous' poinsettias might irritate your pet but aren’t deadly

It’s a common claim that circulates every Christmas, but experts agree poinsettias are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — As much as we love to admire our festive foliage, our four-legged friends are drooling over it. It's time to revisit a claim that circulates every Christmas season.

VERIFY QUESTION

Are poinsettias deadly to pets?

VERIFY SOURCES

VERIFY PROCESS

A clinical toxicologist with the National Poison Center noted the bottom line is this: the poinsettia plant is irritating but not fatal. If a pet eats it, he or she can develop a mouth rash, upset stomach and, in some cases, a skin rash from the sap. But, researchers found even experimental doses of 500 to 600 leaves were not deadly when ingested.

The Pet Poison Helpline explained poinsettias are mildly toxic to cats and dogs, but there is no antidote for poinsettia poisoning. Watch for drooling, licking lips, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation and eye irritation. Of course, call a veterinarian if symptoms are severe.

The American Veterinary Medical Association warns holly and mistletoe are more toxic than poinsettias and can cause intestinal issues. Tree water is another concern, especially if it is either stagnant or treated with preservatives. Tinsel, ribbons and ornaments are dangerous, as they pose a choking hazard and can get stuck in your pet's intestines.

VERIFY CONCLUSION

Poinsettias are mildly toxic but generally not deadly to pets. To err on the safe side, keep them -- and all hazardous holiday décor -- out of paws' reach.

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