Are Jade Plants Poisonous to Dogs and Cats?

Decorating your home with lush greenery brings the unparalleled beauty of the natural world into your space. But when you're a pet parent, before adding plants to your indoor garden you need to know which plants are toxic to pets. There are several to avoid, from the most common plants, like philodendron, to the beautiful bird of paradise, to fleshy-leaved succulents such as aloe vera and jade plants, which are toxic to dogs, cats, and also horses.

Golden retriever and British short hair cat lying on floor together
credit: chendongshan/iStock/GettyImages

When planning your display, you can avoid any plant that is toxic to pets by not only learning the botanical names of toxic plants and all their common names, but also how to identify them, in case you come upon an unmarked specimen or someone gives you a plant or cutting to add to your collection.

Jade plant identification

Decorating with succulents is a growing trend, says American Veterinarian, but emphasize that knowing which ones to select is vital for pet parents. Many succulents are safe to have around dogs and cats, but the poison potential of aloe vera, kalanchoes, and jade plants make these ones, among others, plants to avoid. Many people are simply not aware that so many plants are toxic to pets.

Native to South Africa, specifically the KwaZulu-Natal province, Eastern Cape of South Africa, and Mozambique, the jade plant with its pretty pink and white flowers is extremely popular worldwide. While the toxic principles of this succulent are unknown, it is known to be poisonous to dogs and cats if ingested. Consequently, when shopping for plants for your indoor garden, keep the following botanical and common names for the jade plant in mind so you can avoid them:

  • Crassula argentea
  • Crassula ovata
  • Lucky plant
  • Money plant
  • Dwarf rubber plant
  • Baby jade
  • Jade tree
  • Japanese rubber plant
  • Chinese rubber plant
jade plant in pot on red background
credit: mikroman6/Moment/GettyImages

Easy to maintain and readily propagated with leaf cuttings, the jade plant's flattened obovate leaves are up to 3 inches in length on thick, brittle succulent stems. The simple leaves look plump, fleshy, and the plant is a rich green color. Its small (less than one inch) white flowers occur in abundant terminal clusters following development of pink-sepal covered flower buds. No wonder it's a favorite in indoor displays in homes, offices, and public buildings. And it's often the attractive plant we select at florists, nurseries, and local markets to give as a gift. Just make sure you don't give one to someone with a dog or cat.

Symptoms of jade plant poisoning in dogs and cats

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals list the jade plant on its Animal Poison Control list of toxic plants, and indicate the following clinical signs of jade plant poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Incoordination

Getting help if your cat or dog is poisoned by a jade plant

If you suspect your cat or dog has chewed or ingested a jade plant or other toxic plant, it's important to get immediate veterinary attention. But what do you do if your vet is not available when you need him? Being proactive and planning for a medical emergency for your pets makes sense. Although you hope you'll never have to act on those plans, keep the phone numbers of local emergency veterinary hospitals close at hand as well as the National Animal Poison Control Center number: 1-888-426-4435.

Have the name of the plant or flower ready to report and the time it was chewed or consumed; the two variables will dictate veterinary treatment protocol.

jade plant leaves on light green background
credit: mikroman6/Moment/GettyImages

Beware of other toxic succulents

In addition to the jade plant, avoid the following toxic succulents:

  • Aloe vera and true aloe.

  • Euphorbias

    — for example, the pencil cactus.

  • Kalanchoes

    — commonly known as the mother-in-law plant, mother of million, devil's backbone, and chandelier plant.

  • Silver dollar

    — also known as silver jade plant and Chinese jade.

List of non-toxic succulents

Succulent indoor gardens are so popular today because the unique appearance of the plants enhances modern decor. While spatial planning might mitigate some of the risk factor, for example, displaying jade plants in hanging baskets or on top shelves of cabinets or other spots inaccessible to pets, why not consider the following non-toxic succulent plants instead to beautify your indoor environment:

  • Burro's tail

    — also known as horse's tail, donkey's tail, lamb's tail.

  • Ghost plant — also known as mother of pearl.

  • Hardy baby tears.

  • Haworthia

  • Hens and chickens — also known as chickens and hens, mother hens, or chicks.

  • Maroon chenille plant.

  • Mexican firecracker.

  • Mexican rosettes.

  • Mexican snowballs.

  • Painted lady — also known as copper rose, or maroon.

  • Plush plant.

  • Tree cactus.

  • Wax rosette.

Conclusion

Jade plants are among the plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. Avoid decorating an indoor or outdoor garden with a jade plant if you are a pet owner. Instead, find a non-toxic alternative succulent for your garden.