Holiday Dog Hazards: Poinsettias

Poinsettias are known for their beautiful, brilliant color and can remind many people of heartwarming moments this time of year brings. Their bright, large petals are perfect for crafts or centerpieces for your table. But, for our family pets, Poinsettias can be dangerous to if ingested and must be kept out of reach or avoided altogether.

Why Poinsettias are a Holiday Dog Hazard

The milky white sap that comes out of the flower’s stems is poisonous and can make your dog dizzy, nauseous, and discombobulated. The sap in Poinsettias is actually a saponin. A saponin creates a foaming soap-like substance when in contact with water. Because it is a saponin, it grows when mixed with saliva, which can block your dog’s intestines and can hurt the sensitive lining of their stomach. If Poinsettia is ingested, it’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately.

Dog-Safe Ways to Decorate

Here are a few ways you can still decorate without putting your dog at risk:

Make a Garland

You can still have poinsettias, fir, and holly throughout your home without tempting your pooch. String all the lovely leaves and flowers securely together and then place them high on the wall. You can use Command strips so you can take them down after the season or you can create more permanent hooks and put up other home decorations up the rest of the year. You can also use artificial versions of these holiday hazards to reduce the harm they can do to your dogs. You will still want to keep them out of reach so your dog does not attempt to eat or chew on them.

Go Rustic

Your pup will definitely want to get their paws on all the glittery, shiny decorations that go with the holiday season. Try to avoid having them tearing through your tinsel by going all natural with more muted tones. This will help keep them from being distracted and attracted to the decorations. Here, too, you will want to keep all decorations out of their reach to avoid any potential ingestion, especially if your dog is a known chewer or a puppy that is still attempting to mouth everything.


Instead of using artificial scents and essential oils that can be harmful to your pets if consumed, you can use beeswax candles and ornaments to fill your home with a warm, clean scent. Some essential oils are safe for dogs while others are not. Even if they are approved for pet use, they can sometimes be overwhelming to an animal’s sensitive nose. Unlike essential oils, a beeswax scent is not too strong for animals that have much, much stronger olfactory senses than humans.

By staying away from essential oil diffusers or scented candles, you can help keep your dog or cat from getting sick and help your pet stay healthy and happy this festive season. You will still want to keep your candles and ornaments out of the way and out of reach of your pets. While small amounts of beeswax will not harm your pet, you do not want them to accidentally consume any if possible. It could create a blockage in their intestine or make digestion difficult.

This season is a great time for everyone in the family. Be sure to do your best to make it comfortable for everyone, including your furry friends, but avoiding common holiday dog hazards.