Are Cactus Plants Poisonous to Dogs? Things to Know about Cactus and Dogs

Dogs are naturally curious animals, and that means that they can easily smell and try to taste every plant that you grow. Yes, Cactus too.

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical doctor or veterinarian. The information presented is purely to share our experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor and/or veterinarian before making any health or nutrition decisions and consult with a doctor and/or veterinarian regarding any question or problem that you have. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

We can’t deny the fact that dogs are mischievous animals who like to sniff, explore, and eat everything around them. This habit can often get them into trouble and cause severe health issues if they consume something that they shouldn’t have. If you love to grow indoor plants such as cacti, then you may be wondering whether it is poisonous to your dog.

So, is a cactus plant poisonous to your dog? The truth is that a cactus plant isn’t poisonous to your dog, and it is perfectly fine to have this exotic plant around your pet. Nonetheless, you need to make sure that your dog doesn’t eat the cactus plant since you don’t want to take such risks.

We understand your concerns, and we are here to reveal everything that you need to know about the cactus plant and dogs so that you can take appropriate measures to protect your pet from danger.

Dogs are naturally curious and friendly animals, and that means that they can easily smell and try to taste every plant that you grow inside your house. Thus, it is your responsibility to ensure that you don’t bring anything toxic into your home that could harm your dog.

If you do bring anything toxic into your house, you need to ensure that it is out of reach of your pet. So, is cactus poisonous to dogs? Read on to find out critical facts about the cactus plant and dogs.

Why Do Dogs Love to Eat Cactus?

Before we dive into understanding whether a cactus plant is poisonous to your dog or not, you need to know why your canine friend loves to eat cacti.

First, all dogs are naturally curious, and they love to taste everything that comes their way. This is the primary reason why you will most likely see your pet stuffing his/her mouth with some of the weirdest things in your home.

Sale
SmartBones Large Chews, Treat Your Dog to a Rawhide-Free Chew Made With Real Meat and Vegetables
  • RAWHIDE-FREE: Easy-to-digest dog chews made with wholesome ingredients.
  • REAL SWEET POTATO: Made with a vegetable outside wrapped around real chicken and sweet potato inside.
  • EASY TO DIGEST: Highly digestible and 100% delicious.
  • HELPS MAINTAIN HEALTHY TEETH: SmartBones chews have all the benefits of a rawhide chew without the rawhide – chewing helps maintain healthy teeth.
  • BONE SHAPES: 3 fun-shaped chew treats dogs love.

In fact, science tells us that dogs love to explore with their mouths and if your little friend always seems to find something to chew on, it only means that he/she is a big explorer and there is nothing that you can do about it.

Furthermore, dogs are omnivores, and they often enjoy eating plants. They love eating plants so that they can get roughage, which is not only a great source of vitamins but also helps your dog have better bowel movements and pass digested food much easier through their intestines.

A dog looking at the food.
Dogs love to explore with their mouths

Moreover, dogs are natural scavengers, and when you see your little friend fighting for that piece of pizza from garbage even after you just fed him with some high-quality food, it shouldn’t surprise you at all. It is only that nature is kicking in, and there is nothing the dog can do about it.

Nature and your dog’s instincts also kick in for another reason- the “feast or famine” scenario. The explanation behind this situation is quite simple and straightforward.

Dogs used to go for several days, weeks, or even months without food while living in the wilderness, and those instincts still follow them up to date. This means that your dog will stuff everything that comes his/her way, including your indoor cactus plant out of fear of famine.

Besides that, boredom can be another big reason why your dog decides to eat your cactus.

There are also some medical reasons why your dog may chew everything that they come across, including the cactus plant. 

Parasites are the main culprits and if you suspect that your pet has developed some health issues don’t hesitate to take him/her to the veterinary officer.

Is the Cactus Plant Poisonous to Dogs?

The cactus plant contains a fibrous plant material that can easily cause irritation and stomach problems to your dog leading to vomiting and diarrhea. In addition to that, you may be spraying your cacti with insecticides or adding fertilizer and the chemicals can be dangerous to your dog.

A dog sniffing the cactus.
The sap of the cactus plant can be a potential allergen and can be harmful to dogs that tend to develop allergic reactions.

Furthermore, the sap of the cactus plant can be a potential allergen and can be harmful to dogs that tend to develop allergic reactions.

The spines can also cause severe harm to your pet, and we are sure that this is something that you don’t want to happen.

Therefore, in as much as cacti plants aren’t poisonous to your dog, you still need to keep your pet away from them and not allow it to eat the cactus since it can lead to a wide range of digestive problems.  Remember the fact that it is your responsibility to protect your pet at all times.

Signs of Trouble

While the cactus plant isn’t poisonous to your dog, you should be worried if you discover that your dog has consumed plenty of it.

It is thought that the sap substance released by the cactus plant has acidic properties that may cause mild to moderate effects on your dog.

For that reason, you need to act quickly the moment you realize that your pet has consumed cactus before it causes much harm to it.

The symptoms exhibited may vary greatly depending on your dog’s size, age, and general health.  You will know that your dog is suffering if you see the following signs of distress:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea

If your dog didn’t eat the cactus but had ocular or dermal contact, you may notice the following signs:

  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Temporary or permanent blindness
  • Ulceration
  • Rashes on the skin accompanied by moderate pain
  • Blisters
  • Burning
  • Irritation to the skin
Different Cactus plant on a pot.
While not life-threatening, cactus spines can cause your dog some discomfort and great pain

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Cactus

The easiest and safest way to protect your little pet from eating cactus or any other harmful succulent plant that you grow inside your house is to keep all the plants out of reach of your dog.

By doing so, you will always be sure that your little friend is fine and there will be nothing to worry about.

In case you are unable to keep the plants out of reach, and your dog finds a way of eating any part of the cactus plant, make sure that you contact your trusted veterinarian as soon as possible.

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.

The last thing you want to do is to see your dog suffer and all you can do is sit back and watch it suffer in pain.

Removing Cactus Spines from Your Dog

Apart from eating the cactus plant, your pet can also get the spines (needles) of cacti stuck in their mouth, feet, coat, eyes, and ears. While not life-threatening, cactus spines can cause your dog some discomfort and great pain.

Sale
Altman Plants Assorted Cactus Collection 2.5" 4 pack
  • UNIQUE HAND SELECTED: Each order contains GROWN WITH LOVE and hand selected cactus plants. You will receive a variety of unique cactus similar to the ones in the photo which may include: Echinocactus,...
  • EASY CARE: Featuring Eye-Catching flowers, spines and forms, these cacti are easy to grow and grow great together in gardens or any container. Many cacti can thrive in the sunniest, most neglected...
  • SIZE: Succulents come in 2 1/2" pots fully rooted in soil. Plant measurements will vary as different species grow in different ways: for example, some grow wider, shorter, taller, trailing etc. All...
  • PACKAGING: All plants come with helpful Care instructions and are PACKAGED WITH CARE at our Facility by our succulent shipment specialists. We ship plants dry to keep them relaxed and rot-free— once...
  • HEALTHY LIVE ARRIVAL : Your succulents will arrive alive and healthy. We are well known for our excellent customer service and going the extra mile for our customers. Please feel free to directly...

In fact, a heavy infestation of cacti spines may require immediate veterinary attention. However, one or two needles can easily be removed at home without any complication.  Make sure that you seek veterinary help if your pet becomes distressed since it might be good to sedate the pet before removing the needles.

Before you start the needle removal process, take some time to evaluate the severity of the infestation.

Green cactus with a ceramic dog beside.
Treat spine wounds with uttermost care since they create an opening for harmful bacteria.

Keep in mind that your dog may try to get rid of the spines with his/her mouth or by kicking her legs. You need to be quite careful since the needles can easily become dislodged and stick into your skin.

Treat a cactus spine as a puncture wound and use the right tools while dislodging it from your dog’s skin. You can start with a relatively coarse comb to get rid of the needles, but you need to be careful since blood may spurt out the entry points. Therefore, it is always good to keep a styptic stick and gauze close to you.

If you think that you can’t do the job on your own, don’t be afraid to get someone to help you.

Once you have used the course comb to remove the loose spines from your dog’s coat, remove the individual needles that remain with a pair of forceps or tweezers by pulling each one of them in the direction of fur growth.

While removing the needles, ensure that you clean off any blood and stop bleeding at the entry point.  If your dog has the spines in different areas of the body, it is advisable that you apply antibiotic ointment in one section of the body before moving on to another area.

Treat spine wounds with uttermost care since they create an opening for harmful bacteria. Before you start the removal process, make sure that you have everything that you will need ready.  If the needles are lodged in the mouth or eyes of your dog, seek veterinary assistance.

Conclusion

Dogs are natural explorers, and they will always want to smell or taste everything around them, including your indoor plants such as cacti. 

These animals love to eat cacti for a wide range of reasons, and it is your responsibility to ensure that the plants are kept out of reach of your pet.

While most cacti plants aren’t poisonous to your pet, the chemical composition of the cacti sap can cause gastrointestinal ailments to your little canine friend.

Signs of cacti ingestion in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, stomach pain, excessive salivation, and nausea.

If you discover any of these signs and suspect that your pet consumed cacti, make sure that you contact your veterinary officer for immediate assistance. Don’t let your little friend suffer in pain as you watch.

A dog biting a wood.
Dogs are natural explorers, they will always want to smell or taste everything around

Related Questions

Are cactus plants poisonous to cats? Cactus is not poisonous to cats upon ingestion. Unlike most houseplants that contain dangerous compounds that may have adverse effects on your cat, this plant is harmless. However, bear in mind that the plant has spines that may accidentally injure your cat. 

Last update on 2022-09-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

read this next

Can a succulent grow in shade? This is a common question that gets asked regularly amongst succulent enthusiasts. In this article we will take an in-depth look at how shade impacts succulents and how you can create the perfect succulent garden in shade.
Cacti are great indoor plants, but they are not 100% safe. Therefore, it is essential to take all necessary precautions to keep them away from your kids and pets, and anyone that can negligently ingest them
Succulents Terrarium
Succulents are so easy to grow. They require very little attention and there is nothing better than an earthy or whimsical addition to your home or office. Why not try making your own succulent terrarium? It’s really very simple.
Cactus pear: Just the word inspires intrigue. These unique fruits come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Although they’re a bit strange, they’re also delicious and full of surprising health benefits! If you are still unsure why people love the plant so much, here are 8 exciting facts about Cactus Pear.
Succulents are incredibly versatile, and great for beginners because they require very little water. Just like any plant, succulents can have pests or diseases that need to be treated. Make sure that you are caring correctly for your plants, and cutting off the bad growths when needed. In this article we cover 9 signs that it’s time to cut your succulent.
If you want to take care of your own little plant babies or introduce someone else to the joys of succulent-growing (and why wouldn’t you?), you’re in luck! Today, we’re sharing DIY succulent soil recipe details.
Air plants make excellent houseplants. Consider air plants as another option when adding greenery to your home. They are a creative and imaginative way to give any room a fresh feeling, from the bathroom to the living room or breakfast nook . If you’re thinking about having an elegant yet easy-to-care indoor garden, these little plants are the perfect foundation – and they make a great gift idea as well!
As succulents are low-maintenance plants that thrive in harsh climates, overwatering is a critical issue that can lead to root rot or even death. Luckily, you can save your overwatered succulents and here are some tips to easily do it!
Many people can’t keep their houseplants alive and end up disappointed. However, there is a beautiful solution to having the lush green thumb. Grow low care plants indoors. This article will give you ideas for low maintenance plants that only need to be watered occasionally and will leave with a mini cactus garden to brighten up your home year round.
Learn how to root a cactus in water in 4 quick steps: gather the cuttings, dry them, place them in water, and just wait for them to root! Stay safe when handling prickly cacti
While some succulents love being under direct sun, others may develop brown spots or even die when being exposed to too much direct sunlight. Here are some tips on how to avoid sun damage and take proper care of succulents.
aloe_vera_plant
Whether you are re-growing your first Aloe or re-growing one that you have let slip over the years, there are some key things that are needed for this plant to thrive. If you follow these simple steps on how to revive a dying Aloe Vera , your plant will be guaranteed to live again.
It is possible to save a rotting cactus as long as the damage isn’t severe, Be sure to take action as soon as you notice any signs of rot on your cactus plant. Keep in mind that this is a serious problem that can easily lead to the death of your Cacti
Do you have an aeonium in your garden? In the world of succulents, one of the most frequently asked questions is how to care for an aeonium. While many people are familiar with succulents, not everyone knows how to care for them.
Lithops, also known as living stones, are a fascinating group of plants with flat, leafy faces. It is very important when caring for your lithops that you keep them completely dry. Other than watering, they require no maintenance and rarely even flower! This article will tell you all about the fascinating plant and how to grow it.
It may seem difficult to take care of a cactus, but it can be fun and rewarding when you have patience and time to devote to your plant. Cacti are versatile houseplants that can work in almost any corner of your home.

Receive the latest news

Get Our Cacti Newsletter

Stay updated with the latest facts, tips, advice, and more!

Your privacy is important to us.