Succulent Toxicity

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What's Inside?

Are succulents poisonous?

It turns out that there are succulents that aren’t safe for animals either if ingested or if external contact is made On this page, you’ll find a list of common succulents that don’t play well with animals, what happens if your cat or dog eats a toxic succulent, how to prevent them from eating succulents and what to do if your animal eats a succulent that is poisonous. You may only see evidence that your pet has gotten to your plants so knowing the signs of poisoning and which succulents are harmful is key.

are succulents poisonous to pets?

Poison Control Phone Numbers

Toxic Succulents List

  1. Aloe
    Aloe vera, Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Burn Aloe, First Aid Plant, Soap Aloe, Mountain Aloe
    The saponins and anthraquinones in aloe can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea if ingested by cats or dogs.
  2. Kalanchoe
    Mother of Millions, Devil’s Backbone, Paddle Plant, Flapjack, Chandelier Plant, Panda Plant, Chocolate Soldier, Donkey Ears, Mother of Thousands, Lavender Scallops,
    The bufodienolides in kalanchoe can cause vomiting, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, and in rare cases, abnormal heart rhythm if ingested by cats or dogs.
  3. Crassula
    Silver Jade Plant, Silver Dollar, Watch Chain, Baby’s Necklace, Buddha’s Temple, Money Plant, Ripple Jade, String of Buttons
    It is unknown what is toxic in crassula, but it can cause vomiting, gastrointestinal upset, depression, and incoordination if ingested by cats or dogs.
  4. Adenium obesum
    Desert Rose
    The cardiac glycosides in adenium can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, anorexia, depression, irregular heartbeat, and death if ingested by cats or dogs.
  5. Sansevieria
    Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Whale’s Fin
    The saponins in sansevieria can cause nausea, vomiting gastrointestinal upset, and diarrhea if ingested by cats or dogs.
  6. Portulaca
    Purslane
    The soluble calcium oxalates in portulaca can cause muscle weakness, depression, and diarrhea if ingested by cats or dogs.
  7. Yucca
    The saponins in yucca can cause vomiting if ingested by cats or dogs.
  8. Euphorbia
    Fire Sticks, Pencil Plant, Cat Tails Euphorbia, Candelabra Plant, Ghost Cactus, Coral Cactus, Crown of Thorns, Poinsettia
    The irritant latex sap in euphorbia can cause irritation to the mucous membranes and skin as well as vomiting if ingested by cats or dogs.
  9. Agave
    Foxtail Agave, Century Plant
    The calcium oxalates in agave can cause throat swelling, skin irritation, rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting if ingested by cats or dogs.
  10. Senecio
    String of Pearls, String of Tears, String of Bananas, String of Dolphins, Blue Chalk Sticks, Mermaid’s Tail Succulent, String of Fishhooks, String of Watermelons
    The pyrrolizidine alkaloids in senecio can cause liver failure, depression, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness if ingested by cats or dogs.

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive, but rather a list of common succulents that you’re likely to have in your home. Any time your pet ingests any plant material whether it is listed as poisonous or toxic, they might experience vomiting and gastrointestinal upset if eaten in large enough amounts.

What is it about some succulents that make them dangerous?

Some succulents have evolved in a number of ways to protect themselves- some have spikes and some have toxic components like irritant sap in the case of senecio and euphorbia species. Saponins in succulents like aloe can cause gastrointestinal distress if ingested. Do note that some species go by similar common names, so going by the scientific name is the only way to definitively know what you have. Poisonings due to succulent ingestion are pretty rare and it takes a large amount to cause harm, but it is still important for any responsible pet owner to know what the signs of poisoning are and err on the side of caution when it comes to fluffy.

Precautions You Can Take

Pets can’t tell which succulents are toxic or poisonous (they probably don’t really care either) so take these precautions to keep these plants out of their reach.

8 Ways You Can Keep Your Pets Away From Your Plants

  1. Use galvanized chicken wire or sharp rocks on the top of the pot to make it less comfy when your pet wants to curl up in a ball on top of your succulents. 
  2. Keep succulents on pedestals with not a whole lot of surface area to land on. If they can’t fits, they can’t sits. 
  3. Offer cats a plant they can safely eat – cat grass! This can keep your cats distracted 
  4. Dangling plants are often the victim of cats pawing and batting long strings like string of pearls or string of bananas. Keep them trimmed and less enticing to those sharp kitty claws.
  5. Spray around your succulents with a product called Bitter Apple to discourage your pets from munching on your plants. It leaves a funky taste in their mouth so they’ll be less likely to take a bite the next time they get that urge.
  6. Surround your soft succulents with spiky plants like cactus. 
  7. Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the soil in your succulent pots.
  8. Use citrus peel or make a spray out of citrus essential oils to spray around your plants.

Pesticides and Pets

Don’t forget any succulent which has been sprayed with toxic pesticides becomes toxic itself once ingested. There are ways to minimize or prevent pests which are non-toxic, but still effective.

Resources:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6349368/ 

https://calpoison.org/topics/plant

https://www2.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ccah/dogs/toxic-plant-garden.cfm

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/

What should you do if your pet ingests a succulent?

Call the poison control numbers listed at the top of the page.

Contact your veterinary clinic or 24-hour emergency vet clinic if after normal business hours.

Do not induce vomiting. You may think it will help ease the distress your animal is experiencing, but vomiting can cause further damage. Leave this to the professionals.

What Succulents Are Safe for Pets?

These succulents are generally regarded as safe around pets and are good alternatives to the toxic plants listed above. You’ll still probably want to use the tricks above to keep your animals away from them. 

Echeveria

Graptopetalum

Pachyphytum

Sedum

Haworthia

Sempervivum

Christmas Cactus (schlumberga)

Opuntia

Other Ways to Prevent Accidental Poisoning

Keep the identification tags that come with your succulents if they are available. Use plant stakes to keep track of what you have in case you need to look it up. 

When you call a poison control center or veterinary clinic about a potential poisoning, they aren’t going to be able to tell you if a plant is toxic or not when you say it was a small, blue succulent. Latin names will be very helpful in this instance.

Do thorough research before buying new succulents to avoid a vet bill later.

Toxic Succulents Identification Help

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