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Can Dogs Eat Cactus? (Is the Plant Poisonous or Safe?)

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Dogs should not be given cactus. Many of these contain oxalates, a compound known to be toxic to dogs. Dogs should likewise not eat nopales, as these contain said compound. Cactus also pose several other health risks.

Cactus is a popular plant, both for its aesthetic value and its nutritional benefits. This prickly, often green, the plant is mostly used for decoration, but can also be eaten. One of the most common dishes made with cacti is nopales.

But can dogs eat cactus, and is it good for them?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the nutritional value of cactus for dogs and whether or not it’s safe for them to consume.

Can Dogs Eat Cactus?

Yes, dogs can eat cactus, but it is not recommended. These plants are typically not toxic to dogs, but they contain fibers that can cause digestion issues and an upset stomach. Some cacti contain oxalates, in which case they are toxic.

This is a question that many dog owners, that are also cacti fans, ask. After all, cactus is not something that most people would think to feed their dogs. 

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think.

While it is true that cactus is not toxic to dogs, there are still some risks associated with feeding your dog this plant. The biggest concern is the possibility of your dog choking on a cactus spine. 

These spines can be very sharp, and if they puncture your dog’s throat or digestive tract, they could cause serious health problems.[1]

Another concern is that cactus is not a very digestible food for dogs. This means that it could cause gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog eats a large amount of cactus, he could also end up with an intestinal blockage.

Cactus for dogs

Is Cactus Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Yes and no. A couple of cactus variants are safe for dogs to eat, but many are not. The flesh of the cactus is safe for dogs to consume and provides them with several nutrients.

Cactus is a good source of fiber and vitamins A and C. It also contains a small amount of protein. It can work as a healthy snack for dogs if you know how to serve it.

Here are some examples of toxic cactus plants to keep your dog away from

  • Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli)
  • Canary Islands Cactus (Euphorbia canariensis)
  • Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)
  • San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis Pachanoi)
  • Peruvian Torch Cactus (Echinopsis Peruviana)

Ask your vet for advice related to what cactus plants are safe for dogs to consume.

Is Cactus Healthy for Dogs?

Cactus can be healthy for dogs, as long as they eat it in moderation. There are some cacti that are safe for dogs to eat, while others are toxic even in small amounts. Prickly pear (cactus fruits) are also toxic.

Cactus is a popular houseplant, but not all cactus species are safe for dogs. Cactus contains a compound called saponin, which is toxic to dogs and can cause the following symptoms[2]

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling

If your dog eats cactus, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Is Cactus Healthy for Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Nopales?

Dogs can not eat nopales. They are poisonous to dogs due to their oxalate content. This dish is made from prickly pears which are toxic to dogs.

Nopales are a good source of fiber and Vitamin C for humans, but they contain oxalates. Oxalates can cause problems for dogs if they eat too much.[3]

Nopales are the pads of the nopal cactus[4]. They are often eaten by people in Mexico and other parts of Latin America.

Oxalates are compounds that can bind to calcium and other minerals. This can cause problems for dogs if they eat too many. So, moderation is key when feeding nopales to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Cactus Fruit?

Some cactus fruits are safe for dogs to eat. This type of fruit is safe for dogs to consume in small quantities. Cactus fruit is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, which can be beneficial for your dog’s health.

However, the seeds and spines of the cactus fruit can be dangerous for dogs if consumed, so it’s important to remove these before feeding your dog cactus fruit.

Cactus fruit is a healthy treat for dogs, but it should be given in moderation. Too much of any type of fruit can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. If you’re unsure about feeding your dog cactus fruit, talk to your veterinarian first.

Can Dogs Eat Cactus Fruit

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Cactus?

The answer is yes, dogs can eat some cooked cactus. This should not come as a surprise since the cactus is technically a fruit. There are some things to keep in mind before feeding your dog cactus.

First of all, not all cacti are edible. Only certain species of cactus, such as the prickly pear, are edible. Secondly, it is important to remove all the thorns from the cactus before cooking it.

Cooking the cactus will make it softer and easier for your dog to digest. It is also a good idea to cook the cactus with other fruits or vegetables to make a more well-rounded meal for your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Cactus Pears

Can Dogs Eat Cactus Pears?

No, dogs can’t eat cactus pears. These are generally toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. It does depend on the type of cactus pear. Prickly pears should be kept away from dogs completely.

Pitaya or Dragon fruit is safe for dogs to eat. They are low in sugar and high in fiber, making them a healthy snack choice for your pup. If you’re looking for a new way to spoil your furry friend, try giving them one of these.

Cactus Nutritional Value for Dogs

There is a lot of debate over the nutritional value of cactus for dogs. Some people swear by it, while others believe that cactus offers no benefits to dogs whatsoever. Cactus does offer some nutritional value to dogs, but it’s not as beneficial as some people believe.

Nutritional ValueNutritional Breakdown
Protein (Grams)1.14
Fat (Grams)0.08
Carbohydrates (Grams)2.86
Fiber (Grams)1.89
Sugar (Grams)1

How to Feed Dogs Cactus

Dogs are carnivores and as such, their diet should consist of mostly meat. There are some plants that can provide some nutritional value to their diet. 

Some cactus species can be fed to dogs in their raw form or they can be boiled and mashed.

If you choose to feed your dog cactus in its raw form, remove the thorns first. You can either chop the cactus into small pieces or grind it into a pulp.

  1. If you choose to feed your dog, remove the thorns first.
  2. Then, start by boiling it in water for about 15 minutes.
  3. use a potato masher to mash the cactus. You can add a little bit of water if needed.
  4. Once it is mashed, you can either feed it to your dog as is or put it in a food dish.

How Much Cactus Can Dogs Eat?

Dogs should not eat large amounts of cactus due to their prickly nature. If they do consume too much, it can cause digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Cactus is also a choking hazard, so it’s important to keep an eye on your dog if they’re around this plant. 

If you think your dog has eaten a large amount of cactus, contact your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary.

Cactus for Dogs Alternatives

There are many plants that can be used as alternatives to cactus for dogs. Some of these include citrus plants, which are high in vitamin C and help boost your dog’s immune system.

Other good plant choices include the following:

If you’re looking for an alternative to cactus for your dog, consider one of the fruits listed above. Each has its unique benefits that can help your dog stay healthy and happy.


While all cacti are not safe for dogs to eat, there are a few species that can be enjoyed. Be sure to do your research before giving your dog any cactus, and always consult with a veterinarian if you have any questions.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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