Are Succulents Poisonous To Cats/ Dogs Or Humans?

are succulents poisonous to cats, dogs or humans?

Choosing the right one for your home can be overwhelming, with many different types of succulents. There are a lot of questions to consider: how much natural light does your home have? Do you have time to follow a strict watering schedule? And perhaps most importantly, are succulents poisonous to cats and dogs? While succulents are beautiful on the outside, beneath the surface of some succulents lie certain toxins that could make your pets sick. Let’s face the question today!

According to veterinarian and author Dr. David Gross, most animals are instinctually smart enough to avoid poisonous succulents. However, if your dogs and cats have a proven history of getting into things they shouldn’t — which, let’s face it, is what dogs and cats are best at — you’ll probably want to consider keeping these toxic succulents out of your home and away from your pets.

Are succulents poisonous to humans? Yes, Kalanchoes & Euphorbias are the 2 genera you should avoid. But unlike animals, we have the consciousness not to eat everything we see 🙂 Most people are skeptical before they put something in their mouth, so the possibility is low. However, it’s not impossible, especially for small children. You should protect children and pets from poisonous succulents (listed below).

If you’re unsure whether a succulent is poisonous to cats and dogs, you can check the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). We’ve also rounded up some of the most popular succulents that don’t do well with pets.

Why Are Some Succulents Poisonous?

Are Succulents Poisonous
The succulent might not be as safe and sound as it looks. @oberryssucculents on Instagram

Toxicity is a defense mechanism for most plants against herbivores. They want to survive, just like any other living thing out there. At the same time, there are lots of hungry herbivores looking to gobble them up in an instant.

So they employ various ways to discourage as many of these animals as possible. Those ways include spines and thorns, lousy taste, disgusting scents, and toxic compositions. The toxins cause a certain amount of discomfort that puts off future bites or can be deadly.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Common Poisonous Succulents That You Would Want Your Pets To Avoid

I find these poisonous succulents common as houseplants or decoratives at popular places. Thus, they have the highest possibility of being consumed. Learn more about these succulent plants below!

1. Aloe Vera

While aloe vera might be known for its healing properties, the popular succulent can be dangerous to cats and dogs. The inside of the plant is good for sunburns. But the outside part can upset your stomach if you eat it. Though the aloe gel isn’t toxic (it’s edible), according to veterinarian Dr. Joe Musielak, pet lovers have to be wary of the sap inside aloe leaves.

“The latex of aloe is considered a purgative (a substance that empties the intestinal tract usually by inducing diarrhea). If an animal eats quite a bit of the plant (and it is very bad tasting), you could see mild stomach upset. Severe diarrhea can be life-threatening because it can eventually cause dehydration.”

Dr. Musielak said in an interview with Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital

2. Euphorbia

Euphorbia plants are bad for pets or kids if they eat them or get sap on their skin, as the milky sap inside can irritate and make them feel sick. Most animals learn not to go near them early on, thanks to the thorns that often accompany cacti. Some bad Euphorbias include:

  1. Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia Milii): It’s not just the sharp thorns that can hurt; the sap is also not good.
  2. Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia Tirucalli): The pencil cactus isn’t a cactus. However, cat and dog lovers should be wary of the sap that Euphorbia Tirucalli produces, a latex source. It’s also “been implicated as a potential carcinogen and, if it gets in the eyes, is said to cause temporary blindness,” according to the Associated Press.

3. Crassula

In general, Crassula species are not considered highly toxic to humans, but they can be toxic to pets, especially cats and dogs. The term “highly toxic” might be a bit strong for most Crassula species, but several can indeed pose risks:

While jade poisoning in animals has been shown to include symptoms like vomiting, depression, and lack of coordination, the ASPCA doesn’t know exactly why. While the source of toxicity is unknown as of now, according to Wag Walking, dogs specifically can’t digest plant material, so they tend to exhibit only mild to moderate symptoms.

4. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake plants are another beginner-friendly succulent. But thanks to the saponins they produce, they’re poisonous to cats and dogs. According to the ASPCA, animals that eat plants that produce saponins might experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. As for really toxic kinds of Snake Plants, most types have similar levels of these bad chemicals. So, it’s a good idea just to keep all Snake Plants away from pets and kids to be safe.

“Some animals may rub against these plants and will develop, with repeated skin exposure, allergic dermatitis.”

Dr. Gross explained to My Edmonds News

5. Sedum

Sedum plants aren’t good to eat because they have things in them that can make the stomach upset. This means if a pet or kid munches on them, they might feel queasy. Stonecrop, in general, isn’t a good idea to eat. If you’ve got these plants around, make sure they’re out of reach. If someone does eat them, you should check with a doctor or vet.

6. Kalanchoes

Despite sharing fuzzy features with your pet and bearing the name of an animal, Kalanchoes are not pet-friendly. According to the ASPCA, these succulents produce insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can get stuck in your pet’s mouth and cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. These crystals isn’t fatal and can be treated with milk or water.

“Prognosis is good and clinical signs usually resolve within 24 hours with no lasting effects, …”

I remembered veterinarian Tina Wismer wrote in an article

The Kalanchoe plant flowers also produce Bufadienolides (extra points if you know how to pronounce that!). According to the ASPCA, this toxin can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abnormal heart rate.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Additional Resources on Poisonous Succulents

Those are some of the common potentially harmful succulents around. But it is in no way exhaustive. There are a whole lot of trusted bodies that can offer more information about the succulents you have questions about as far as toxicity is concerned. Be sure to check them out:

How to Keep Your Pets Away from Poisonous Succulents

You can always be ahead of situations by taking a few precautions.

To make things easier, you may choose to avoid toxic succulents altogether. You won’t have to worry about anything that way.

But if you can’t help it, here are a few steps to avert trouble.

  • Consider spraying your succulents with a taste deterrent spray like Bitter Apple. Don’t worry; it’s harmless to succulents and your pets. It just deters your pets from snacking on the plants.
  • Provide your pets with alternative vegetation to chew on. My cat ate a succulent, but luckily, the succulent was not poisonous. Naturally, cats and dogs want to eat a bit of green now and then in search of the roughage needed in digestion. Pet grass is excellent for this. That should hopefully keep them busy.
  • Keep your pets entertained by giving them attention and playing with them whenever possible. Boredom is a sure incitement for them to think about eating your succulents.
  • You can also barricade your plants using old bird cages and terrariums. If the plants are in a particular room, lock them up.
  • Keep the plants in high places. This helps small pets and children. Well, this is debatable for a cat.
  • And finally, be sure to pick up any flying pieces of plants from around the house.

Don’t forget to look out for yourself too. Always have protective clothing to guard against some saps notorious for dermatitis.

What To Do if You Suspect Poisoning

If a pet of yours has taken a bite off these not-so-friendly succulents, be quick in whatever action you go for – you’ll see that below.

Observe your pets for signs of any stem and leaf pieces on the coats and the mouth area, and wash them off to prevent further discomfort. Now, call up any of the following.

  • The nearest local veterinary or Rocklin Vet – An excellent at-home veterinary service you can have any time.
  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Centre (888-426-4435)
  • Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661)

Whomever you call, be sure to know precisely the plant ingested to receive explicit help.

Follow Succulent City on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram for more informative & interesting content about succulents & cacti 🙂 Join the discussions at our Facebook Group, “Succulent City Plant Lounge.” Happy planting, and live the moment!

Final Words

If you already have any of these succulents in your home, you must ensure they’re out of reach from your pets. While it may be hard to pinpoint exactly what makes your pet sick, if you suspect your animal has ingested any of these poisonous succulents, it’s vital to call your vet or reach out to the Animal Poison Control Center for help.

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

2 thoughts on “Are Succulents Poisonous To Cats/ Dogs Or Humans?

  1. What some dog owners may not know is that there are some plants and flowers that are dangerous to our furry family members. It is better to do some research about our garden and plants to prevent dogs from getting poisoned. Also, train your dogs not to eat anything else. In the worst case, call your vet once your dog got poisoned.

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