Do you also get the sudden urge to experiment with your dog’s menu and try making it more unique? And if you also came down with the question, “can dogs eat cactus?” then you are at the right place!

Well, yes! You can feed your dog cactus, but not cactus is safe for dogs! We know this can be confusing, which is why in the article below, we have answered all your questions. So, without further ado, let’s explore everything you need to know about cacti and dogs. 

Are Cacti Toxic to Dogs?

There is no straightforward answer to whether or not cacti are toxic to dogs, as there are several factors that determine that, such as:

1. Not all cactus

When it comes to cactus, one shoe does not fit all! It is because not every type of cactus is safe or non-toxic for dogs, so you should be extra careful about what cacti you are feeding. For example, where Prickly Pear Cactus (nopales) is considered safe for dogs, barrel cactus is a HUGE NO! 

2. Allergies

Every dog breed is built differently and reacts differently to what you feed them. So, when it comes to cactuses, you never know whether or not they can trigger allergies in your dog. This is why you must start with very small amounts of it and then increase the dosage gradually. 

3. Choking hazards

If you have cactus in your garden and your dog drools over all of them- it can be hazardous for them! Dogs have this weird habit of gobbling down food or anything THEY think is food, so when it comes to cactuses as well, gobbling them down can lead to choking hazards. Hence, monitor your dog 24/7!

What About Cactus Fruits?

Now, if you are wondering if your dog can eat cactus fruits, here is what all you need to know:

  1. Fruits contain pits and seeds, which may or may not contain cyanide! If you have read about apples or apricots, you would know that cyanide is a deadly toxin for dogs (study). And not just this! Even if there is no cyanide, seeds can always cause choking hazards. 
  1. Another thing that you should know when feeding your dog cactus fruits is that not all fruits will be poisonous or safe for dogs! So always learn about it before tossing it to your dog. 
  1. Lastly, if you are confused about which fruit to feed your pooch, it is always best to consult a veterinarian who can guide you on whether or not a particular human food is safe for your pooch. 

a dog in a desert staring curiously at a cactus

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Cacti?

If your dog ate cacti, the very first thing you should do is keep calm! If you start panicking, you will not be able to assess the situation well! So, instead of being anxious, you should do these things:

  1. Identify the cactus your dog ate, as that would tell you whether or not the plant is toxic. Also, the spines of the cactus can be very harmful to dogs, so when feeding cacti to your dog, always remember to remove any sharp thorns or edges. 
  1. Even if the cactus is not toxic and your dog shows signs of choking or toxicity, you should contact your veterinarian immediately!
  1. Now, if you have seen your dog ingesting the spikes or toxic cacti, please do not wait for the symptoms of toxicity to show up! Instead, you should take them to the nearest vet and observe any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of breathing, etc.
  1. Lastly, and it’s a no-brainer- call the poison control helpline immediately if you are 100% sure that your dog ate a toxic cactus or is showing the signs of the same. 

As a responsible pet owner, you may feel the urge to take action yourself and use all the medical dog supplies to help your struggling dog, but please wait! Taking matters into your own hands can worsen the situation and become a nightmare for you and your dog. Hence, please do not force your dog to vomit unless your veterinarian asks and guides you to.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, we can say that you technically CAN feed your dog cactus, but “why though?” is a bigger question than “can dogs eat cactus?”. Even though cactus is safe for dogs and maybe serve minimal health benefits, your dog would still be fine if you didn’t add this spikey plant to their diet. 

But if you still insist on feeding your pooch cactus, then one thing to keep in mind is not every cactus is safe for dogs, so choose wisely. And also, be it any cactus, always remember to remove the spines and thorns, as they can injure you and your dog!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat Mexican cactus?

You should consult a veterinarian before feeding your dog any cactus, be it Mexican or any cacti from your doggo’s wonderland. It is because not every cactus or its fruit is safe for dogs, and it might even cause allergic reactions in dogs.

Are Christmas cactus poisonous to dogs?

Christmas cactus is generally safe for dogs if you feed it in moderation and after confirming with your veterinarian. It is important to monitor your dog once they eat any type of food so you can take immediate actions for prevention.

Can dogs eat cooked cacti?

You can feed your dog raw as well as cooked cacti, as cooking does not really change anything. The catch with cactus and the most harmful thing is the spines and thorns, which should be removed very carefully!

Can dogs eat prickly pear?

Yes! You can feed your dog prickly pears in moderation, but only if you feed them after taking all the necessary precautions. Again, the catch is to remove the thorns and spines and only feed the non-toxic parts to your pooch.

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