can dogs eat spicy food - dog smelling chili pepper in a pot

Some humans enjoy the sensation when eating spicy stuff, but some can’t even stand the heat. 

If you’re a fan of spicy food, you have probably wondered at some point whether you can share it with your pup.

Can dogs eat spicy food?

Good thing you’re here to find out.

I'll give you a straight answer. No, dogs can’t eat spicy food.

But why?

In this article, we will go in-depth and answer your question if our dogs can eat spicy food or if they can even taste spicy stuff.

We will also give you some tips on how to treat your dog if they accidentally ingested hot and peppery foods.

The answer's here. Coming in hot!

can dogs eat spicy food - dog smelling chili peppers that are sun drying

Related Article: What Human Food Can Dogs Eat?

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food? Hot is Not for Dogs

Usually, dogs can tolerate a small amount of spice in their food, but that does not mean you should give them spicy foods.

Spice is a completely different experience for dogs. It is a more intense, unpleasant burning sensation for them.

Imagine you’re eating spicy food and can slowly feel your throat burning, sweat uncontrollably, and feel extremely uncomfortable.

How much more when it comes to our furry friends?

Aside from this discomfort, spicy foods can harm dogs as they cause digestive issues.

So no, you shouldn't feed your dog with any spicy food, regardless of their hotness level.

Can Dogs Taste Spicy Food: The Human Vs. Dog Taste Buds

For us humans, spice elevates the flavor of a dish. But what if you can’t taste the flavors and only suffer from the spice?

Before sharing your spicy food with your dog, consider whether they can actually taste it. 

Can dogs taste spiciness?

No. Dogs can't taste spicy foods. Humans and dogs experience spice differently.

It’s common knowledge that dogs have a better sense of smell than humans.

This also explains why dogs sniff their food before eating, as they are attracted to foods with a stronger smell.

They rely on smelling things to know what they can eat or not. For them, smell is more delicious than taste.

But did you know that humans are better than dogs when tasting food?

Dogs only have around 1,700 taste buds, while humans have 9,000. That’s a lot of difference!

That is why humans can better savor and taste a variety of flavors. Dogs, on the other hand, are not as sensitive to taste

Their taste receptors are less developed. This makes them experience the flavor of spicy foods in a completely different way than humans do. 

However, while dogs cannot taste spicy foods, they can still feel the same side effects.

They are not safe from the burning sensation in their mouths and throats.

Dogs can feel the heat from spiciness much more intensely than humans do.

Spice without the flavors added is just a sensation without taste.

It's the reaction that our bodies have towards capsaicinthe compound that gives us the heat and burning sensation.

So, personally, the discomfort that spicy foods will give my pup is just not worth trying.

can dogs eat spicy food - a variety of chili peppers spread out on a wooden board

The Culprit: Capsaicin

Now, let’s talk about the common ground.

While dogs can't taste spicy foods, they feel the same sensations after consuming them.

Capsaicin is a compound that is found in chili peppers. It is the reason for the burning sensation when eating spicy food.

In more technical terms, capsaicin is a chemical irritant and neurotoxin that produces pain, heat, and discomfort in any tissue it comes into contact with.

But what exactly does capsaicin do to dogs?

The unpleasant feeling capsaicin causes your pup can lead to different symptoms.

When dogs feel the spice kicking in, they may cough, sneeze, or drool excessively.

The burning sensation also makes your dog put their paw in their face and pant heavily.

It will make their eyes watery, and they may gag sneeze, or dry heave.

As said, your dogs feel the spiciness more intensely than you do, so whenever you think that food is not spicy enough, it is for your dogs.

Too Hot To Handle: What Happens If a Dog Eats Spicy Food?

Spicy foods are just too hot to handle—well, for dogs.

Generally speaking, it is better to keep your dog away from spicy foods and let them munch on some dog-appropriate snacks.

However, just like in people, some dogs tolerate spicy foods better than others. Bigger dog breeds can handle spice much better than smaller ones.

Nevertheless, please don't feed your dog spicy food. 

Dogs have a more sensitive and delicate digestive system compared to humans. That is why we, as fur parents, should make it a habit to research before feeding them anything.

Spicy foods can cause stomach pain and other digestive issues in dogs. They can experience an upset stomach accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, and gas

Consuming a large amount of spice will make your dog feel extremely thirsty. They’ll drink too much water, resulting in bloating and vomiting. 

These symptoms are not a pleasant experience, both for humans and dogs.

Severe Health Risks If Your Dog Eats Spicy Foods

Aside from the symptoms of discomfort stated above, spicy foods can also have adverse health risks for all dog breeds. Especially when consumed in large amounts.

Spicy foods can cause stomach ulcers and other stomach issues like anemia or inflamed pancreas, also called canine pancreatitis.

Sometimes, consuming a lot of capsaicin in extreme cases leads to more severe symptoms like respiratory distress.

Other Toxic Ingredients in Spicy Foods

Besides, we’re not only about chili peppers when talking about spicy food. 

There are a lot of spicy dishes out there that contain other ingredients toxic to dogs, like onion and garlic. These two are staples to most spicy dishes.

When not treated immediately, garlic and onion can be deadly for dogs. 

The smallest amount of onion can destroy a dog’s red blood cells and cause fatal anemia.

So, it’s best to avoid spicy foods that include powdered or any form of garlic or onions.

My Dog Ate Spicy Food. What should I do?

If your dog accidentally consumed spicy food and you are worried about what happens after, here are some things to expect and five simple tips on how to deal with it:

1. Expect That Your Dog’s Stomach Will Be Upset Immediately. 

They could experience the symptoms of an upset stomach, such as vomiting immediately after consuming spicy foods or within 1-2 hours.

Expect that coughing, sneezing, drooling, panting, gagging, and dry heaving will happen almost immediately.

2. Provide Them With Foods Or Drinks That Can Neutralize The Burning Sensation. 

You can give them water, a small amount of milk, or a cold spoonful of yogurt.

Your dogs might also put their paws to their face as a reaction.

So, prepare a bowl of cold water to rinse their paws to avoid spreading the burning sensation to their face.

3. Check For Other Ingredients That Are Toxic For Them. 

If your dog ate a spicy dish like chili, check for other toxic ingredients like onion, garlic, chives, leaks, etc.

Please contact your vet as soon as possible; they will treat your dog accordingly.

If you want to read more about foods toxic to dogs, you can read it here!

4. The Blander The Food, The Better.

After a spicy food encounter, you must settle your dog’s stomach by sticking to a bland diet for several days. 

You can try boiled and unseasoned chicken breast, boiled egg, cooked white rice, steamed sweet potato, or mashed potato.

5. If You’re Still Worried, Immediately Bring Your Dog To The Vet.

If the upset stomach symptoms get more severe, do not hesitate to contact your vet.

Your doctor will assess properly and prescribe medicines to reduce your dog’s stomach acid to ease the upset stomach.

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Foods? Some FAQs

Can Dogs Eat Hot Peppers?

Of course not. Dogs should not eat chili or hot peppers.

While chili peppers are not particularly toxic to dogs, they cannot eat anything spicy without suffering from the side effects of capsaicin.

The discomfort that hot peppers will bring to your dog is just not worth trying.

Can Dogs Eat Hot Sauce?

To put it simply, no. Dogs should not eat hot sauce. 

Hot sauce contains a lot of concentrated capsaicin, hence the name. Its base is a mix of multiple chili peppers and flavorings.

The huge amount of chili peppers and other potentially harmful ingredients to dogs, like vinegar, garlic, or onion, irritates a dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

The GI tract includes the mouth, throat, stomach, and the intestines. 

Can Dogs Eat Hot Chips?

Now, spicy or hot chips are delicious. But it’s not an appropriate snack for your dogs.

Hot chips contain a lot of ingredients that are bad for your pup.

This includes oil, salt, garlic or onion powder, citric acid, and other artificial flavorings.

Remember that too much sodium and high-fat content foods, like junk food, are bad for your dog’s health.

Can Dogs Eat Chili?

No. Your dogs should eat something other than chili con carne.

Chili can be as spicy as the cook wants it to be. 

However, even if the spice level is not that high, chili still contains many harmful ingredients for your pup.

So, even if you’re tempted to share your special chili recipe with your dog, you must avoid it.

But… if you really want to, check out this Homemade Doggy Chili Recipe (for pups and people)

Spicing Up Your Dog's Diet: Some Alternatives

If you want to spice up your dog’s menu, there are alternative ingredients that are more flavorful and safe for your dogs.

In moderation, veterinary professionals conclude that these herbs pack a lot of nutrients and benefits to your pups. 

You can add oregano, parsley, thyme, sage, peppermint, etc., to your dog's food. Of course, add it in moderation.

Other examples are cinnamon and turmeric.

Cinnamon can help improve brain function, circulation, and digestion, while turmeric fights inflammation and eases the pain of arthritis.

These herbs can flavor your dog’s food without the spiciness, including its harm or side effects.

See? Why make your dogs try spicy foods when there are other flavorful alternatives minus the pain?

Of course, we cannot rule out the possibility of an allergy.

So, to be safe, contact your vet before incorporating any ingredient in your dog’s diet.

Related Article: Herbs Toxic to Dogs

can dogs eat spicy food - dog in a plain background with chili pepper on the head and neck

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food? Before You Go…

The answer to this burning question is a spicy no.

Dogs can't taste the richness of the flavor of spicy foods, but they can feel the burning sensation so much more.

While it is not generally toxic for dogs, it is better to steer clear of spicy foods for your pups.

Dogs' tummies are more sensitive than humans, and spicy foods cause stomach issues and other unpleasant side effects.

It is better to find alternatives that your pups can enjoy; there are many flavors out there!

After all, a dog-friendly diet keeps our pups happy and healthy.

To read more about preparing delicious treats for your pups (without the spice), check out these articles below!

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