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No, dogs cannot eat cacti since their spines can injure their mouths. Some cacti also have a milky sap, which can cause severe burns and make the dog’s mouth hypersensitive. Technically, most cacti are not toxic to dogs. However, they should be kept out of reach of dogs since they can be significantly harmed by eating them.

dangerous icon

Dangerous: This food is generally considered a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of dogs. Please contact your vet, a veterinary hospital or pet poison control if you suspect your dog has eaten this food recently.

Food Safety Dangerous in a small amount.
Dangerous Serving Any part of the plant consumed by the dog.
Symptoms Mouth irritation, lack of appetite, photosensitivity, upset stomach.
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

How Much Cacti is Dangerous for Dogs?

Any part of the plant that the dog consumes has its risks since it contains spines and sap.

Why Can’t a Dog Eat Cacti?

Technically, a dog can eat cacti, but we suggest keeping the plant away from your dog since it can cause health issues. The spines in cactus leaves can lodge deep in a dog’s mouth, causing injury, while the sap can irritate the digestive tract, and some varieties of cacti, such as pencil cactus, can cause significant burns.

Symptoms of Eating Cacti in Dogs

If your dog has eaten any part of the cactus plant, look out for these symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Injured mouth due to the spines
  • Irritated skin around the mouth

What  To Do if Your Dog Ate Cactus?

If your dog has eaten any part of the cactus plant, we suggest immediately consulting your vet. Waiting for symptoms is not wise, and looking for an immediate solution will save your dog from discomfort.

How Are Dogs Treated After Eating Cactus?

Your vet will treat your dog by first taking out any spines that are lodged in the mouth. Some dogs may have to be sedated if they do not let the vet use the tweezers to take out the spines. The digestive issues and burns are treated with medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Nopales are edible cactus fruits used in Mexican food. Dogs can eat nopales when cooked, in moderation.

  • Most cacti are not toxic to dogs, but they can cause health complications.

  • Dogs can also consume the variety of cacti that are edible to humans.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.