Can Dogs Eat Cactus Fruit?: Dog Veterinarian Guide

Can Dogs Eat Cactus Fruit?

Cacti are excellent sources of fiber, potassium, and other minerals that can be beneficial to dogs. But due to the tendency of pups to develop stomach irritation and psychological imbalance after eating cactus plants, you should provide them with proper care and preparation.

The cactus indoors is currently fruiting, but what are the chances that the beloved dogs can consume the ordinary cactus fruit?

Cactus fruits are covered with thorns on the outside, so they are only eaten on the inside. Dog owners should remove the outer skin carefully before feeding their pets. The riper it is, the sweeter it will be. However, cactus fruit usually contains a toxin that is fatal to dogs. A dog may even suffer a life-threatening obstruction of the intestines from this condition. 

 It is true that cactus fruit can be eaten, although the shape of the fruit can vary depending upon the variety. Moreover, your dogs are generally able to consume this fruit.

Learning more about them is a good thing, as it will help you discover which variants you should keep away from your dogs. Therefore, let us begin by looking at the question of whether or not cactus can be used as a food source for dogs.

Which Cactus & Its Fruits are Poisonous To Dogs?

More specific examples of toxic cacti are listed below:
1. Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) –The pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) contains a milky substance that may cause wounds to the skin, eyes, and digestive tract of your pet. As stated in NC state Extension,  It is problematic for dogs. This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
2. Peruvian Torch Cactus (Echinopsis Peruviana) –This plant is known for having large spines and causing hallucinations, among other effects. Mescaline occurs naturally in Peruvian Torch Cactus, which causes hallucinations in dogs.
3. San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis Pachanoi) – Aside from its attractive spines and flowers, it contains psychedelic alkaloids, such as mescaline, which can induce hallucinations. As described on the BMC website, The use of San Pedro is still a central part of the curing ceremonies of healers in Northern Peru. Healers are in fact experimenting with new hallucinogens.
4. Peyote Cactus (Lophophora williamsii) – A dog overeating peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii) can cause a psychotic breakdown. Additionally, irregular breathing, papillary dilation, heart rate, and blood pressure can be caused. The dog seems to be the most sensitive species to Peyote cactus, according to NCBI.
NCBI again stated that  The Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), is one of the oldest known hallucinogenic agents that influence human and animal behavior,
5. Canary Islands Cactus (Euphorbia canariensis) –The Canary Islands Cactus is a very toxic plant native to the Canary Islands. The milky sap of this cactus irritates the eyes and skin, and its spines can kill animals.
5. The Barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) – Cacti with poisonous sap on their ribs (Echinocactus grusonii) – Their ribs irritate pups’ skin. They can also hurt pups’ skin with their spines.
6. Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantean) – This species of cactus has numerous sharp spines on its body that can inflict wounds on your dog’s skin.
7. Silver Dollar (Crassula arborescens) – When pricked, this cactus causes nausea, vomiting, and sometimes tremor. As described in the WAG website, When ingested, most dogs develop signs of gastrointestinal upset ranging from mild to moderate. There have been no reported cases of the death of a dog due to silver dollar ingestion. However, there is always the possibility your dog may experience more severe symptoms than previously reported.
8. Cholla (Cylindropuntia) – It can shoot needles that are poisonous to dogs and humans. The plant’s sap contains a toxin called oleandrin which can cause kidney failure and death in dogs

What Cactus Fruits Are Poisonous & Nonpoisonous to Dogs?

poisonous & nonpoisonous cactus to dogs

There is a wide variety of cacti fruit. Cacti fruits fall into two categories: those that are poisonous to dogs and those that are edible to dogs.
1. Those that are poisonous include the barrel cactus, cardoncito cactus, cholla, fishhook barrel, giant hedgehog cactus, prickly pear, and the tepezcohuite.
2. The pencil cactus fruit, known as Euphorbia tirucalli, can cause severe gastrointestinal, ophthalmic, and dermal damages in humans and dogs.
3. Hylocereus-  This fruit is commonly known as pitahaya or pitahaya on domestic shelves. Pitayas have a slightly sour taste, similar to strawberries, without a specific odor.
4. It is possible to eat dragon fruit raw, prepare it into jams and candied fruits, or use it as an addition to various desserts.

Benefits of Edible Cactus Fruit on Your Dogs

There are eight essential amino acids in cactus fruits and a variety of trace elements, which not only benefit the human body, but also the bodies of pets, such as clearing heat and detoxifying, strengthening stomachs and spleens, soothing throats and moisturizing lungs, nourishing the face, etc. Some more benefits are listed below:

  1. As described in WebMD website, Cactus has an anti-inflammatory effect. In addition to this, it contains aromatic amines and certain sugars that can alleviate some inflammation and pain in dogs.
  2. Cactus can also detoxify. As MARIE CLAIRE website stated that Cactus detox drink is the latest way to cleanse the system. A cactus fruit can be smashed and sweet rice wine fed to your dogs if they are accidentally bitten by a snake.
  3.  As a remedy for ulcers, cactus has a repairing effect. Dogs can relieve gastric and duodenal ulcers.
  • Opuntia ficus indica L. inermis (OFI) is used in traditional medicine pharmacopeia for its richness in natural bioactive compounds. It has been proven to be effective in the improvement of the healing of laser-induced skin burns…Hindawi
  1.  Cactus is rich in antioxidants to help counter the effects of free radical damage, slow down cell aging and fight health conditions. Cactus contains high levels of anti-oxidant polysaccharides and vitamin E, which can help delay cellular aging.
  •  From ResearchGate,  Opuntia cactus plant, a xerotrophyte, contains an appreciable amount of polysaccharides thus can be utilized in edible coating formation.
  1. Due to the active substances contained in cactus, it has a strong inhibitory effect on bacteria. 
  2.  Oil from green cactus pear seeds obtained with ethanol and ethyl acetate exhibited higher antioxidant activity.
  3. In many ways, cactus fruits are similar to watermelons and cucumbers: they are rich in water and vitamins with few calories. Because of this, they are beneficial for people and dogs with metabolic disorders and kidney diseases.
  4. Blood sugar levels are lowered and sputum discharge is facilitated by prickly pear and Hylocereus fruits. Fiber and pectin present in prickly pear cactus are capable of lowering blood sugar levels by decreasing the absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestines.
  5. The cactus fruits contain lots of alkaloids, so they can be used as a medicine for dogs with colds, viral and bacterial diseases.
  6. Cactus fruits are rich in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants which has made them a healthy, popular choice for almost all people. These fruits are also good sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Beta-carotene, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, and Phosphorus.
  •  As described ResearchGate, Several food products have cacti as the main ingredient. Cacti biochemical analysis substantiates the high nutritive value of this plant family.
  1. They are not just good for minor injuries – they can also be used to heal serious inflammations. Applying prickly pear juice on pressure points & rubbing them with the help of a device can help you control the swelling or stop it completely.
  2. Cactus has a lot of medicinal effects and can help reduce fever, improve blood flow, and increase muscle growth. You can also use it to relax your body and your pets or as a natural remedy in the household.

    According to the effect on the human body, the fruit of cactus can also promote the expansion and regeneration of normal fibroblasts in the human body, help the injured person to heal the wound, and remove the bacteria that make the wound inflamed.

A guide from Dog Veterinarian: Dr Linda

Are Prickly Pears Dangerous for Dogs to Eat? 

Are prickly pears dangerous for dogs to eat? I had prickly pear sorbet and I dropped a little bit on the couch. I wiped it up and did a quick google search. I’ve seen conflicting information- some sites say it’s very toxic and other sites say the fruit is ok for dogs to eat. If it is toxic and some were eaten, what symptoms would I expect?

Hello, this is Dr. Linda. I hope I can help with your question today in this forum.

According to the ASPCA Poison Control Website, Prickly Pear Cactus is considered non-toxic to dogs. In addition, I would suspect that the actual amount of sorbet ingested did not contain 100% Prickly Pear Cactus. So, I would not be concerned. If your guys had gotten into the entire container, then I might be concerned, but not this small amount.

I hope this makes sense. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Thank you.

Related Questions

What Happens If a Dog Eats a Cactus Fruits?

Dogs could suffer severe stomach upset if they consume a cactus. Cactus is commonly associated with the following side effects in dogs and cats:

  • Mouth irritation and damage to the oral mucosa.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Mild photosensitivity.

Can Cactus Fruit Be Eaten Directly by Dogs?

The cactus fruit can be eaten directly by dogs as long as it is peeled and the pit is removed. The fruit also must be tipped so that the seed can be removed. If frozen fruit is eaten, the pulp will be more tender and delicious for your dogs. 

Is Cactus Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Good for Dogs?

Our 4-legged friends, especially those who are mature or in need of nutrients and more digestible food, benefit from the oil contained in prickly pear seeds. This oil contains an abundance of fatty acids that are very important for our health (especially the cardiovascular system).

NC state express that Ripe fruit is edible raw or in jelly. Pads can be eaten raw or cooked and have a mucilaginous texture. Remove spines and glochids from pads and fruit before eating.

Plains prickly-pear is an important seasonal food of the black-tailed prairie dog, composing up to 58% of its winter diet. Pronghorn rely on plains prickly-pear, notably after the fire. Fires burn the spines off the plants, providing a source of preferred forage.

Is Prickly Pear Harmful to Dogs?

The substance is non-toxic, but it is still hazardous. Prickly pears contain tiny glochids that can cause serious problems. There is an alkaloid in cactus pears called “nepetalactone,” which can cause excessive drooling, sedation, coma, and death in dogs.

 The Pear can also be used for human consumption and livestock feed…  NEVADA Today

Can Dogs Eat Tunas Fruit?

As described on the Purdue University website Peel separates from the flesh readily and is removed before the edible pulp is consumed.

Use: Fresh eating mainly.

Part of fruit consumed: Inner pulp only.

Can Your Dog Eat Moon Cactus Fruit?

They grow singly near the ends of the stems and are several inches in length, attracting numerous moths. Round red fruits up to 2” across have scattered bumps with hairs and spines and are sweet and edible.

Are Easter Cacti Poisonous to Dogs?

Christmas Cactus (and Easter Cactus) does not contain any toxic parts or flowers for dogs. Fibrous plant material may cause vomiting and diarrhea if it is consumed in large quantities.

Can Dogs Eat Christmas Cactus Fruit?

It is important to avoid overfeeding your plants when housing them with pets. Although Christmas cactuses and pets are able to coexist in harmony, preventative measures should be taken.

According to the University of New Hampshire, Christmas Cactus is not poisonous to dogs and cats.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Cactus?

Cactus can be eaten by dogs when cooked. However, the spines that cover the plant can pierce a dog’s stomach. Dogs can suffer several serious injuries. So, before serving cactus to your dogs be aware of your duty.

Can a Dog Eat Nopales?

Cactus Nopales is eaten fresh, cooked, or dried. Dogs can eat nopales. Low in calories and low in fat, they make an excellent treat or snack for dogs. Make sure to serve in moderation, however.

What to Do If a Dog Eats Cactus?

If your dog already ate your cactus, you need to figure out if it’s poisonous. That’s why it’s important to know the name of any plant you grow indoors.

If your dog has eaten cactus, get in touch with your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 1-888-426-4435. Compounds in cactus can cause injury or death if ingested in large amounts, and your dog should be monitored by a veterinarian following consumption to detect potential problems.

If there is no emergency vet clinic around, you will have to remove the spines from your dog yourself while on a hike.


As a dog owner, I know how important it is to know what types of cactus fruits are edible for your dogs and what is not. However, the important thing is that you should not let your dogs eat raw cactus fruit with glochids. First, prepare it, then serve it to your puppies.

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

Recent Posts