3 min read


Can Dogs Taste Peppery Food?



3 min read


Can Dogs Taste Peppery Food?


It's only natural that you'd want to share your delicious people food with your partner in crime, but did you know that a ton of people food is, unfortunately, not entirely-puppy approved?

It's true! Sometimes, the food our bodies process simply won't work for your doggo's system, so it's important that you understand what's okay and what's not when it comes to feeding your pooch a special treat. 

So, how about when it comes to peppery foods? Unfortunately, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid gifting your pooch any kind of food that has peppers or peppery flavors. Why? Well, like we were explaining before, some foods don't agree with your dog's system, and pepper is one of those foods.
Want more information on why pepper might not be a fitting food for your dog? We thought so! Read on to get the scoop.


Signs Your Dog Has Had Too Much Pepper

When you really boil down why dogs can't eat peppers or peppery food, the culprit is ultimately capsaicin. Capsaicin, which is found in things like chili powder, paprika and just about every kind of pepper known to man (chili, bell, and more), is an irritant for your pup's digestive system that can cause a lot of issues - but also, your dog most likely won't enjoy the taste! In fact, most repellent sprays or non-chew sprays will taste spicy or bitter because dogs find those flavors gross.

Capsaicin can be incredibly dangerous for your dog, and if he or she gets their paws on too much, it can cause a lot of problems. If you suspect your dog has gotten into the peppery foods, look for signs of dehydration, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, mouth irritation, stomach ulcers, and peppers can even make it difficult for your doggo to breathe.

Body Language

Here are a few body language signs to look out for if you fear your dog might have had too much peppery food

  • Alert
  • Lip Licking
  • Tongue Flicking
  • Sweaty Paws
  • Back Hair On Edge
  • Nose Licking
  • Tongue Hanging
  • Nose Wrinkled

Other Signs

Here are a few other signs to be on the look out for if you suspect your dog might have had too much pepper or capsaicin:

  • Vomiting Or Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Difficulty Eating Or Drinking
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Intense Dehydration

The History of Capsaicin


Capsaicin is a naturally-occurring chemical that can be found in a lot of different types of peppers (which we'll discuss below), but it's also a compound that's been harnessed for a particular purpose. Capsaicin has been used as an animal repellent and was also originally used against insects, mites, rodents, and other pests. 

Capsaicin was first registered for use in the United States in 1962, and because it's a naturally occuring substance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers it to be a biochemical pesticide. Today, we use capsaicin in pepper sprays, pest control, research for pharmaceutical use, and in equestrian sports.

The Science Behind Peppery Foods and Dogs


When it comes down to it, peppery foods are bad for your dog because of one main issue - capsaicin. Capsaicin is a chemical that's found in peppers that makes the food hot - you could say that capsaicin puts the chili in a chili pepper. Capsaicin can be found in lots of peppers and spices and acts as an irritant for both humans and pets. 

Capsaicin produces a sensation of burning in tissues that it comes into contact with - so, if your dog, who can't control how much of it he or she eats like people can, eats an inordinate amount of capsaicin from peppery foods, you can bet that their digestive systems are going to feel the unfortunate results. 

You can expect vomiting, poor digestion, stomach ulcers, and even difficulty eating and drinking for your pup if they get into too much capsaicin.

Training Your Dog to Stay Away from Peppery Foods


This kind of training is going to be two-fold because it will involve a lot of self-control and personal training on your part, as well as making sure your dog is trained, too. 

First and foremost, make sure your dog is completely on board and responsive to basic obedience commands. That means that your dog will listen and respond to "no," "drop it," and "leave it." This way, if your dog has a mouth full of peppers and he or she is waiting to chomp down, a simple "no" from you should do the trick. 

Another aspect of this is going to come from ensuring your dog knows not to beg. Guests and family members are likely to oblige and give your pup a peppery treat if he or she begs, especially if they're unaware of the harm it could do. To make sure this doesn't happen, train your dog to avoid begging at all costs. 

It's also important you make sure your dog is trained to both stay out of the area where your food is stored and prepared, and is also to be comfortable being in their crate when you're not home. This will help you avoid and accidental peppery-food-eating issues and potentially save your dog a ton of gastrointestinal discomfort.

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Safety Tips for Having Peppery Food Around Dogs:

  1. Train your dog to stay out of the area you keep your spices or peppers.
  2. Have a plan in place that you've worked out with your vet in case your dog gets into the peppers.
  3. Store your peppers and peppery foods somewhere your dog cannot reach them.
  4. Ensure your dog is both crate trained and obedience trained in order to avoid pepper incidents.

By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus

Published: 05/02/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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