Most succulents are completely harmless to animals, though there are a few varieties that are mildly toxic and can cause temporary digestive distress. While we certainly don’t recommend letting animals eat your succulents, most species pose no risk to cats and dogs and are safe to grow around pets. Additionally, animals instinctively avoid eating succulents, as they just don’t smell or taste very appetizing.
Consider Los Angeles, a city covered in wild Jade Plants. Jade is mildly toxic and there are more than 2.6 million cats and dogs in the city, but it is incredibly rare for a pet to try eating it. That said, as a responsible pet owner it's important to know which house plants are safe and which could cause issues if ingested by a curious cat or dog. Read on for all the details.
Good news for succulent fans who also love animals: most succulent varieties are completely pet-safe! Below are our five favorite types that pose absolutely no risk to our furry friends.
Potentially Toxic Succulents
Please note, the toxicity levels of all succulents are still being researched and more varieties than those described below could also cause an adverse reaction.
Aloe vera is known for soothing burns on humans, but it is not a good idea for your animals to nibble on these plants. The gel of the Aloe is fine to apply on both human and animal skin but should never be ingested by people or pets. Aloin, one of the toxic chemicals in these plants, is a bitter, yellow liquid found just beneath the outer skin of the leaves.
Symptoms: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, red urine
Euphorbia are known as "Milk Plants" because of the white latex sap inside their stems. Unfortunately, this sap can be irritating to skin and toxic if ingested.
Symptoms: mouth irritation, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea
Jade Plants (Crassula) are rubbery plants that are famously hard to kill. Unfortunately, Jade leaves can be irritating to cats and dogs if consumed.
Symptoms: lethargy, clumsy movements, dry-heaving, vomiting
Kalanchoe are prolific tender succulents and a good choice for new plant enthusiasts, but you may want to keep them out of reach from dogs, cats, and birds. If ingested, Kalanchoe can irritate your pet's mouth or cause moderate digestive distress, though it may take anywhere from 12 hours to five days for symptoms to show.
Symptoms: oral irritation, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea
Mother-in-Law's Tongue or Snake Plant ( Sansevieria) has a sharp bite that can affect small animals. They contain saponin, a bitter compound that causes stomach irritation.
Symptoms: lethargy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Senecio feature a high diversity of shapes and growth habits. There is evidence to suggest that String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) can cause an adverse reaction if ingested, though other species of Senecio may cause problems as well.
Symptoms: listlessness, vomiting, diarrhea
If you suspect that any of your pets has eaten one of these plants, call your vet immediately. Other great resources include the ASPCA and the Pet Poison Helpline. Whoever you consult, be sure to correctly identify the ingested plant.