Since the dogs can “see” and “know” their environment thanks to their keen sense of smell, it stands to reason that they will sniff and consume anything they come across.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and their keen sense of smell makes them want to eat every plant they come across—even if it’s a cactus—in your yard or inside your home.
You may be wondering if dogs can eat cactus if you are a cactus and dog enthusiast who also happens to keep cacti as houseplants.
Can Dogs Eat Cactus?
Dogs can safely ingest cactus and the meat it contains. If your furry friend has accidentally ingested this succulent plant, the only real danger is from its spines.
Your dog could get hurt if it ate one of these cacti because the spines are hard and sharp. However, be wary of Cholla and other infamously poisonous cacti.
Is Cactus Bad For Dogs To Eat?
Dogs should not eat cactus. Cacti aren’t the only healthy option for man’s best friend; there are plenty of others. Ingesting most cacti, however, poses little to no risk to your dog.
Most cacti are rich in fiber, potassium, and other minerals that can benefit dogs. Keep this water-saving plant out of your dog’s reach, as it can cause stomach irritation and mental instability in young puppies.
Most cacti are non-hazardous to canine companions, but a few are poisonous. They can make your dog sick to his stomach, leading to diarrhea and possibly vomiting. The question is, which cactus is dangerous for canines?
Are Cactus Poisonous To Dogs
Do you, too, wonder whether or not cactus is harmful to canines? It’s true that cactus plants aren’t toxic to dogs, but it’s still best to keep your pet away from them because the sap may cause allergic reactions and the thorns could cause serious injury.
If you already have a dog and are thinking about bringing home a cactus plant, you should make sure you choose the right cactus and learn about any potential side effects.
Cactus plants contain a fibrous substance that can cause stomach upset and vomiting in your dog. Cacti can be toxic to dogs if you use insecticides or fertilizers on them.
The cactus plant’s sap is toxic to dogs because it contains a potential allergen that can cause aversions; the spines, however, can be the real devils.
We know that this is the last thing on your mind when it comes to your pet.
Dogs aren’t poisoned by cacti, but it’s still best to keep them away and make sure they don’t eat any, as this could lead to a host of health issues. Keep in mind that it is always up to you to ensure the safety of your pet.
Which Cactus Is Poisonous To Dogs?
Some cacti and plants that look like cacti, like the Euphorbia family, can be harmful to canines. Toxic effects include dizziness, agitation, and trouble breathing.
Toxic cacti are listed in more detail below.
- A milky substance found in the Euphorbia tirucalli plant can cause skin, eye, and stomach irritation in your pet.
- The Peruvian Torch Cactus, or Echinopsis Peruviana, is a notoriously psychedelic plant known for its venomous spines.
- Even though the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis Pachanoi) has beautiful flowers and spines, it contains psychedelic alkaloids like mescaline, which can lead to hallucinations.
- The Peyote Cactus (Lophophora williamsii) may induce psychosis in dogs if they eat too much of it, despite the fact that it has no spines. It also raises blood pressure, heart rate, and irregular breathing patterns.
- Euphorbia canariensis, or the Canary Islands cactus, Its milky sap is irritating to the eyes and skin and it has a high toxicity level.
- Echinocactus grusonii, or the Barrel cactus – Puppy skin can become irritated from the poisonous saps in its ribs. Its spines are capable of puncturing the skin.
- saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantean) – Your dog will almost certainly get hurt by its numerous sharp spines.
- When the Silver Dollar (Crassula arborescens) cactus is pricked, it can cause dizziness, shakiness, and even vomiting.
- Cholla (Cylindropuntia) — It shoots needles that are toxic to both dogs and humans.
Toxic to both dogs and humans, the aforementioned cactus species should be avoided at all costs. As a result, you should make sure to rule out all of these possibilities before purchasing this plant for interior decoration purposes.
Symptoms of Problems
You should worry if your dog has consumed a large amount of cactus because the fluid secreted by the plant is acidic and can have a mild to moderate effect on your dog.
If you discover that your pet has eaten cactus, you must act quickly to prevent any harm from coming to him.
Your dog’s size, age, and general health will all play a role in the severity of the symptoms he displays.
When your dog is in pain, you’ll notice these signs:
- Ache in the guts
Even if your dog didn’t eat the cactus, he or she may still experience symptoms from coming into contact with it through the skin or the eyes.
- Blindness, either temporary or permanent
- puffiness in the eyelids
- inflammation and pain in the skin
- Skin sensitivity irritation
Your dog may experience severe pain if he or she comes into contact with a cactus spine.
When Your Dog Eats Cactus?
Making all succulent plants in your home inaccessible to your dog is the easiest and safest way to prevent him from eating them.
This will give you peace of mind that your pet is secure.
In the unfortunate event that your dog ingests cactus plant material despite your best efforts to keep it out of reach, you should schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
If your dog is showing signs of distress, such as excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other unusual behavior, you should seek veterinary help immediately, regardless of whether you know what kind of plant it ingested.
Separating Cactus Spines From Your Dog
Spines (needles) of cacti can prick your pet and become lodged in their mouth, eyes, feet, ears, and coat if they ingest the plant. Spines from a cactus are not fatal, but they may be irritating to your dog.
In fact, emergency veterinary care would be required if cacti invaded in large numbers. However, one or two spines can be taken out without much trouble in the comfort of one’s own home.
If your pet develops anxiety, you should seek veterinary assistance so that it can be sedated before the spines are removed.
Before you start pulling out needles, you should assess the severity of the infestation. Keep in mind that your dog may also try to eat the spines or pull them out with his or her paws. The spines are sharp and easily detach, so you need to be very careful around them.
To safely remove a cactus spine from your dog’s skin, you should treat it like a perforation wound and employ the appropriate tools.
To remove the needles, you can begin by using a wide comb; however, you should proceed with caution because blood may spurt from the puncture wounds. If you get cut, you should have a styptic pencil and a dressing handy.
If you feel you will need help completing the task at hand, you can always ask for it. Using forceps or tweezers, pull each spine out in the direction of fur growth to remove it.
It is imperative that all blood be removed and bleeding be stopped at the point of entry prior to removing the thorns.
If the spines are dispersed throughout the body, it is best to treat each affected area separately with antibiotic ointment.
Carefully tend to any wounds on or around the spine, as they are particularly vulnerable to infection if handled improperly.
It’s best to have everything you’ll need close at hand before you begin the removal process. Your dog requires immediate veterinary attention if thorns are lodged in its mouth or eyes.
Why Do Dogs Eat Cactus?
To understand why your dog craves cactus, you must first learn about the reasons for this behavior.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures; they’ll sniff around and lick just about anything they find. This is the primary cause of your pet putting strange objects in his or her mouth.
If your dog is a major investigator and is always finding new things to chew on, it’s because dogs are hardwired to explore their environments with their mouths.
Dogs, being omnivores, enjoy eating plants for the roughage they provide, which is rich in vitamins and helps the dog pass food more easily through its digestive system.
Dogs are natural scavengers; you shouldn’t be surprised to find your pet eating scraps from the trash can even if you provide ample nutrition for him or her elsewhere. That’s just how they are, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Your dog’s resourcefulness is useful not just for the slap-up meal, but also in emergency situations where food is scarce. Dogs retain their ancestors’ natural propensity from their time in the wild to go weeks or months without eating.
For fear of starvation, they will gorge on anything they can get their claws on, and that includes your prized indoor cactus plant.
You should also consider the possibility that your pet is bored and eating your cactus out of boredom.
The dog’s insatiable appetite for your cactus plant may have a therapeutic value.
At times, parasites are the villains responsible for this. If you suspect your pet is sick, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get them checked out by a vet.
Can Dogs Eat Succulents?
Succulents are safe for dogs to eat. Few of them, however, pose any significant health risks to your dogs.
If you’re a dog parent, these succulents should be kept outside of the house:
- Aloe vera
- A plant of jade
- Phytoremediation of a Panda Plant
- Reptile flora
Are Christmas Cactus Poisonous To Dogs
If you have a dog and are unsure whether or not to bring one home, you may be wondering whether or not Christmas cacti are toxic to canines.
Fortunately, the Christmas Cactus is not poisonous to dogs, and neither its parts nor its flowers are toxic. The spines of these cacti are also not particularly sharp, so they pose less of a risk to pets when being handled.
However, the dogs may experience gastrointestinal distress due to the fibrous substance, which may result in either vomiting or diarrhea.
Keep your dog away from these plants if he or she likes to sniff around, especially if the dog is a puppy.
Even though the Christmas cactus is safe for people, pets, and wildlife, that doesn’t mean you should give your dog any of the leaves.
While a few flowers or a bite of foliage won’t hurt, training the animals to avoid eating plants around the house is recommended because eating too much cactus can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
A Christmas cactus and a dog can get along swimmingly, so long as the canine doesn’t eat the plant.
Cayenne pepper dissolved in water can be sprayed on the plant if your pet is being particularly stubborn. In addition to protecting the plant from canine-inflicted dentition damage and foliar destruction, the plant’s spicy flavor may also make your dog wary of approaching it.
What Cacti Are Safe For Dogs?
Dogs shouldn’t ingest the Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti. The pinkish blooms and winter flowers of these cacti are a popular holiday decoration.
The Opuntia, also known as the prickly pear, is another type of cactus that is completely safe for canines. This species is native to Mexico, where it is cultivated as a food crop and frequently used as a natural sugar substitute.
Since the spines on all cacti species can be quite sharp and powerful on some varieties, it’s best to keep your indoor plants out of the reach of any pets you might have.
There are measures you can take in cases where they have accidentally consumed toxic cactus. If you want to know more, read on.
What If My Dog Eats My Cactus?
First, find out if the cactus your dog ate is known to be poisonous. For this reason, it is critical to learn the proper name of any plant you intend to grow in a controlled environment.
If the cactus you have suspicions about is not on the above list, you can verify its poisonousness with a quick internet search.
No matter what you find, it’s best to take your pet to the nearest veterinary clinic for a thorough checkup and treatment. The best course of action for your dog’s condition will depend on the specific cactus species, so be prepared to identify it or provide a detailed description to your vet.
You should be most worried about the spines when your four-legged friend dashes in with a cactus in its mouth, as was previously mentioned.
Likely, these sharp spines have already penetrated deep into their skin and will soon cause a variety of symptoms. Therefore, it is imperative that you promptly remove these spines and tend to their wounds.
Since you won’t be near any emergency veterinary facilities while on your hike, you’ll have to de-spine your dog on your own. The question is, how do you extract cactus spines from a dog’s system? That’s up next for inspection.
How Do You Get Cactus Out Of A Dog?
You’ll need a second set of hands and the right equipment to safely remove cactus spines from your dog. If you have a helper, they can hold the dog still while you remove the object.
A clean towel, sterile tweezers, and antibiotic ointment are required for this procedure. The tweezers can be used to remove the spines while someone else holds the dog still.
Never risk injury by trying to pull those sharp things out with your bare hands. To reduce blood loss, pull the spine in the direction of your dog’s fur instead of against it.
While extracting the spines, you might leave a few blood stains here and there. A towel and some antibiotic ointment should be used to clean and treat such wounds right away. In a matter of minutes, if all is well, bleeding should cease.
If the wound is not healing as quickly as expected, especially within the first few days, you should make an appointment with the vet right away. In addition, you should seek professional help if your dog exhibits signs of extreme distress, fever, loss of appetite, or discomfort after the procedure.