Is Pencil Cactus Poisonous To Dogs

Amy Kat of Paradise Hills was shocked to find her maltipoo, Koopa, sick and her one-year-old great Dane-mix, Remi, hurt when she got home.

As Kat said, “I saw Remi had sap on his fur, and as I brushed it off, his skin rolled off with it.” “My infant, Koopa, was lying on the ground, surrounded by four mounds of puke. He was not responding.

Kat claimed that she was so terrified that she took both of her dogs to a Chula Vista emergency pet clinic. The veterinarian informed her that one of her garden pencil cactus succulents was to blame for the dogs’ illness.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that the pencil cactus, also known as Euphorbia tirucalli, is poisonous to humans, dogs, and cats in all countries and can result in significant intestinal and skin damage (ASPCA).

The plants are referred to as “sticks of fire” by certain people. They might be the size of a tree or small enough to fit inside a container.

“Both humans and pets are toxic to the white, milky sap of this plant. When sap comes into touch with the skin, a painful rash appears there. According to Laura Eubanks, a succulent expert in San Diego, if the sap gets in the eyes, it can briefly render a person blind.

According to Kat, Remi was chemically burned on 30% of his body by the pencil cactus. Koopa, her second dog, was throwing up because he had consumed some of the herb.

What kind of cactus is toxic to dogs?

Numerous branches belonging to the Euphorbiaceae plant family have a toxic reaction when cut and the sap leaks out, or in the case of pets, when the plant is bit into. The majority of the available information focuses on human poisoning caused by pencil cactus, however there is still a risk if you keep this plant in your garden where it could be accessed by an inquisitive animal.

When bitten, the pencil cactus will immediately hurt, which acts as a deterrent to massive ingestions of the plant. However, if exposed to the plant’s toxic sap, the cutaneous and, in particular, ocular damage that has been documented in humans can easily be attributed to the animal species. In an effort to keep animals away from their yards, many gardeners grow pencil cacti; while some creatures may be aware of the dangers of contact, others may suffer the repercussions.

The euphorbia tirucalli resembles a cactus but lacks the spiky needles that make a cactus a real cactus. Any portion of the plant can emit milky sap, which can cause symptoms like stomach pain after eating it or eye burning if it is an ocular exposure.

The plant species Euphorbiaceae includes the pencil cactus. This family has more than 1600 species across the globe. The pencil cactus, Euphorbia tirucalli, is poisonous to both people and dogs everywhere because it contains a milky material that can seriously harm the gastrointestinal system, the eyes, and the skin.

How dangerous are pencil cacti?

The pencil cactus or milk bush plant, Euphorbia tirucalli, is widely used as an attractive plant in the southern United States and has a sap that is poisonous to people. The sap is also one of the most irritating plant chemicals known to man, and it can hurt skin or mucous membranes, especially if it gets in your eyes. Thus, early detection and treatment assist to prevent serious side effects like blindness. This activity discusses the diagnosis and treatment of Euphorbia sap exposure and emphasizes the part played by the healthcare team in enhancing patient care.


Describe the typical history and physical findings after exposure to the sap of Euphorbia tirucalli.

Explain how common Euphorbia tirucalli sap exposures are evaluated and treated.

Identify the serious consequences of exposure to the sap of Euphorbia tirucalli and explain their treatment.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, one of the most well-liked succulents, is regularly utilized for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. The plant’s extracts can be found in dietary supplements, cosmetics, and flavored waters, and its sap is traditionally used to heal sunburns.

However, pets may be poisoned by this succulent. Aloe has a reputation for causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in animals, as well as making them lethargic.

Long, pointed tendrils are a distinguishing feature of aloe plants. Some types have foliage with white spots, while others bloom sporadically. Pets should not be allowed near any types.


Kalanchoes are prized for their profusion of flowers, which come in a variety of hues from soft pink to flamboyant orange. This tropical succulent is well-liked as a houseplant and goes by several names, including mother of millions, devil’s backbone, and mother-in-law plant.

This plant primarily causes vomiting and diarrhea by irritating the digestive system. Heart arrhythmias, however, can also happen.


Euphorbia is a vast and diverse genus of plants that encompasses anything from tiny, low-growing plants to gigantic giants.

Many succulents of the genus Euphorbia are harmful to both cats and dogs, including the pencil cactus and crown of thorns.

Ingestion of this succulent can cause a variety of poisoning symptoms, including gastrointestinal distress and eye and skin irritation.

It is advised to stay away from all euphorbia species, including the deadly poinsettia, if you have pets.


Similar to aloe vera, jade is a widespread, simple-to-grow houseplant that is common on windowsills. Jade plants resemble trees because to their thick, woody stalks and hefty, oval leaves.

There are various types of jade, and each one should be kept out of reach of animals. Your cat or dog may exhibit signs such as gastrointestinal distress and uncoordination if they consume jade.

A pencil cactus is it safe to touch?

The acidic milky white sap or latex that the pencil cactus plant generates is extremely harmful to both people and animals. Never consume the sap or touch it with bare skin because it is released after the plant’s stem is cut.

Humans who consume the sap may get severe skin, mouth, and eye discomfort. In severe cases, eyesight and digestive issues have been recorded.

This plant must be kept away from young children who might try to nibble on it and never planted in areas where kids will play.

This plant should be kept out of reach of animals because when they consume the sap, it causes vomiting and oral discomfort in the animals who have consumed it.

To avoid getting poisoned by the sap when working with this plant, always make sure you are using the appropriate safety gear, such as rubber gloves and goggles.

What Are The Symptoms Of Pencil Cactus Poisoning?

Both humans and animals can experience a terrible rash, stinging, blistering, and redness as soon as the sap meets their skin. Any sap that enters the eyes will cause them to swell and become excruciatingly painful.

If the sap is consumed, it can cause vomiting or diarrhea or, if ingested in excessive doses, can be lethal.

If an animal or person is allergic to the toxin, they may experience anaphylactic shock. Take the patient right away to the closest medical facility if poisoning is suspected.

Is a firestick the same as a pencil cactus?

The firestick plant, also known as the pencil cactus or Euphorbia tirucalli, belongs to the succulent plant family. In addition to these names, the firestick succulent is also known as a pencil cactus, a stick cactus, a fire plant, and “sticks on fire.” The firestick plant’s name origin is depicted in pictures. The succulent has bunches of stems that resemble pencils and an orangey-red tint that appears to be on fire.

The Euphorbiaceae family includes the shrubby succulent known as the firestick plant. The cultivar “Fire sticks,” sometimes known as “Rosea,” of the typically very tall pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli). With its magnificent stem color, it is a very ornamental plant to adorn any garden or manicured area.

The pencil cactus, often known as the firestick plant (Euphorbia tirucalli), has green stems (left). The stems of the “Rosea” cultivar, sometimes known as “fire stick” or “sticks on fire,” are reddish orange, especially in the winter when the hue is most vivid (right)

The fleshy stems of the firestick plant resemble small red, orange, yellow, or green twigs as they grow in clusters. The bushes of firestick plants mimic sea coral due to their amazing growth and primarily red colors. The little branches of the shrubby succulent are 0.27 (7 mm) thick.

The pencil plant, sometimes known as the firestick plant, is not a form of cactus, despite its common names of “pencil cactus” or “firestick cactus.” The firestick plant develops tiny, oval leaves, unlike cactus. Firestick plants are not cacti and do not belong to the same botanical family. Cacti are in the botanical family Cactaceae, but firesticks are a member of the succulent plant family.

You should always handle the firestick plant carefully since it possesses a deadly milky sap.

The firestick cactus is a succulent that requires little maintenance. Bright sunlight, warm temperatures, and low humidity are ideal for the firestick plant. Make sure the plant develops in a soil that drains effectively. Only water the plant occasionally when the soil dries out.

The article offers a thorough care manual for developing succulent firestick plants. It’s crucial to understand the cactus-like plant’s toxicity before examining how to water, reproduce, and cultivate it.

Can dogs be near cactus plants?

While some cactus species can be safely consumed by dogs in moderation, others can be harmful to their health. Giving cactus to your dog can result in:

  • The most frequent way a cactus can hurt a dog is by the ingestion of spines, which can pierce your dog’s skin deeply. Use tweezers to remove them from your dog’s mouth, and then keep an eye out for any symptoms of fever or continued discomfort.
  • 2. Poisoning: While the majority of cacti and succulents are safe to eat, some of them, such pencil and barrel cacti, are poisonous. Breathing issues and hallucinations are a some of the seldom fatal side effects of ingesting these plants.
  • 3. Stomach upset: Even non-poisonous cacti can cause your dog’s stomach distress or skin problems. If consumed in excessive quantities, cactus flesh is a fibrous plant substance that can cause digestive pain, just as exposure to any fertilizers used to develop the plants. The sap of the cactus is especially harmful to the general health of allergic dogs since it can result in skin blisters or rashes as well as temporary or permanent blindness if it gets into their eyes.

Can I grow pencil cacti at home?

The succulent Euphorbia family includes the pencil cactus plant. Due to the milky sap that the plant produces when damaged, it also goes by the popular name Milkbush. When taking care of a pencil cactus, exercise caution because the toxic sap might be problematic for some people. The pencil cactus requires a lot of light and only a little moisture. It makes a great houseplant and has a unique silhouette. Let’s examine how to cultivate pencil cacti at home.

Which plants are harmful to dogs?

The following plants should never be made available to dogs under any circumstances since they are the most harmful to them: Castor oil or castor bean (Ricinus communis) Cyclamen (Cylamen spp.) Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia)

What size can a pencil cactus grow to?

When in doubt, let it drought, experts advise! The best course of action is to wait and reevaluate in a few days if the soil seems just a little bit moist and you are unclear whether or not to water.

Due to its thick, white sap, the pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli), which is native to semi-arid tropical parts of Africa and India, is also known as the milk bush. The Pencil Cactus can reach heights of up to 30 feet in the wild and well over 6 feet indoors. Because it is not a real cactus, this stem succulent photosynthesizes in its stems rather than through the tiny leaves that emerge at the end of its new growth (which have no bearing on the health of the plant).

Keep your Pencil Cactus in a bright area for best growth because these plants evolved in dry settings with lots of sunlight. Low light levels will not be tolerated by this plant. For this plant to thrive, either direct sun or a lot of bright ambient light from a western, eastern, or southern facing window is preferable.

We offer a guide for how to measure light in your space if you’re unclear whether the light in your house or place of business is bright enough to support a Pencil Cactus.

Although many cultures have employed the thick, white sap that the pencil cactus emits when cut or snapped in traditional medicine to treat cancer, excrescence, tumors, and warts.

My dog is eating cactus, why?

You need to understand why your dog enjoys eating cacti before learning whether or not a cactus plant is poisonous to them.

First of all, all dogs have a natural curiosity and love to try everything that they come across. This is the main reason why it’s possible that you’ll catch your pet filling his or her mouth with some of your strangest objects around the house.

Dogs actually enjoy exploring with their tongues, according to scientists, so if your small companion is constantly looking for something to chew on, it simply proves that he or she is a voracious explorer, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Dogs are omnivores, and they frequently relish eating plants. They enjoy eating plants because they provide roughage, which is a great source of vitamins and also aids in improved bowel movements and smoother passage of digested food through the intestines in dogs.

Furthermore, dogs are innate scavengers, so it shouldn’t surprise you in the slightest when you see your little friend battling for that piece of pizza from the trash even after you’ve just given him some high-quality food. There is nothing the dog can do to stop nature from taking its course.

The “feast or famine situation” is another reason why nature and your dog’s instincts take over. This situation has a very clear and easy to understand explanation.

Dogs’ instincts to survive in the wild, where they once went without food for days, weeks, or even months, are still present in them now. This means that out of fear of starving, your dog will eat everything that comes his/her way, including your indoor cactus plant.

In addition, boredom may play a significant role in your dog’s decision to eat your cactus.

Your dog may chew on whatever they come upon, including the cactus plant, for medicinal reasons as well.

The main causes are parasites, therefore don’t hesitate to take your pet to the veterinarian if you think he or she may have health problems.