Learn about our new content partnership with BET

Ho-Oh-No: This Popular Holiday Plant May Be Dangerous for Pets

This plant may give Fluffy some tummy troubles.

Loading the player...

Holiday decorations are a delight to humans, but they may be even more precious to your pets. Your cat will climb to the top of your Christmas tree within half an hour of its assembly, and there’s at least a 95 percent chance your pup will steal a gingerbread man off the kitchen counter before you finish decorating it.

These antics can be a nuisance, but a tree toppling over might not be the biggest threat to your pet. Although not deadly, the popular poinsettia plant may make your four-legged family member fall ill.

This gorgeous plant with vibrant red flowers is the perfect plant for your holiday decor, but it’s not totally innocent. The stems of the plant are filled with a milky white sap, which contains chemicals that can irritate cats’ and dogs’ digestive systems, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

To be clear, poinsettias are only *mildly* toxic, and you don’t need to rush Fluffy to the vet if you catch her nibbling on that crimson foliage. But knowing the risk of poinsettia sap—and making sure your pet can’t reach the holiday plant—could save your pet from an evening of unpleasant symptoms. Since your pet makes you a little healthier, don’t you want to return the favor?

What might that poinsettia sap do to your furry friend? If the sap is on your pet’s skin or eyes, it might result in swelling, itchiness, and redness. If your pet ingests the sap, they might experience:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Drooling

  • Licking lips

  • Or diarrhea.

Symptoms from poinsettia exposure are usually mild and will slowly pass on their own. However, if symptoms appear severe, call your vet: There might be something else going on.

To prevent this discomfort, keep your poinsettia plant off the floor and away from pets—especially if your pet is known for nibbling. (If nothing else, it will also save your poinsettia from chew marks.)

But your holiday decorations aren’t the only risk for your pets: You’ll want to be careful with the food on your table, too. Here are human foods that are toxic to dogs.