Are all Succulents Poisonous for Cats, Dogs, or Humans?

Your quiet, safe home can turn into a place full of dangers if you have a curious little child or a pet running around the rooms. It’s a huge responsibility that keeps you alert all the time, controlling every minute every space.

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I knew that some of the houseplants can be toxic but I have never thought about that any harm could come from the succulents inside the house or at the outdoor garden since I’ve been living on my own all these years. However, I hear a lot of questions about if the succulents are poisonous to cats or dogs, or what to do when a kid bites a part of the succulent leaf.

As I read from many different sources, I learned a very big part of the succulents is not considered to be a life-threatening danger for a human. Although, there are a few types of them which can be toxic for your cats and dogs when ingested.

So this post that I prepared might help you to find out which succulents have a potential threat to your children or pet, and what to do in such a situation.

Are the Poisonous Succulent Life-Threatening?

Children want to experience the outer world with all the five senses. They are eager to touch and taste new things. So it wouldn’t be surprising if your little toddler takes a bite from the juicy and colorful looking leaves of your favorite succulent.

Majority of the succulents we care at home are not likely to create a vital danger, as I found out from the many research I have made. But if you are not sure what type of the succulent you have, it is probably a good idea to visit the doctor for a check; because some toxic succulents can cause sickness.

Succulents with Sharp Spines

I think the succulents are becoming more concerning if they are one of the types which have sharp needles. Not only children, but also adults are tempted to touch them.

Children and pets might run into the pointy spines when you keep your pots nearby the paths in the garden, or lower levels inside your home. Place the succulents with spines where it is not easy to access for our energetic, reckless friends.

While big and pointy spines of the succulents are only causing scratches, especially the smaller and softer spines are the ones that stick into the skin the most. It is very painful when lots of tiny needles go deep into your skin. I find it so hard to clean even with a tweezer. And they can lead up to infections and irritations when not taken out of the skin.

Chemical Fertilizers

While some succulent species can be poisonous for the cats and dogs, many of them are totally safe even when ingested. However, You should also consider the additive fertilizers that you use with these safe succulents.

Fertilizers are a need for every succulent, indoor or outdoor. If you use chemical fertilizers containing unnatural ingredients, they are strongly advised to be kept away from pets.

I would say that the fertilizers which contain all natural organic ingredients are always a better choice regarding both your pets and your succulents.

If you want to learn much more about fertilizing the succulents and types of fertilizers you can use, here you find the succulent fertilization guide I wrote on this subject before.

Toxic Succulents for the Pets

Animals do not need our protection. They instinctively keep themselves away from poisonous plants. Nevertheless, it is strictly recommended that you should not let your pets eat your succulents. 

Once you find out there are many succulent varieties which are completely safe for the pets, there are also a few types that pose a threat. It is better not to take the risk.

This small list of a few species can help you to choose the safer options for your pets when creating a succulent collection, if you want to stay away from the stress.

1. Jade Plant

Crassula Ovata

Crassula Ovata, mostly known as “Jade Plant” is very popular among the indoor succulents, together with the other Crassulaceae family succulent Crassula Arborescens. This species is favorable because it is hard to kill.

Unluckily, Jade Plants are toxic for both cats and dogs if they consume the oval and fleshy leaves of it.

It might be intoxicating with some symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, motion in slow, heaving…

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe Barbadensis and Aloe Nobilis (Gold Tooth Aloe) are two species of the Aloe family that you should be aware of.

It was very strange to me, learning that Aloe Veras are intoxicating when eaten by the pets, because this succulent is largely known for its medical uses. It is healing acne, burns, and scars.

But it is not so good for your pets if digested. The yellow and sticky liquid produced under the outer layer of Aloe Vera leaves is called Aloin. Aloin is not okay to be consumed although it can be applied to the skin externally.

Consumption of this liquid called Aloin will probably cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea.

3. Kalanchoes

 Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy)

Kalanchoe variaties has many members we already know very well: Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plant), Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands), Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy, Christmas Kalanchoe), Kalanchoe Tubiflora (Chandelier Plant)

They are all great for indoor spaces but you should keep them away from the cats, dogs and also birds. They are irritating to the animal’s mouth first of all.

When ingested by the pet, Kalanchoes cause some digestive problems in the following days. Vomiting and diarrhea are a couple of symptoms mainly show after the consumption.

4. Senecios

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Although it is better to keep away from many of the Senecios, the one type you should particularly be aware is the Senecio Rowleyanus (also called as String of Pearls).

The little spheres are intoxicating if animals swallow and effects are shown as weakness, vomiting, diarrhea.

5. Euphorbias

Euphorbias are one of the largest genus of flowering plants. Some species we are familiar are Euphorbia Milii Crown of Thorns Euphorbia Tirucalli (Pencil Cactus) and Euphorbia Obesa Baseball Plant.

They are commonly known for the white fluid they release. This white sap of the leaves is irritating for the skin, and it causes a more intense reaction with some people and animals’ skin.

Prevent direct contact of the plant with your skin by wearing gloves whenever you have to touch the leaves. This way it is possible to avoid the irritation and rash.

6. Sansevierias

The most popular species of Sansevierias varieties is Sansevieria Trifasciata (Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law’s Tongue) which is also a very commonly cared houseplant all over the world.

Despite the Snake Plant is not posing a fatal thread for the pets, it causes sickness and digestion troubles for both cats and dogs if they consume a part of the snake-like leaves.

The symptoms are mainly nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. But also the sap of the leaves irritates skin just like the Euphorbias.

7. Agaves

As a bonus, Agaves are not really intoxicating but still a potential danger for your pets or kids, because of their sharp-edged large leaves. You should take precautions too when planting the Agaves, by using gardening gloves to hold this succulent.

Agave “Blue Flame”, Agave Attenuata (Foxtail Agave) and Agave Americana (Century Plant) are some of beloved outdoor succulent species of Agave genus.

Non-toxic Succulents for Pets

Before finishing, I have to mention the succulents which are totally safe and stress-free to care at home if you are concerned about your little kids or pets. Here there are some of the very well known varieties!

1. Howarthias

Zebra Succulent

As most Howarthias are non-toxic, we can say Haworthia Retusa and Zebra Succulent among these Howarthias without any doubt.

2. Echeverias

All of the Echeverias types are safe for the pets, and also for people.

3. Sedums

One of my favorites “Sedum Morganianum” – commonly called as the Burro’s Tail – is one of the succulents that are completely harmless.

Sedum Morganinum in the middle.

4. Sempervivums

Most of this genus is safe and also edible. Sempervivum “Ruby Heart” and Sempervivum “Pacific Blue Ice” are the ones I like the most for sure.

Even though the houseplants and pets are not considered to be cared together in a house generally, I don’t see any reason for you to keep away these precious friends you have.

I believe that a little basic knowledge and a few precautions will save you from a lot of troubles you can experience with your pets’ health. Some predictable harms from the succulents can also easily be prevented by being careful while choosing their species and placing pots.

Like I always stress, try to learn or identify what type of a succulent plant you have! This makes so many things so much easier, you wouldn’t believe…

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