Succulents are common indoor plants and can be easily accessible to pets. Although the list of succulents that are toxic to pets contains a number of common species found in many homes, it usually does not cause serious sickness. Learning which ones are quite harmless and which are poisonous can save your pet's life one day.
- 1 Are Succulents Poisonous?
- 2 Highly-poisonous to non-poisonous – a brief overview of the toxicity content
- 3 Which are Pet Safe Succulents?
- 4 Which are Succulents Poisonous to Cats and Dogs
- 5 Are Succulents Poisonous to Birds?
- 6 Succulent Safe for Reptiles
- 7 What to Do if Your Pet Ingests a Succulent
- 8 Keep your Pets Happy and Safe
Are Succulents Poisonous?
Highly-poisonous to non-poisonous – a brief overview of the toxicity content
Since a large number of decorative plant families are attributed to succulents, this type of plant cannot generally be defined as poisonous or non-poisonous. The following brief overview provides information about some of the most famous succulents:
Thick-leaf plants (Crassulaceae), such as jade plant, stonecrop or Kalanchoe: non-poisonous to slightly poisonous
Midday flowers (Aizoaceae), like living stones: slightly poisonous in large quantities
Amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae), like knight's star: highly poisonous
Spurge family (Euphorbia), like Christmas Star: poisonous to very poisonous
Aronstabgewächse (Araceae), such as Lucky Feather: poisonous to highly-poisonous
All cacti are pet safe succulents. However, the long, pointed thorns can cause skin injuries that, if left untreated, can develop into dangerous infections.
Which are Pet Safe Succulents?
There are some succulents safe for cats and dogs that are relatively toxic, and the degree of toxicity that each succulent has is different. The good news is that almost all succulents are safe around pets, although you still can't allow your pet to eat them. Among the well-known succulents that are safe for cats, dogs and reptiles (eg. bearded dragons) are:
Which are Succulents Poisonous to Cats and Dogs
If your cat or dog gets into any of the succulents below, you may observe different symptoms depending on the plant it has eaten. A list of the most common poisonous succulents are listed below.
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
People know this plant by various names, including the lucky plant or the money plant. According to VetStreet.com, the jade plant contains an unknown substance that is poisonous to dogs, and that the jade plant is “highly poisonous to dogs.” Poison symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting, coordination disorders and lowered heart rate.
Silver Dollar Plant (Crassula arborescens)
This succulent comes under different names including Chinese Jade and Silver Jade Plant. The silver dollar plant is poisonous. If eaten, the plant can cause nausea and vomiting. Although relatively rare, it may also cause tremors.
Aloe vera is a common indoor plant famous for its medicinal properties. However, it is poisonous to cats and dogs alike if ingested. Among the symptoms reported by Pet Poison Helpline include tremors, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, appetite loss, and change in urine color. The poisonous substance in the aloe plant is called aloin, an anthraquinone that draws extra water into the colon. Aloe Vera does however make a great ingredient for external pet products like shampoos or paw balms.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)
Kalanchoe includes several types of shrub-like, flowering, ornamental plants. According to DVM360, Kalanchoes contain cardiac glycosides that causes increased salivation, lethargy, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If ingested in large amounts, Kalanchoe can be a dangerous poison leading to increased heart rate, irregular heartbeats, breathing difficulty, severe lethargy and collapse. Sudden death in livestock has also been reported in the natural habitat of Kalanchoe. Some famous Kalanchoes include the Chandelier Plant, Mother of Millions, and the Panda Plant.
Pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli)
A succulent in the Euphorbias family, the Pencil Cactus is also known as the Pencil Tree or Firestick Cactus. The succulent produces a white sap that causes skin rashes in both dogs and humans. If ingested, it can cause inflammation in the lining of your mouth and stomach and can lead to vomiting and nausea.
Crown of thorns (Euphorbia Milii)
The Crown of Thorns is another succulent of the Euphorbia family which has an unpleasant taste and many thorns. Therefore, it is usually not eaten by pets. It produces the same white sap as the Firestick Cactus that can cause rashes.
String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
Also known as the String of Beads, this creeping vine succulent may cause drooling, upset stomach, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting if ingested.
Are Succulents Poisonous to Birds?
There are some succulents known to be poisonous or potentially toxic to birds, such as:
- Aloe vera
- Christmas Cactus
- Crown of thorns
- Pencil cactus
- String of pearls
Succulent Safe for Reptiles
A terrarium is a natural oasis that looks good in any room. Terrariums are essential for reptiles like bearded dragons to live in perfect environmental conditions.
If you choose to upgrade your desert terrarium with living plants, there are a few things to keep in mind. Succulents are found almost everywhere in the world, but certain plant families are naturally found only in certain regions. For example, cacti live in America (apart from the poached cactus figs in the Mediterranean), as do agaves. Aloes and delospermas, on the other hand, are mainly found in Africa. Euphorbias are present all over the world. So if you intend to create a true-to-original habitat, pay attention to where your reptile comes from and which plants are native to it.
The next important point is the risk of injury. Many cacti have pointed thorns (=converted leaves!), where one can sting very sensitively, especially when the free space is small. Other plants contain toxins that protect them from eating. In the professional world and among terrarium lovers, some people do not yet quite agree whether the sap of the Euphorbia is also toxic to reptiles. Opinions differ widely here. Personally, I would not risk anything.
Other succulents, such as some representatives of the ice plants (Aizoaceae), contain alkaloids, which should be dispensed with. Many water-storing plants, such as agaves, opuntias, and sedums contain oxalic acid, which should not be consumed in large quantities. How big a “large” quantity is, however, remains to be seen.
And most importantly, you should do without plants from construction and supermarkets. These are often strongly treated with insecticides and herbicides and thus cause undesirable side effects.
What to Do if Your Pet Ingests a Succulent
Because there are many varieties of succulents, the most crucial thing to do when your pet ingests a succulent is identifying the succulent and call for animal poison control.
You can also ask your local veterinary for advice, although, if your veterinarian is not familiar with toxic succulents, you may need to contact an antivenom center for advice. If the poison control suggests treatment, they will issue you a case number that will allow your vet to consult with the toxicologist about any treatment at no additional cost.
Keep your Pets Happy and Safe
If you keep succulents at home, make sure they are not within your pets reach. By keeping toxic succulents in hard-to-reach places, you can avoid potential risk to your pet. If your pet does end up eating a succulent, call the animal poison control to see if treatment is necessary.
10 Surprising Benefits of Succulents
You may also visit The Girl with a Shovel for Succulents that are Safe for Cats.