Can Dogs Eat Nopales? -Difference Between Nopales & Nopalitos?

Are you worried about your furry companion overeating nopales–especially the pads and vegetables of the prickly pear cacti? Or maybe, you have been seeing your dog ill and fear poisoning from recent exposure to nopales. Whatever the reason, read on to find out more on nopales and if your dog should consume them or not.

Table of Contents

Can Dogs Eat Nopales?

The question of whether your dog can devour nopales is absolute no. Nopales contain oxalate or oxalic acid compounds that can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and even diarrhea when taken in high amounts. With that said, your dog can have cooked nopales since oxalate gets removed. Nopales are best avoided, but if you wish otherwise, ensure to eliminate all of the oxalates.

Are Nopales Good for Dogs?

Nopales are usually famous for their peppery taste and are commonly in all stir-fried foods in some parts of the U.S. They are also an incredible source of vitamins like A, C, B6, and even vitamin K and have minerals like potassium and calcium in their nutritional value. However, when it comes to dogs, you might want to avoid these cactus products because of the rich oxalate proportion.  

Oxalates, when cooked, get dissolved due to being water-soluble, but even a tiny amount of it can cause various health issues in your dogs. So, the easy answer is no. Nopales are not safe for your dog despite having significant portions of vitamins and minerals.

Side Effects of Nopales for Dogs

Make sure you don’t feed Nopales to your dogs as oxalates in them can lead to various health issues, including: 

  • Nausea
  • Weakness 
  • Stomach ache
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Nopales can cause damage to the inner linings of your dog’s digestive system, sometimes even proving fatal.  

What Exactly are Nopales, and Why Should Your Dog Avoid Them?

Nopales are vegetables formed on cacti pads, usually found in Mexico and Central America. These add a great taste of green peppers to mostly fried food items. These, however, have oxalates that are considered to be life-threatening to dogs. 

Nopales can be cooked and served for your pets, though. But many would argue that if you can’t ensure the complete removal of the toxins while cooking, the threat remains the same. Hence, nopales aren’t exactly recommended for dogs. 

You could also shift to alternatives such as apples, bananas, and pumpkin; these make up a tasty meal for your canines and are a far better option than nopales.  

Risks of Nopales for Your Dog

Nopales are hands down hazardous for dogs and can cause severe illnesses such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. They are also known to have caused kidney failure in many cases. Since nopales contain oxalates, consuming them raw is strictly discouraged. 

Oxalates can restrict the body from functioning in healthy order. Hence, rash and rapid puking, and other such symptoms become common. Your dog might also damage its insides from the oxalate crystals, which is pretty straightforward if you find blood in their stool. Be sure to check on a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your dog can have their oesophagus and linings of other tracks damaged from the oxalate crystals. You should consider not exposing your dog to nopales to avoid the ones mentioned above. Know that nopales have potentially killed dogs in such instances. 

Additionally, if your dog is allergic to veggies and fruits like tomatoes, apples, peaches, or even cucumber or cherries, refrain from serving even the cooked nopales. Similarly, pregnant dogs should be kept out of reach from these as well. 

What Can You Do if Your Dog Consumes Nopales?

Raw or improperly cooked nopales can cause severe issues in your dog’s body and organs. They might show symptoms of vomiting out often or being lethargic, and a sudden sign of weakness can be concerning just as much as other aspects. 

If they have blood present in their stool is a telltale sign of damaged internals. The oxalate crystals can hurt the lining of their digestive organs and even obstruct the track, sometimes leading to kidney stones. Seizures and coma are included in the nopales-poisoning cases, some leading to death. 

Therefore, keeping an eye on your pet and what they consume can be life-saving. Moreover, upon observing some usual early signs such as vomiting, more than usual thirst, or worse, diarrhea, it is a wake-up call to visit your vet clinic quick enough. 

Furthermore, keep them away from nopales in general. And try taking your furry friend on a weekly checkup to your vet. This way, you shall be early enough to know the illness and treat it right and first. Worry not if your dog gets poisoning. Instead, keep calm and get them medical help.


Nopales are cacti produced and have proven beneficial to health, but at the same time, they are fatal for your dogs.

  • Nopales, raw, are a strict no-no.
  • If planning to serve, ensure all the oxalate is drained out in cooking.
  • Oxalates are the leading cause of nopales being labeled inedible for dogs. 
  • When consumed, your dog can show vomiting symptoms and diarrhea.
  • Visit your vet ASAP in case of ingestion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat cactus?

Yes, dogs can eat cactus, however, nopales can be poisonous for your dogs. Nopales contain oxalates that can be fatal for your dog. 

Is cactus good for dogs to eat?

Cacti plants aren’t poisonous to your furry friends, but the chemical composition of cactus sap can cause gastrointestinal issues to your dogs and your canine may show symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, excessive salivation, stomach pain, and nausea. 

How much Nopales can my dog eat?

If you’re feeding Nopales to your dog, make sure not to feed them much more than 10% of their diet. As for the nopales serving frequency, once a week is more than enough.

Should I take my take dog to the vet if it eats Napoles accidentally?

Your dog will not show any symptom if it eats Napoles in moderation. However, if you see blood in your dog’s stool or your dog show any of these symptoms vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea, consult with your vet immediately. 

Photo of author


Hi, my name is Dave. I am the founder of You will find all the vital information about dog food here. Our team has a straightforward aim, to help you make the right decisions about dog food for your furry friend. We will keep posting more fact-based dog nutrition & food-related content. Please give your support & love.