Is Cactus Poisonous?

Cactus plants are available in all shapes and sizes, and all varieties are non-poisonous. Most people envision prickly spines when thinking of these plants, but some cactus plants do not have sharp, needle-like growths. The sharp spines can cause injury if touched or if a pet attempts to eat the plant, but the plant itself is not toxic, and eating a cactus is not fatal and will not cause illness. In fact, some cacti like prickly pear are edible and can be used in salads, jams, sauces, candies, and syrups.


Is Cactus Poisonous to Children?

Cactus plants are not poisonous to humans. The entire plant is non-toxic. Desert cacti varieties with sharp spines can pierce the skin and cause injury, but little ones will not become ill if they eat any part of a cactus plant. It is still advisable to keep an eye on curious children if you have a desert cactus. Forest cacti and varieties without spines are entirely safe to have around kids.

Is Cactus Poisonous to Dogs?

Cactus houseplants are not poisonous to dogs, although cultivars with spines can cause injury if your furry friend gets too close. Cactus cultivars without spines are safe in homes with dogs and curious puppies. Consider placing varieties with spines on a high shelf or a spot not easily accessible to a dog.

Is Cactus Poisonous to Cats?

Cats will not become ill if they eat or nibble on a cactus. Cactus houseplants are not poisonous to cats and kittens. Varieties with sharp spines can cause injury, and most cats will likely leave the plant alone when they realize this. Nonetheless, be careful if you have a cat with a history of checking out houseplants.


Is Cactus Poisonous to Other Animals?

Cactus plants are not known to be toxic or dangerous to most animals. These plants are not poisonous and will not cause an animal to become ill. Some cactus varieties have sharp needle-like spines that can pierce skin and cause injury.

Symptoms Of Cactus Poisoning

Cactus foliage is non-toxic and not poisonous to humans and pets. Some cactus plants have protruding spines that are sharp and can pierce the skin, so be careful of injury. Always check with your doctor or veterinarian for guidance if you suspect cactus poisoning. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Broken skin or puncture wounds
  • Skin irritation

Preventing Cactus Poisoning

Cactus poisoning is not a concern, although some cultivars can potentially cause injury due to the needle-like spines. Place the plant on a high shelf or an area inaccessible to curious little ones or pets to reduce the risk of injury.

Pet Poison Helpline

If something were to happen to your furry friend, and you suspect that they are suffering from cactus poisoning, there is a poison control hotline to call for 24/7 vet advice. It is called the Pet Poison Hotline, and their phone number is (855) 764-7661.


"Eating Cactus: Prickly Pear for Food." University of Nevada, Reno Extension.

"Cactaceae (cactus family)." Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 12-05-2023