Some succulents are edible, such as some forms of cacti and some are also used for healing such as Aloe Vera. However, there are a few succulents that are poisonous to humans and to cats and dogs. Some are only poisonous if they are ingested and some are poisonous to the skin.
As we all know humans use Aloe as a skin treatment and it can also be eaten, either cooked or raw so its fine for humans. However, Aloes are poisonous to cats and dogs, they contain saponin which irritates the stomach and can make them vomit. Symptoms may not occur until the next day. Some (not all) Aloe Vera plants have spikes on them (as per the photos below) but this does not stop some adventurous pets eating their leaves.
Crassula Ovata – Jade
Jade plants are also poisonous to cats and dogs. They can cause vomiting and a slow heart rate. Some websites advise that eating Jade can cause depression in cats and dogs too. Jade is ‘not’ toxic to humans.
Kalanchoe’s can cause animals to become sick if they eat the leaves. Usually it will cause some sickness but is rarely fatal. Kalanchoe is ‘not’ toxic to people.
Euphorbias are toxic to humans and pets, the white sap in the leaves can burn the skin and generally cause a rash to appear. The spines and needles are also a dangerous part of the Euphorbia.
I would advise to wear gloves when handling Euphorbias to avoid skin contact with the sap. You also shouldn’t ingest the sap of a Euphorbia plant in general. Getting any of the sap in your eyes could be a lot more serious .As the majority of Euphoriba’s are spiky it may be easy enough to keep your pets away from these succulents, however, I would not chance it and make sure you keep them well out of the way of dogs and cats. If you are taking cuttings or re-potting it’s advisable to use gloves, and wash thoroughly if you’re exposed to the milky sap.
The Agave succulent is listed as being mildly toxic to dogs. The sap of the plant can burn and injure the dog’s mouth and throat. The sap is ‘not’ toxic to humans.
Out of the hundreds of succulents species the above selection of succulents that are poisonous is really only a small number. However, it is good to be aware of these as most succulents sold do not have a warning on the label that the plant may be toxic/poisonous.
I had a German Shepherd and she was never interested in any of my succulents – eating wise. She did knock a few over with her tail and dug a few up but was never sick from eating any. However, if your pet eats any poisonous plants give the Vet a call and they will let you know what to do.