Can Dogs Eat Cactus? [Answer Will Surprise You!]

Dogs cannot eat cactus. However, cactus is not poisonous to them. But, the spines can injure your dog if it tries to eat cactus, and the sap of cactus plants makes dogs hypersensitive. So, although cactus is not life-threatening to Dogs, they must not eat this.

The dogs see and know everything through their noses and this justifies that the dogs sniff and eat whatever they find in their surroundings. Dogs are visibly inquisitive animals and they can smell with ease and thus, attempt to ingest every plant growing in your garden or house, including cactus.

If you are both a cactus and dog lover and are growing cacti as houseplants, then you may be curious to know can dogs eat cactus?

Can Dogs Eat Cactus?

No, dogs cannot eat cactus, although a cactus plant isn’t fatal to dogs, the sap of the cactus plant can make them hypersensitive. Also, the spines can badly injure your pet. This is something you don’t want your dog to suffer. Albeit, it is absolutely fine to have this fantastic plant around your pet, however, ensure that your dog doesn’t eat the cactus plant as you will not like to take this risk.

We fathom your worries, so let’s explore everything that you should know about the cactus plant and dogs so that you can make apt arrangements to save your pet from any trouble.

Why Do Dogs Eat Cactus?

It is really important to know why your dog loves to eat cactus.

Dogs are certainly investigative, and they taste everything that is lying here and there. This is the main reason you see your pet filling his/her mouth with some of the absurd things in your home.

In fact, dogs love to inspect with their mouths and if your dog always discovers something to chew on, it means that he/she is a major investigator and you cannot change it.

Also, dogs are omnivores and they love eating plants to get the roughage, a great source of vitamins, and provide them with better bowel movements as the digested food moves easily through their intestines.

Besides, dogs are inborn scavengers and you shouldn’t get blown away if you see your canine stuffing him/her something from garbage even after having sufficient food at your home. It is only their nature and you can do nothing about it.

Your dog’s “know – how” nature also pitches in for a further reason- the slap-up meal or food shortage situation. In the wild, dogs were accustomed to live without food for many days, weeks, or even months and these tendencies are still with them till date. This means that they  will binge on everything coming their  way, including your indoor cactus plant due to being afraid of starvation.

Dullness can be another big reason for your pet to eat your cactus.

There can be some therapeutic reasons that your dog is munching everything, involving your cactus plant. 

Parasites are the miscreants that can be responsible for this at times. If you assume that your pet is having some health issues, then take him/her to the veterinary doctor.

Are Cactus Poisonous To Dogs

Do you also muse that is cactus poisonous to dogs? The answer is No, not at all, cactus plants are not poisonous to dogs and though they are not toxic, it is in favour of your dog to not eat cactus as its sap can be a possible allergen to dogs leading to some allergic reactions in them and also the thorns can severely hurt your canine.

So while you plan to bring home a cactus plant and you already have a dog at your home, choosing the right cactus and becoming aware of its side effects will assure the safety of your dog.

The cactus plant has a fibrous substance that can give rise to irritation and stomach problems in your dog causing vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, spraying your cacti with insecticides or adding fertilizers and the chemicals can be harmful for your dog.

Furthermore, the sap of the cactus plant can act as a potential allergen triggering aversions in dogs and this can harm them, also the spines can be the real devils.

We are sure that this is something that you don’t want to happen to your pet.

Hence, although the cacti plants are not poisonous to your dog, keep your pet away from them and don’t let it eat the cactus as it can cause many digestive problems.  Remember the fact that it is your responsibility to protect your pet at all times.

Symptoms of Problems

When your dog has eaten lots of the cactus plant, you should be anxious as the fluid released by the cactus plant has acidic properties that can have a mild to moderate impact on your dog.

Take action immediately when you find that your pet has consumed cactus before it harms him.

The signs shown may vary greatly depending upon the size, age, and general health of your dog.  

These are the symptoms of discomfort that can tell you that your dog is suffering:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea

If your dog had not eaten the cactus but had skin or eye contact, these symptoms can appear:

  • Temporary or permanent blindness
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Lesions
  • Skin eruptions with pain
  • Blisters
  • Burning
  • Irritation to the skin

Cactus spines can cause your dog some discomfort and great pain.

When Your Dog Eats Cactus?

The simplest and secure way to guard your pet from eating cactus or any other succulent plant growing in your house is to make all the plants inaccessible to your dog.

This will ensure the safety of your pet without any worries.

If you are not able to keep the plants out of reach and your dog eats the cactus plant, contact your veterinarian soon.

Even if you are unsure of the type of plant that your dog consumed, but it exhibits signs of distress such as excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other unusual behavior, make sure that you contact your veterinarian for immediate assistance.

Separating Cactus Spines From Your Dog

 If your pet has eaten the cactus plant, spines (needles) of cacti can prick it and also get stuck in their mouth, eyes, feet, ears, and coat.  Cactus spines are not deadly but can be irritable and hurt your dog. In fact, a massive invasion of cacti spines will need instant veterinary attention. But, one or a few spines can be easily removed at home without any difficulty. Take veterinary help if your pet becomes traumatic as it has to be sedated before removing the spines.

Analyze the austerity of the infestation before you start to remove the needles. Be mindful that your dog will also try to remove the spines with his/her mouth or with legs. You have to be quite cautious as the spines can easily become detached and prod into your skin too.

Treat a cactus spine as a perforation wound and use the right apparatus while detaching it from your dog’s skin. You can start with a relatively broad comb to get rid of the needles, but be careful since blood may ooze from the entry points. Therefore, it is better to keep a styptic pencil and dressing nearby.

You can ask someone to assist you if you think that you won’t be able to do it on your own. Remove each spine with a pair of forceps or tweezers by pulling each one in the direction of fur growth. During the removal of the thorns, make sure that you clear all the blood and stop the bleeding at the entry point. If the spines are present in different parts of the body, it is best to apply antibiotic ointment to one part of the body before moving on to another part.

Deal with the spine wounds with absolute care as they can catch harmful bacteria, if not handled carefully. Keep everything you need closer, before starting the removal process. If the thorns are embedded in the mouth or eyes of your dog, it needs immediate veterinary assistance.

Are Christmas Cactus Poisonous To Dogs

If you have a dog and you are also doubting before selecting a Christmas cactus for your house, are Christmas cactus poisonous to dogs? You can just relax and choose this beautiful Christmas cactus as a houseplant as luckily, the Christmas Cactus is not poisonous to dogs nor its parts or the flowers, moreover spines of these cacti are not sharp, which makes handling them less harmful for pets. But, the fibrous substance can create irritation to the stomach and intestine of the dogs and can lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

Snoopy dogs, especially puppies, can get harmed, so these plants should be kept away from the pets.

In Spite of the fact that the Christmas cactus is not toxic to humans or cats and dogs, that does not mean that you should be feeding your dog Christmas cactus leaves. It is best to train the animals not to eat plants at home, no harm can occur to them if they have a flower or a bite of foliage, but consumption of cactus in large quantities can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Christmas cactus and pets can be perfect companions as long as your dog doesn’t feast the plant and destroy it.

If your pet is especially obstinate, spray the plant with cayenne pepper dissolved in water. The spicy taste will make your canine think twice before coming closer to any plant and will also guard the plant from dentition injury and foliar destruction.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

Recent Posts