I love growing succulents at home and have enjoyed seeing them rise in popularity over recent years. I don’t have much outdoor space for a garden at the moment so succulents have been a great way for me to add a little green to my life. As with all houseplants though, I worry about the risk to my dogs. There are a lot of common plants that are poisonous to pets and succulents are no exception.
While most succulents aren’t harmful to your dog if ingested, there are a few toxic varieties you should take care to avoid growing at home. If you insist on growing them be sure to keep them on a high shelf or otherwise out of reach of your dog. I also recommend keeping a list of houseplants and succulents in your home so that if your dog does show signs of poisoning you can easily inform your vet of the potential poison source.
Succulents That are Toxic to Dogs
Surprised to see that Aloe Vera is toxic for dogs? So was I! Aloe is one of the most common houseplants in the US and since it’s known for its medicinal properties I didn’t expect to see that it’s toxic if ingested by dogs but it is. If ingested, your dog may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, change in urine color (it’ll be a shade of red), or tremors.
The Pencil Cactus is a common variety of the Euphorbia family of succulents and are known for being toxic to dogs and cats. Although, their toxic levels are not extreme and are likely to cause irritation, especially around the mouth or in the throat/stomach. If ingested, it may cause vomiting but it’s not likely to cause severe symptoms or be fatal.
There is a wide variety of Kalanchoe succulents and they are among my favorites! I introduced Peter (my “Fang” Kalanchoe succulent) on the blog and have added Spike “Mr Jones” Jones to my Kalanchoe family since then. I love this variety but they are toxic to dogs so I take extra care to keep them high and away from my little pups.
Kalanchoe succulents can cause dogs to become sick if they get into them. If ingested, your dog may experience lethargy, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. In more extreme cases, your dog may experience an abnormal heart rhythm, elevated heart rate, labored breathing or severe weakness. Although the severe effects are rare you should know to be alert for them if you have these succulents around your home.
String of Pearls
The String of Pearls succulent is gorgeous but because it’s a creeping vine variety I don’t currently have it in my home. Since it’s a creeping vine the stems grow long and drape beautifully over the edge of shelves or tabletops which makes it easy for dogs to reach and nibble on. If ingested, this variety can cause lethargy, upset stomach, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea in your dog. Unless you’re able to keep it very high and away from your dog it’s best to avoid it.
The Silver Dollar succulent (aka Chinese Jade) is typically mild causing symptoms like vomiting or upset stomach if ingested by your dog. In rare cases it can cause tremors and muscle stiffness.
Fiddle Leaf plants are enormously popular houseplants and rightfully so. They are gorgeous, easy to care for, and bring life to any interior space. Unfortunately, because they grow so large they are often easily accessible by dogs. If ingested, your dog may exhibit irritation around the mouth, vomiting, abdominal distress, and difficulty swallowing.
I recommend the Snake Plant frequently because it’s easy to care for and grows well in low light. That makes it ideal for spaces such as bathrooms which usually have minimal light. The toxicity level of this plant is low but if your dog ingests any of it they may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If your dog exhibits symptoms of succulent poisoning
I highly recommend keeping a list of your succulent plants as well as the potential symptoms of ingestion. If your dog does eat a toxic succulent you’ll want the plant information available before you call poison control or your emergency veterinarian’s office.
During regular business hours, call your veterinarian to ask for advice. After regular business hours, call your emergency veterinarian. If they are unable to assist you they may refer you to a poison control center. There are two poison control centers for animals. They are available 24/7 but may charge a consultation fee.
How to keep your dog safe
If you have any succulents that are poisonous to dogs in your home you want to do all you can to keep them out of reach. Larger plants like the Fiddle Leaf or Snake Plant are difficult because of their size but you can keep them in plant stands that keep them higher off the ground and away from your pup.
Creeping vine succulents like the String of Pearls would do well kept on a floating wall shelf or hanging from a plant hook out of reach. You’ll get all of the beauty of the hanging vines without the risk of your dog ingesting it and falling ill.
For smaller succulents like Aloe Vera or Silver Dollar, I recommend planting them in terrariums or hanging glass planters to keep them out of reach. If you have small dogs like mine this isn’t a big concern as they can’t reach a tabletop or desk to knock them off and get them anyway but for medium or large breed dogs it’s a good idea to keep your succulents as high as possible.