Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Poinsettia Plant Isn’t Really That Bad

Dear Readers,
It’s that time of year again and we are receiving scary emails about all the things that can go wrong over the holidays.

Why do people feel such a need to do that?  We often wonder.  Nevertheless, we are now gong to do it ourselves!  One common warning is about holiday plants and their dangerousness for pets. But they are not always accurate.

So here is the real scoop about that.

Many people associate the Poinsettia plant with extreme toxicity, but this is just not  true. In fact, it is largely an urban legend, that keeps getting repeated over and over, causing the demise of many innocent plants.

If you want to refuse a Poinsettia because they are a bit homely, that’s your choice, and if you need the excuse of protecting your pets so as not to hurt someones feelings, well, OK, but if you like these scrawny garish plants (and we must confess, we actually do like them) you can enjoy them guilt free.

The sap of Poinsettias is considered to be mildly toxic/irritating, and might cause nausea or vomiting, but not severe illness. So don’t feed your pets a poinsettia salad, which they would not eat anyway because it would taste really horrible.

Mistletoe and Holly, on the other hand,  are  moderately to severely toxic, and you should call your veterinarian or poison control center immediately for  advice if you think your pet has ingested either of these plants.

In fact,  buy yourself some good fakes and keep the real thing out of your house if you have pets (or small children.)

Lilies and other bulb plants are also very toxic to cats, and are sometimes associated with  severe symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, cardiac arrhythmia, kidney failure, convulsions and death.

This  includes plant bulb kits featuring Amaryllis and other plants in the lily family.

If you think your cat has ingested any of these plants, call your vet immediately.

Narcissus and other plants in the daffodil family, are also popular gift items at this time of year and are toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Be very careful with all of these plants. Either put them in a room where your cats don’t have access or avoid them altogether and admire the beauty of your cats and the handsomeness of your dogs instead.

Finally, we hate to sound like Scrooge, but even Christmas trees are considered mildly toxic.

Tree oils can irritate to the mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling or vomiting.

The tree needles are not easily digested either; possibly causing GI irritation, vomiting, gastrointestinal obstruction or puncture. The amount of trouble depends on how much is consumed. We would hope that your dog is smart enough not to gobble up huge quantities of pine needles, but, speaking from experience, there are dogs out there who will eat just about anything.

With all of these plants, once again, if your best precautions fail and you think you pet may have ingested something dangerous, call your vet immediately.

Oh, and Happy Holidays to all of you animal lovers!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Because people and pets are good for each other!