Are Succulents Bad for Cats and Dogs?

You are discovering how easy succulent plants are to grow and how they add a unique and colorful touch to your home. But is it safe to have succulents if you also have pets?

Some succulents are safe to grow around cats and dogs. But there are also some toxic varieties, including common ones like Aloe Vera. These toxic succulents are potentially dangerous if ingested by your pet.

succulent toxic for cats and dogs

Understanding any potential dangers from the succulents you’re interested in growing will help keep your pet safe. So, which succulents are bad for cats and dogs? Is there a safe way to enjoy growing succulents if you have pets? What do you do if your cat or dog eats part of a succulent? Growing succulents is becoming more and more popular—here’s what you need to know.

Are Succulents Safe for Cats and Dogs?

Succulents appeal because of their beauty but also because they’re practically indestructible. Their fleshy (succulent) leaves and stems store water, so the plants require minimal care. Succulents also help purify the air—taking in toxins and releasing oxygen. However, succulents, especially those with dangling stems and leaves, are also tempting targets for pets to play with and chew on and can potentially harm them.

Succulent plants can be safe or toxic to cats and dogs, depending on the species. For example, popular succulents are Aloe Vera, Jade plants, Christmas Cactus, and Hens and Chicks. Of these, only the Christmas Cactus and Hens and Chicks are safe. Aloe and Jade plants are toxic.

Luckily, you can enjoy succulents and keep your pets safe by learning more about the plants you choose and whether they are toxic or not.

Are Succulent Plants Poisonous for Cats or Dogs?

Given that Aloe Vera, one of the most popular succulents, is also the most toxic, it’s essential to know which succulents are safe to have around your pets and which are not. Let’s start with the succulents that are most dangerous and why.

Here’s a table of ten of the succulents most toxic to your pets. Ingesting any of these means GI distress for your pet and possibly tremors and cardiovascular issues.

Common Name

Scientific Name


Aloe Vera

Jade Plant

Crassula ovata

Silver Dollar Jade

Crassula argentea

Bear’s Claw

Cotyledon tomentosa

Pig’s Ear

Cotyledon orbiculate

String of Pearls

Curio rowleyanus

Blue Chalksticks

Curio repens

Pencil Cactus

Euphorbia tirucalli

Crown of Thorns

Euphoria milii

Panda Plant

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Succulent Plants Safe to Have Around Pets

Fortunately, some succulents are safe to grow around pets. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Common Name

Scientific Name

Hens and Chicks


Burro’s Tail

Sedum Burrito

Christmas Cactus


Zebra Cactus

Haworthia fasiata

Blue Echeveria

Echeveria secunda

Ponytail Palm

Beaucarnea recurvata

Ruby Heart


Mexican Chenille Plant

Echeveria pulvinata

Ghost Plant

Graptopetalum paraguayense

Wax Rosette

Echeveveria gilva

What Makes Some Succulents Toxic to Pets?

Some succulents contain phyto (plant) chemicals and other substances that are toxic to pets. These same substances may or may not be toxic to people as well.

In general, there is no difference between how these toxins affect dogs versus cats. The degree of reaction may vary according to the age and size of the dog or cat. Younger pets are more at risk as they’re still developing. Cats are more sensitive to some toxins as they lack the liver enzymes needed to help process them.

Aloe and other succulents toxic to pets also contain saponins. These phytochemicals occur naturally in many of the plants we consume – like peas, for example. They have antibacterial properties and can be found in many household cleaning products. However, saponins are toxic to dogs and cats, causing gastrointestinal distress.

Because it’s such a popular plant, here’s the rest of the story on Aloe. The poisonous part of Aloe is the latex between the gel (which we use as first aid for burns) and the inner layer of the leaf. The latex contains anthraquinone glycosides which act as purgatives (not pleasant for your pet or you.)

What if Your Pet Eats a Succulent Plant?

Succulent plants and pets don’t always get along. In spite of your best efforts to avoid them, accidents can and will occur. What should you do if your pet ingests a succulent? It is crucial to be aware of the best course of action in this predicament.

Be steady in your composure; that’s the first step. The vomiting and diarrhea your pet experiences are likely, not life-threatening. However, veterinary assistance should be sought immediately if the plant species was toxic. Aside from making sure the plant wasn’t poisonous, we’ll also determine if further care is needed.

Even if the plant in question isn’t toxic, you can still take precautions at home by keeping an eye out for any changes in your pet’s behavior and making sure they have access to plenty of water. In addition, giving them some activated charcoal to eat may help them digest their food by binding to any toxins they may have consumed.

Although usually not life-threatening, if your cat or dog chews and ingests part or all of a succulent plant, the safest path is to call your veterinarian. You can also contact an emergency veterinary clinic or pet poison control center for advice. The ASPCA poison control center number is (888) 426-4435, and you can reach The Pet Poison Hotline via (800) 213-6680.

Be prepared to share your pet’s weight, age, the type of succulent, and how much was ingested. Watch your pet to see if there are signs of distress such as GI issues, salivation, dilated pupils, or tremors. If so, and your veterinarian is not available, if possible, take your pet to an emergency veterinary clinic.

How to Keep Your Pets Safe from Succulents?

Fortunately, there are ways to keep your pets safe, no matter which succulent plants you decide to choose.

1. Do Your Plant Homework

There are several online resources where you can look up detailed information about succulent plants, especially to see if they’re safe to have around pets. For example, the ASPCA site has a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants for pets.

In addition to the succulents you cultivate and enjoy in your home, there may also be succulents growing in the wild, depending on where you live. Particularly in more arid regions, succulents such as Agave are popular landscaping plants. It’s always a good idea to identify outdoor plants in your area and whether or not any of them are toxic.

2. Keep Succulent Plants Out of Reach

If you are interested in a toxic succulent plant such as Aloe, find a place that’s inaccessible to your pets (which may be challenging if you have an energetic cat, but try). Even if not toxic, remember that cats especially enjoy suspended “tug toys,”—which can translate into succulents such as Burro’s Tail and your prize Christmas Cactus.

The most effective way to protect pets from succulent plants is by keeping them out of reach. If there are any small children or animals in the home, it’s important to make sure they can’t access these potentially dangerous plants. This means placing them on high shelves and away from curious paws and hands. To further discourage pets from eating succulents, consider covering their pots with foil or plastic wrap as an extra deterrent.

Storing all types of houseplants away from potential hazards such as electrical outlets and cords will help keep your pet safe around them. Keeping a close eye on inquisitive cats and dogs when introducing new plant species into the home environment is also recommended for added caution. As an additional measure, many owners have found success in using natural repellents like cayenne pepper or citrus oils near their indoor plants to deter pet activity in that area.

Another alternative is to have a “plant room” that’s closed off or out-of-bounds to pets. (Regarding “off-limits” areas—remember, you did housebreak your dog. Cats, not so much.)

3. Make Your Succulent Plants Unappealing

There are ways to repel pets from your succulents. There are, of course, commercial sprays, but there are also some easy interventions.

  • To keep your cat (who hates citrus) from playing with the leaves, spray the plant with a mixture of water and lemon juice (1 tbsp of lemon juice to a cup of water). You can also place lemon, lime, or orange rinds around the base of your plant. (Dogs aren’t fond of citrus either, by the way.)
  • One other way to nix the idea of digging in the dirt (and we know why cats do that) is to put a sheet of aluminum foil around the plant, anchoring it with a thin layer of soil. (Cats hate how aluminum foil feels and sounds.)

Cats and dogs will be less likely to investigate it if its leaves and flowers are removed, and they will also be less likely to be exposed to any toxic compounds there. If the soil contains toxins that could be ingested via the roots or the stem, you should also consider using a physical barrier or covering to keep out unwanted visitors.

There are a few other tips you can take when caring for your succulent plants to keep them unattractive for your furry friends: Regularly prune away any dead foliage, and don’t put any fertilizer or compost near the plant’s base, as this could attract scavenging animals.

4. Plant Location Considerations

When choosing a location for succulents, it is important to consider the safety of any pets in the area. Succulents can contain toxins that are dangerous when ingested by animals and should be placed out of reach by cats, dogs, and other household companions. If necessary, make sure to train your pet not to eat or disturb plants.

Additionally, setting up an enclosure with fencing around outdoor succulent gardens will help keep curious pets away from potential hazards such as sharp spines on cacti varieties. This also applies to indoor plantings – take steps to ensure that anything within their environment is safe and secure.

You should pay attention to signs that your pet may have been exposed to something potentially harmful in its environment; changes in behavior or physical appearance could indicate toxicity due to contact with succulents. Taking precautionary measures ahead of time can save you a lot of stress later down the road.

5. Use Animal-Proof Containers

When it comes to keeping pets safe from succulents, animal-proof containers should be one of the first steps taken. These containers can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials like plastic, glass, or metal. Some pet owners prefer to use terrariums with mesh lids that have smaller holes compared to regular aquariums. This ensures small animals are kept away from the succulent plants while still providing ventilation and light. Other types of enclosures include cages, tanks, and vivaria designed specifically for plants and reptiles.

The size of the container depends on the type of pet being protected; larger enclosures may be required for large mammals such as cats or dogs, whilst smaller ones would suit rodents or birds. Regardless of size, all animal-proof containers must always provide adequate space for pets to move around freely and remain comfortable during their stay within them. Additionally, any openings must be securely sealed so that no other animals can get in or out without permission.

In addition to making sure they are escape-proof, animal-proof containers should also contain clean bedding material suitable for the type of animal inside – this helps guarantee their safety and comfort at all times. With these considerations in mind, pet owners can rest assured that their furry friends will remain secure even when surrounded by succulents.

6. Put on Physical Barriers

According to a survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 40% of pet owners have experienced an incident in which their pet has come into contact with succulents. To help ensure your pet’s safety and health, physical barriers are essential when it comes to keeping them away from toxic plants. Creating physical barriers around succulents is one of the most effective ways to keep pets safe.

The first step in creating a protective barrier for your succulent is to build a fence or wall that will prevent your pet from accessing it directly. You can use chicken wire or other fencing materials such as wood, plastic, metal mesh, or vinyl lattice panels. Depending on the size of your outdoor space and what type of material you choose, building these types of fences may take some time and effort but they are worth it since they provide a more permanent solution than simply relocating potentially hazardous plants indoors.

Additionally, if you’re worried about how ugly this kind of perimeter might look, consider covering the fencing with foliage planters or decorative garden fabric for added aesthetics.

Another way to protect both indoor and outdoor succulents from curious pets is by placing them on elevated surfaces like shelves or tables where animals can’t reach them. If necessary, place a layer of netting over the area so even cats cannot climb up there. Alternatively, you could also opt for hanging containers that feature open-bottom designs so that when hung high enough off the ground, only birds would be able to access the plants inside them.

Creating physical barriers around succulents is an important step towards ensuring your pet’s safety while still enjoying having beautiful greenery adorning your living spaces without worry. With the right setup in place, you can rest assured that no matter how much curiosity your furry friend exhibits – he won’t find himself in any danger due to his proximity to potentially harmful plants.

7. Training Animals To Avoid Plants

Training animals to avoid plants is an important part of ensuring pet safety. Animals should be taught from a young age what types of plants are safe and which ones pose a risk. Some training methods that can help include teaching pets to stay away from certain plants, using deterrents such as bitter apple spray, or providing rewards for avoiding hazardous plants.

First, it is essential to teach pets the difference between safe and dangerous plants by demonstrating the negative consequences of coming into contact with succulents. This could involve showing them pictures or videos of other animals who have been injured due to contact with these plants. Additionally, offering verbal warnings when they approach a plant can help reinforce this message.

Second, setting up physical barriers around potentially hazardous plants can help keep curious pets away from danger. For example, erecting fences or placing large rocks around areas where there are succulents will make it difficult for animals to access the area and cause harm to themselves. Utilizing natural repellants like cayenne pepper or creating strong smells in the vicinity may also deter inquisitive noses.

Finally, rewarding good behavior is another effective way to ensure that your pet remains safe near plants. Offering treats or praise when they leave dangerous areas alone helps instill positive behaviors over time and reinforces avoidance strategies in future encounters with similar situations. In addition to reinforcing learning through reward-based systems, it is also beneficial for owners to remain vigilant at all times in order to prevent any potential accidents involving their furry friends and harmful foliage.

You Can Enjoy Both Succulent Plants and Pets!

Hopefully, this article has helped assure you that it’s possible to have pets and still enjoy succulent plants. Just be aware of what succulents you’re purchasing and give them appropriately (i.e., safe from your pets) dwelling places in your home. Remember:

Many succulent plants are safe to have around your pets. Even though some popular succulent plants like Aloe Vera are also toxic, understanding how to keep your dogs and cats safe means you can enjoy these as well.

Succulents are easy to grow and care for and, along with your pets, can help make your home a beautiful and welcoming place!

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Are Succulents Bad for Cats and Dogs

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