11 Succulent Plants Toxic To Cats, Dogs, Or Pets

If you are a pet owner, it’s important to know that some succulent plants are toxic to cats, dogs, or other pets. Some of the most common succulent species poisonous to cats and dogs include Agave, Aloe, Crassula (include Jade plants), Euphorbia, Kalanchoe, Portulacaria, Sansevieria (Snake plants) and Senecio.

When choosing a succulent plant for your garden, you should always consider the potential toxicity to any animals in the area – not just your own pets. 

If you are looking for indoor plants for your home, you may only need to think about the danger to your pets unless you have friends and family who bring pets when they visit.

10 Succulent Plants Toxic to Cats, Dogs, or Pets - image of Crassula Ovata; Jade Plant

There are whole species of common succulents that are harmful to cats, dogs and other pets and we list some of the most popular species below.

In addition, we will highlight some examples of popular individual houseplants commonly seen in garden centers and shops that are toxic for pets.

These eight common houseplant species are known to be toxic to cats, dogs and other pets across virtually all their varieties:

  • Agave
  • Aloe
  • Crassula
  • Euphorbia
  • Kalanchoe
  • Portulacaria
  • Sansevieria
  • Senecio

Please note this list is not exhaustive and there are other plants and succulent species that are toxic to cats, dogs and other pets – these are just the most common. We’ve included a link to a full list further down the article.

Below, we have highlighted 11 common houseplants as examples of succulent plants toxic to cats, dogs, or pets in general.

These are succulents to avoid if you live in a home with pets.

Euphorbia Milii – Crown of Thorns

Euphorbia Milii Crown of Thorns plant

Euphorbia Milii is commonly known as the Crown of Thorns. Not only is it toxic to dogs and cats, but it can also be dangerous for humans.

This cactus originates from Madagascar, and it’s often grown as an indoor plant, even though it can grow up to 2 feet (60cm) in height.

Euphorbia Milii is an attractive plant in your home because it produces beautiful flowers in a range of colors, from deep red to white. However, when eaten, parts of the plant can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Dogs, specifically, might develop swollen eyes and mouths, along with blisters.

Even touching this succulent can lead to unpleasant symptoms. The sap (latex) which is responsible for poisonings is also irritating to the skin, and has been known to cause dermatitis.

And did we mention it has wicked thorns all along its woody stems? All in all, a plant to avoid if you have pets (or young children), beautiful though it is.

Crassula Arborescens – Silver Jade

Crassula Arborescens – Silver Jade

Crassula Arborescens goes by many different names, including the Silver Dollar Plant, Silver Jade, and Chinese Jade.

This succulent originally comes from South Africa, and it’s easily recognizable thanks to its silvery-green leaves with pink edges.

While it is not yet known which part of the plant, or which substance inside the plant, causes toxicity in dogs and cats, pets who consume this plant have been reported to experience both nausea and vomiting.

Kalanchoe Daigremontiana – Mother of Thousands

Kalanchoe daigremontiana Mother of Thousands

You might know Kalanchoe Daigremontiana by the name Mother of Thousands. While this is a beautiful and unique succulent, with large leaves edged with delicate-looking plantlets, many gardeners consider it to be an invasive weed.

Unfortunately, it’s toxic not only to dogs and cats but also birds and cows.

This Madagascan succulent contains a steroid called daigremontianin. This steroid is responsible for poisoning symptoms, including lethargy, weakness, diarrhea, and vomiting. In severe cases, the symptoms may also include seizures, unusual heart rate, and unconsciousness.

Sansevieria Trifasciata – Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata Snake Plant

Sansevieria Trifasciata, otherwise known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant is a fairly common house succulent. It has green, pointed leaves that grow straight up. They are very low-maintenance and difficult to kill making them popular as a first houseplant.

However, if you have a cat or a dog, this succulent is not a good choice for you. The leaves are filled with a chemical compound called saponin, which can cause digestive symptoms ranging from nausea to diarrhea if ingested.

If you don’t have pets, however, you can use Sansevieria Trifasciata as a natural air purification system, since these plants filter benzene toxins and formaldehyde out of the environment.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa – Panda Plant

Kalanchoe Tomentosa Panda Plant Toxic to Cats and Dogs

Kalanchoe Tomentosa, also known as the Panda Plant, is a unique succulent featuring gray-green leaves covered in fur with brown spots along the edges.

Panda plants are not difficult to take care of, so many novice plant owners choose to bring them home, not realizing that they are toxic to cats and dogs.

Every part of this succulent contains a toxic substance that can cause lethargy and digestive symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting in pets. If consumed in large quantities, the poisoning can even be fatal.

Crassula Ovata – Jade Plant

Crassula Ovata Jade Plant

Crassula Ovata is often nicknamed the Jade Plant because of its smooth, green leaves with red edges. It’s also sometimes called the Money Plant, but it’s not friendly to the animal companions in your home.

While this is an attractive plant, coming from Mozambique and South Africa, it is not safe for cats and dogs.

Scientists aren’t sure which substance in Crassula Ovata causes poisoning in pets, but the symptoms can range from lethargy and depression to a lack of coordination and vomiting.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera compact, smaller plant

Aloe Vera (scientific name Aloe barbadensis miller) is one of the most well-known succulents in the world, partly because this plant has several medicinal benefits for humans. However, just because this succulent can improve the health of human beings doesn’t mean it’s safe to have around pets.

Aloe Vera can be extremely toxic to dogs, cats, and even horses. This is because it contains a chemical called saponin, which is responsible for a wide range of symptoms associated with poisoning.

If your pet consumes Aloe Vera, they may experience digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting. Their skin might show signs of irritation, which may be accompanied by tremors and lethargy.

Senecio Rowleyanus – String of Pearls

Senecio rowleyanus String of Pearls

Senecio Rowleyanus, commonly known as String of Pearls, is a popular succulent with homeowners because of its unique appearance. The stems of this plant are hung with round leaves that look like green peas. These trail over the edges of plant pots and look very eye-catching.

Unfortunately, pet owners should steer clear of this succulent because it’s toxic to cats and dogs, as well as many other animals.

The reason for this plant’s toxicity is the sap, which can irritate the skin and cause digestive upset in not only small animals but also humans.

Signs that an animal has ingested part of the Senecio rowleyanus plant include drooling, vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea, as well as dermatitis.

Kalanchoe Delagoensis – Mother of Millions

Plantlets on Mother of Millions Plant Kalanchoe Delagoensis

One of Kalanchoe Delagoensis’ nicknames is ‘Devil’s Backbone,’ which is appropriate given how poisonous this plant is to pets and grazing animals. It is also called the Chandelier Plant and Mother of Millions.

Kalanchoe Delagoensis is an appealing plant from a homeowner’s perspective because it looks interesting and unique and tolerates a wide variety of growing conditions, including drought.

However, the bufadienolide cardiac glycosides in this plant cause toxicity for cats, dogs, and other animals. If consumed in a small quantity, the plant will generally cause mild symptoms, such as an upset stomach. In large quantities, more severe symptoms such as abnormal heart function can occur, and it can even be fatal in rare cases.

Euphorbia Tirucalli – Firesticks

Firesticks Euphorbia tirucalli

Euphorbia Tirucalli is more commonly known as the Firesticks, Sticks on Fire, Red Pencil Cactus or the Pencil Tree Plant. These nicknames refer to the plant’s shape, since it grows in small, tubular branches.

Euphorbia Tirucalli may be interesting to look at, especially given its bright range of colors, but the sap inside the leaves is an irritant.

Thankfully, while this succulent is toxic to cats and dogs as well as horses, the symptoms of poisoning are usually not severe. Signs of ingestion are normally limited to irritation of the mouth and stomach, which can present as vomiting.

Adenium Obesum – Desert Rose

Adenium Obesum Desert Rose in a pot

While not a variety of the 8 species we identified at the beginning of the article, we thought Adenium Obesum, commonly known as the Desert Rose, was worth including.

It is a popular house and garden succulent due to its unusual shape and stunning flowers. Unfortunately, it is highly toxic to cats, dogs and other pets.

The plant contains toxic compounds called cardiac glycosides, which can be harmful if ingested. These compounds can cause various symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, drooling, and weakness, and in severe cases, they can lead to cardiac abnormalities or even death.

Final Thoughts

Although the vast majority of succulents are not harmful to pets, some, like the ones listed here, can cause toxicity in cats, dogs, and other pets.

Always do your research before bringing home a new succulent if you have pets. If you do have a potentially toxic succulent in your home, take precautions to keep pets and children away from it, and be ready to respond quickly if you suspect any part of the succulent has been ingested.

You’ll find a full list of plants, not just succulents, that are toxic and non-toxic for cats and plants toxic and non-toxic to dogs on The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website.

If you want to know which succulents are safe for cats (and dogs), check out our post on Which Succulents Are Safe For Cats? 9 Kitten-Safe Succulent Species.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do If My Pet Eats A Poisonous Succulent?

If you know or suspect that your pet has eaten part of a poisonous succulent, you should contact your vet immediately. Your vet may want to know what plant your pet has eaten, and how much.

Depending on the quantity ingested and whether symptoms are present, the vet may advise you to bring your pet in for an exam or monitor for symptoms. Do not induce vomiting or give any medication without your vet’s permission.

If you are in the USA, The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) run an animal poison-related emergency hotline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.

Are All Succulents Dangerous For Pets?

No, not at all. In fact, most succulents are not toxic to animals and can safely be kept in a home with pets.

The reason we have made this guide to succulents that are dangerous for pets is to help you identify the minority of succulents that could harm animals in and around your home. This list is not intended to discourage you from having any succulents in your house.

That said, you should always research any plant you plan to bring home carefully if you have pets or children.

See our post on Which Succulents Are Safe For Cats? 9 Kitten-Safe Succulent Species.

How Can I Stop My Pets From Eating My Succulents?

If you have pets, it’s best not to keep any succulents in your home that might harm them. However, you can also try to keep your pets away from potentially harmful succulents by keeping the succulents in an area of your home that is out of bounds to animals.

Depending on the type of pet you have, keeping the succulent in a high place that they can’t reach might be sufficient. However, for cats that can jump or climb, shutting the plant away or spraying it with citrus or pepper might work.

Again, the safest and most responsible thing to do if you have pets is to not keep any plants in the home that present a risk of toxicity.


The Essentials

Related Posts