Can Dogs Eat Nopales? Are There Any Risks?

Dogs and Nopales

Nopales are a type of vegetable that is made from the pads of prickly pear cacti. Although some pads are purple, most of them will be green and no bigger than your hand. They have a texture that is similar to that of a green bean and their taste is said to be very similar to the taste of green peppers.

Nopales are very popular in the Southwest of the United States but are also a food source in Central America and Mexico. These great veggies can be a part of all kinds of recipes like canned or pickled eggs, stir-fries, and so on. Their taste makes them very flexible in terms of their place in meals. Nopales have an abundance of minerals like calcium, potassium, and so on, and they are also full of Vitamin K, C, B6, And A.

So Can Dogs Actually Eat Nopales?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat nopales. These are poisonous to dogs, especially because of the oxalates that they contain. If your dog eats nopales, this can cause it to suffer from some serious side effects like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach issues,  or worse.

If eaten raw, Nopales can also hurt the inside of your dog’s stomach, esophagus, and mouth, due to its high concentration of calcium oxalate crystals. The ingestion of the vegetable could also lead to a serious obstruction of its digestive system.

The effects of nopales and the severity of the poisoning and side effects your dog will suffer from will vary depending on its size, its overall health, and also on its age. The level of toxicity that the plant features will also influence the level of sickness your dog will experience after it eats it.

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In some severe cases, some dogs might suffer from complete kidney failure after they ingest this plant in a considerable amount.

Although there is a treatment that is pretty successful against dog poisoning with nopales, it will be better to just prevent this from happening by simply keeping the dog away from this plant.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Nopales

Cooked NopalesThe best thing you could do to prevent your dog from eating Nopales is to simply not allow it to move around freely in places where this plant grows. To cut down the exposure, especially if you have a large yard, think about putting your dog on a leash when you’re not around.

Keeping your pet as far away as possible from this plant is the best way of preventing it from getting poisoned from eating it.

Your veterinarian should be contacted as soon as possible if you notice that your dog eats nopales or if you notice any of the side effects. Considering that the fruit of this prickly pear cactus is the most toxic part, you should take your dog for immediate medical help if you see it eating this particular part of the plant.

Lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting are among the most common symptoms of nopales poisoning. If the oxalate crystals end up damaging your pet’s digestive system lining or intestinal tract, you will notice blood in its stool. You should contact your vet ASAP if you see blood in the stool regardless of whether you have seen your dog eat nopales or not.

More severe symptoms can develop if your dog eats nopales and experiences an obstruction of its esophagus or intestines. Symptoms include intense abdominal pain, weakness, coma, and seizures.

Can dogs eat cooked nopales?

Yes, it is OK for dogs to consume cooked nopales. It’s usually better for your dog no to eat nopales at all, but if you have no choice, try to cook the cactus pads properly before giving them to your pet. When cooked, oxalates will completely dissolve in water, which would make them harmless.

There is some debate around whether eating a cooked cactus is completely safe for your pet or not. Again, if you have a choice, avoid feeding this particular plant to your dog completely.

Can dogs die from nopales?

Yes, dogs can suffer fatal damage from nopales. Eating large amounts of the plant can have deadly consequences like kidney failure, but eating the fruit of the prickly pear cactus even in smaller quantities is also very dangerous. When it comes to damaging your pet’s health it won’t make any difference if it were to eat the pads raw, cooked, with or without their spikes.

What to do if my dog ate nopales?

A visit to the vet is necessary as soon as you see your dog eating or know for sure that the pet ate nopales.

The most common symptoms to look for when you suspect that it ate nopales are blood in the stool, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. When eating the fruit raw, your dog can also suffer from obstruction of its digestive tract or even intestinal damage, but these symptoms aren’t easily spotted. In more extreme cases, your dog might end up having seizures or going into a coma.

The chances of your dog’s full recovery rely on your ability to find a vet as soon as possible. A treatment given very soon after ingestion of the plant is very powerful and offers very strong results.

What should I feed my dog instead of nopales?

Your dog can eat a lot of healthy and safe things instead of nopales.

A few ideas of great treats for the pet are bananas, apples, and even pumpkins. Banana peel will not only be a good treat but also help the pet keep its digestive tract regular.

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