Friday, 01 December 2017 13:18

Porky & Buddy Column: Are Poinsetta Plants Really Poisonous?

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Dear Readers: We received an email the other day from the ASPCA about holiday dangers to be concerned about with pets.

It had a lot of important information, but it also listed poinsettia plants as the third most frequent cause of calls to the ASPCA Poison Control Center. We’re here to tell you, LEAVE YOUR POOR POINSETTIA PLANTS ALONE AND STOP CALLING THE POISON CONTROL CENTER ABOUT THEM! They have more important things to worry about pets ingesting, chocolate, human medications, and that brandy soaked fruitcake that you are using as a door stop. Pick that up off the floor. Alcohol is bad for your pets. Poinsettia plants are not.

According to, the poinsettia poison myth had its origin in 1919 when a two-year-old child in Hawaii died of poisoning, and the cause was incorrectly assumed to be a poinsettia leaf. Since that non-poinsettia death in 1919, the myth has persisted beyond all reason, resulting in panicky phone calls to veterinarians and the Poison Control Center, and who knows how many poinsettia plants tossed out in the cold to freeze to death. The American Medical Association’s Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants lists nothing more than occasional vomiting as a side effect of ingesting otherwise harmless (and reputedly extremely bitter) poinsettia leaves. As we all know, our pets nibble on stupid things all the time and puke them up. It’s our job as pet parents to pay attention to what is in our houses, to know what presents a real danger, and to minimize those dangers. We’ll talk about those specific dangers in more detail next week. But if you like poinsettia plants, go out and buy one. Just don’t put it in your salad.

Speaking of pets to fuss over, you can meet some of our pets up for adoption at the Home 4 the Holidays Adoption Celebration on Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17, from 11 to 3 pm at our office at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. You can tour our office, check out our giving tree for ideas about how to help animals, have some holiday refreshments and meet your new best friend!

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. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 2,07-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.

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