Due to their beautiful looks and easy-to-care-for nature, aloe plants are popular houseplants. However, if you have pets at home, you may be wondering whether aloe plants are toxic. We’re going to cover whether or not aloe plants are toxic to dogs, cats, and other pets.
Aloe Plant Basics
Aloe plants are succulent plants in the Aloe genus. While there are many different aloe species, Aloe vera is one of the most popular.
These plants are native to parts of Africa and regions in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, they like warm temperatures.
Aloe plants can be kept indoors as houseplants and also be left outdoors in warm weather.
Are Aloe Plants Toxic to Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets?
Unfortunately, aloe vera plants are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. So keep these plants away from your furry friends!
According to the ASPCA, aloe plants contain two toxic compounds: saponins and anthraquinones. When ingested, the aloe plants can cause your pets to develop vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
To get a deeper understanding of why aloe plants are toxic, let’s look at the specific compounds in question.
Aloe plants can contain compounds known as anthraquinone glycosides, specifically aloins. These compounds break down in the intestines and form powerful laxatives.
Therefore, consuming aloe plants can lead pets to experience diarrhea. Pets may also experience vomiting.
The other group of toxic compounds found in aloe plants is saponins.
Saponins are found in various plants, including legumes, spinach, onions, and daisies. These compounds act as a plant defense against pathogens and pests.
Not all types of saponins are toxic to pets. Additionally, low doses of toxic saponins may not harm your pets.
However, aloe plants contain saponins that are toxic to both dogs and cats. These toxic saponins can upset your pet’s digestive system.
Symptoms of saponin toxicity include digestive symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Lethargy, muscle twitching, and pain are also possible.
What Should I Do If My Dog or Cat Eats an Aloe Plant?
If you notice your dog or cat has ingested a bit of an aloe plant, monitor them closely. If you begin to see signs of distress, you may wish to contact a veterinarian.
If you see your pet has eaten a large amount of aloe, it is best to contact your veterinarian ASAP. They will be able to advise you on how to proceed.
Are Aloe Plants Toxic to Humans?
Aloe gel is generally safe for humans to eat (think about those aloe beverages). However, other parts of the plant should be avoided.
The latex layer between an aloe leaf’s skin and flesh is considered toxic. If humans consume it, they may experience digestive discomfort, including diarrhea and vomiting.
If you notice a child has eaten an aloe plant, monitor them closely and contact a medical professional if symptoms develop.
How to Keep Aloe Plants Out of the Reach of Pets
Since aloe plants are toxic to both dogs and cats, you’ll want to keep these plants out of reach of curious critters.
If you have a dog or cat that isn’t much of a jumper, try placing the aloe plant on a table or shelf. You can also hang your aloe plant in a macrame hanger to keep it away from your pets. You’ll want to consider your aloe plant’s care needs as well – see our in-depth guide on where to position aloe plants in the home.
However, if you have a pet that seems to always be munching on your plants, you may want to stay away from aloe. Fortunately, there are many non-toxic houseplants that are safe for your pets!
Some houseplants that are safe for both dogs and cats include spider plants, prayer plants, and Boston ferns. And if you’d like a pet-safe succulent option, check out the burro’s tail and blue echeveria.
Enjoy Aloe Plants Safely
If you have an aloe plant in your home, make sure to keep its toxicity in mind. Keep it out of reach of curious pets to keep everyone safe and happy.
For more, see our in-depth guide on how to grow aloe plants at home.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.
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