Succulents are popular plants for their low maintenance and unique appearance, but are they safe for pets? In this article, we’ll answer the question of whether succulents are poisonous to dogs and what to do if your pet ingests a succulent plant.
Are Succulents Poisonous to Dogs?
The short answer is that some succulents are toxic to dogs, while others are not. It’s important to note that every dog is different and may have different reactions to different plants, so it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution.
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Some common succulent plants that are toxic to dogs include aloe vera, cactus, and jade plant. These plants contain toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues in dogs.
Senecio, also known as string of pearls or string of beads, is a popular houseplant that is toxic to dogs. The plant contains toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be harmful to dogs if ingested.
When dogs ingest pyrrolizidine alkaloids, they can suffer from liver damage and potentially develop liver failure. Symptoms of pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisoning in dogs may include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and yellowing of the whites of the eyes (jaundice). In severe cases, the toxins can cause damage to the blood vessels, leading to bruising and bleeding.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested senecio or any other toxic plant, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. The treatment for pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisoning may include hospitalization, supportive care, and medications to help protect the liver and remove the toxins from the body.
It’s also a good idea to keep toxic succulents out of reach of pets, as accidental ingestion can be harmful or even deadly. If you are not sure whether a plant is toxic to pets, you can consult with a veterinarian or check with a poison control center for more information.
Euphorbia, also known as spurge, is a large plant family that includes a variety of species that are toxic to dogs. The toxic substances in euphorbia plants are called diterpenoid esters, which can cause a range of symptoms if ingested by dogs.
Symptoms of euphorbia toxicity in dogs may include:
- Oral irritation: The diterpenoid esters in euphorbia plants can cause irritation and inflammation of the mouth and throat, leading to drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
- Dermal irritation: If the sap of a euphorbia plant comes into contact with a dog’s skin, it can cause irritation and inflammation. This can lead to redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin.
- Eye irritation: Euphorbia sap can also cause irritation and inflammation of the eyes, leading to redness, swelling, and discharge.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms: Ingestion of euphorbia plants can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Other succulent plants that are generally considered non-toxic to dogs include echeveria and sedum. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your dog if you have any plants in your home, just in case.
What to Do if Your Dog Ingests a Succulent Plant
If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic succulent, it’s important to act quickly. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action based on the type of plant and the severity of your dog’s symptoms.
If your dog is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or other digestive issues, your veterinarian may recommend supportive care such as fluids to help flush the toxins out of your dog’s system. In severe cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized for further treatment.
Prevention is Key
The best way to prevent your dog from ingesting a toxic succulent plant is to keep them out of reach. This may mean keeping your plants on a high shelf or in a room that your dog doesn’t have access to. If you have a curious dog that likes to chew on plants, it may be a good idea to avoid toxic succulents altogether and opt for non-toxic varieties instead.
There are several steps you can take to prevent dogs from eating toxic succulents:
- Keep toxic succulents out of reach: Keep toxic plants out of reach of dogs by placing them on high shelves, in closed cabinets, or in a room that is not accessible to pets.
- Use plant covers: If you have toxic succulents in your yard, you can use plant covers or wire mesh to prevent dogs from accessing them.
- Use bittering agents: Some commercial products contain bittering agents that can make plants taste unpleasant to dogs. You can apply these products to the leaves of toxic plants to discourage dogs from chewing on them.
- Use plant identification guides: Familiarize yourself with common toxic succulents so that you can identify and remove them from your home or yard. You can find lists of toxic succulents online or in plant identification guides.
- Educate others: If you have friends or family members who also have pets, educate them about toxic succulents and encourage them to take steps to prevent their pets from accessing them.
Where to Buy Succulents Online
Succulents can be toxic to dogs, so it’s important to be aware of which types of plants are safe for your furry friend. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic succulent, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for advice. By taking precautions and keeping toxic succulents out of reach, you can help keep your dog safe and healthy.