Can Dogs Eat Nopales?

Nopales (also known as prickly pear cacti) are a great-tasting vegetable that is being enjoyed by more and more people every day. They are a type of cactus that has been used culinarily for centuries in Mexico and other parts of Central America.  

If you’re like many dog owners, you probably love to share your food with your furry friend. After all, it’s hard to beat watching your best friend enjoying a delicious dinner. 

But before you start sharing everything on your plate with Fido, it’s important to make sure that the food is safe for him to eat.

So, what about nopales? Can dogs eat nopales? The quick and easy answer is: It is not a good idea for dogs to eat nopales. They might be okay eating a little bit, but because of the risks, it’s best to not chance it.

Aren’t Nopales Healthy?

The studies of the health benefits of nopales haven’t been as in-depth as studies about other fruits, vegetables, and plants. But nopales are generally considered healthy for humans to eat.

Nopales are antiviral, and high in fiber and antioxidants, and they may even reduce cholesterol. 

Nopales are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and calcium. They also contain an amino acid that is important for the growth and repair of tissues.

In addition to all of that, nopales also have a low glycemic index, which means they do not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. This makes them a good choice for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

It seems nopales would be a healthy addition to any diet. Yet, it’s not a good idea for dogs to eat nopales.  

Why Shouldn’t Dogs Eat Nopales?

Dogs should avoid eating nopales because they contain high levels of calcium oxalate crystals, which could damage your pet’s mouth and stomach.  

While some dogs may only experience minor side effects from consuming nopales foods (such as vomiting), others might have more severe reactions including blockages.  

Additionally, some dogs are likely to have medical problems from a very small amount of nopales, while other dogs can get away with a bite here or there.

So, while your dog might be okay with a bite, it is best to avoid feeding nopales to your pet altogether.  

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Nopales?

If your dog is naughty and steals some nopales from your plate, don’t immediately panic. Instead, watch for signs that your dog isn’t doing well.

Specifically, make sure your dog doesn’t vomit, get diarrhea or have any other serious reaction that could signal your dog is having a negative reaction.

If your dog is having a bad reaction you may wish to call your vet for further guidance.  

Can Dogs Eat Canned Or Cooked Nopales?

It isn’t advisable to allow your dog to have any nopales at all. However, there are some claims that cooking nopales lowers the oxalates and therefore makes nopales safer for dogs to consume. At this time there are no studies regarding the safety of cooked nopales for dogs.

If you do decide to treat your pooch to some cooked nopales, make sure your dog can eat whatever the nopales was prepared with. Many spices and other goodies we add to our foods shouldn’t be fed to dogs at all.

The same goes with canned nopales. You’ll need to read the ingredients and look up each one. Many times, nopales are canned in a marinade of some sort.

Of course, each marinade is different, but odds are there is at least one thing in the marinade your dog has no business eating.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Eating Nopales?

Most likely the thorns of wild nopales will stop your dog right away. But if you catch your dog eating nopales you’ve prepared for you and your family, you’ll want to stop him.

If you train your dog with the ‘Leave It’ or the ‘Drop It’ commands you’ll be able to make him stop right away.  

Video Tutorials For Training Dogs To ‘Leave It’ and ‘Drop It”

Video Tutorial To Train Your Dog To ‘Leave It’
Video Tutorial To Train Your Dog To ‘Drop It’

If you need more detailed instructions, Udemy has some good online dog training courses.

Summary: Can Dogs Have Nopales?

Can dogs have nopales? Briefly: They shouldn’t. While many dogs can probably get away with a bite of nopales here and there, it isn’t a risk most dog owners are comfortable with.

While nopales are healthy for humans, they are shouldn’t be consumed by dogs. The main reason for this is the oxalates that are in nopales. Oxalates can spell major medical problems for dogs.  

If your dog does eat nopales, monitor him for signs he is sick. Remember, it may be best to consult with a veterinarian.  

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