Food tastes better when you share it with your friends and family. So, it can be very tempting to give a few pieces of nopales to your pet dog.
But, can dogs eat nopales?
Unfortunately, eating nopales, cooked or raw, can cause serious health problems for your furry friend.
Still, if you must give them a taste of the cacti pads, or the prickly pear, there is a way to cook it safely, and even then, you can only give them a tiny amount.
In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look to figure out how toxic and harmful these pads are for your dog and what to do if your pet accidentally eats a large portion of nopales.
What Are Nopales?
Nopales are the edible pads of prickly pear cacti (Opuntia ficus-indica). They can be eaten raw or cooked and are a popular ingredient for Mexican dishes.
The pads or fruits of this cacti are its edible parts. Both parts are rich in the dietary mineral manganese and calcium.
The mineral manganese helps the human body function properly.
However, the calcium in it is non-absorbable since it is in the form of oxalate crystals. Still, this crystal is water-soluble, so it’ll dissolve during cooking.
As for taste, these fruits offer a moist texture and a slightly citrusy flavor.
Can Your Dog Eat Nopales?
Yes, your dog can eat well-cooked nopales, but it’s better not to feed them this food entirely.
After all, nopales contain calcium oxalate, which is poisonous to dogs. Moreover, in their crystal form, these oxalates can cause severe damage to the insides of your pup’s mouth.
Also, since the small intestine can’t dissolve these crystals, it can even damage the digestive system of your four-legged friend.
Even if you cook it, there’s a risk that some of the crystals are still intact, and it’ll ruin the meal and the day for your puppy.
So, in essence, eating nopales can,
- Damage the mouth of your dog
- Cause indigestion
- Injure the small intestine
- Poison your dog and make it vomit
- In severe cases where the canine pet has eaten a large portion of nopales, it can lead to death!
Therefore, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your canine buddy if you have this cactus in your yard.
Last but not least, the raw nopales have thorns that’ll tear the skin of your pet if you’re not careful.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Nopales?
Most dog breeds are pretty active and have an inquisitive nature. Thus, they may end up taking a few bites of nopales if you leave it out in the open.
They can even bite the cactus plant directly, though the chances of this happening are low. After all, most dogs are also pretty smart.
Even so, if your furry buddy has eaten a lot of nopales, they’ll become sick with time.
If you see your pet is vomiting often, suffering from diarrhea, or showing a lack of interest in food, they may have eaten some nopales.
So, when you spot these symptoms, don’t wait and contact the vet as soon as possible.
The situation may become worse if you see blood on the dog’s stool. These would indicate that the oxalate crystals have injured your pet’s digestive system.
In such cases, bring your furry friend to the vets immediately.
But, if you can’t reach the vet, contact the nearest animal shelter. They usually have experts who can help you out in emergencies.
If you wish to know more about what your dog can eat and what you should avoid feeding them, check out “ Can Dogs Eat Capers? ”
Can Puppies Eat Nopales?
Unlike the full-grown canine dogs, the puppies have much weaker resistance to food poisoning. So, puppies should not eat nopales.
The uncooked nopales can quickly tear the insides of the little pet’s mouth, and if they end up eating it, the situation may become much worse.
Also, the puppies are usually more curious than their larger counterparts, so you should keep them well enough away from nopal pads and fruits.
Nopales may offer a refreshing, crispy taste for us, but they are lethal for our pet pals. Therefore, it’s better not to feed them any of these cacti fruit or pads. But if you still wish to offer them some nopals, make sure to cook it well. Include water in the cooking process, and don’t add any spices. Afterward, only give a tiny amount to your full-grown dog to make sure they are not allergic to it.