Is Pepper the Most Dangerous Seasoning for Dogs?

Is Pepper the Most Dangerous Seasoning for Dogs?
January 5, 2019

Knowing what is and what isn’t safe for your dog to ingest can be an absolute minefield. Even minor seasonings such as black pepper can cause gastrointestinal problems for dogs. Whilst some owners love to cook up a gourmet meal for their pets, others think it’s absurd to think about seasoning a dog’s meal. And that’s all very much a matter of opinion, because ultimately, what truly matters is ensuring that your dog isn’t ingesting food which can cause them intestinal discomfort or contributing to long-term health problems.

Contrary to some streams of popular belief, dogs do not need spices to stay healthy, however, some spices do provide nutritional benefits. However, it is always recommended that you consult your vet with any changes to your dog’s diet if they have faced problems with their nutrition or health in the past.

Can Dogs Eat Black Pepper?

The simple answer to the ongoing debate over dogs and pepper is yes, dogs can eat black pepper. However, before you bring out the pepper grinder to prepare their next meal, there are certain limitations to their tolerance of the spice.

It’s not so much a question of is black pepper bad for dogs, it is how much black pepper is bad for dogs. Be warned, there is a very fine line between what is safe and what isn’t safe. So, if you’re preparing a meal for yourself which includes a fair amount of black pepper as an ingredient, it’s a good idea never to let the leftovers reach their food bowl. You may have to deal with the puppy dog face guilt, however, the alternatives can be much, much worse.

Why is Black Pepper Bad for Dogs?

 Eating too much black pepper isn’t only dangerous for dogs, it can dangerous for us too and lead to several health implications such as:

  1. Burning Sensation in the Stomach – given that pepper is a spice, it should come as no surprise that it can cause a burning sensation when moving through digestive systems. Especially in your dog’s sensitive digestive system.
  2. Respiratory Problems – Inhaling large amounts of black pepper can lead to a deprivation of the oxygen supply which is a condition known as “hypoxia”. It is not uncommon for the condition to lead to obstructions in the airways which in some cases can be fatal. Alongside hypoxia, your dog may develop asthma or bronchitis.
  3. Haemorrhoids – As pepper is a spice, an excessive intake can irritate your dog’s lower digestive system, this can lead to severe diarrhoea and ultimately haemorrhoid flare-ups.

  4. Vomiting and diarrhoea - Just as with people, any exposure to spicy foods can lead to an upset stomach, especially if a tolerance isn't already built up. 

Not all spices will be bad for your dog! Good spices include parsley and basil, this is due to their compounds containing carotenes, antioxidants and lycopene which can help dogs who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or arthritis.

Spices to avoid at all costs are spices containing capsaicin, this chemical causes serious irritation in the stomach lining for dogs and all animals. Spices including the chemical include chilli powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, fresh pepper and bell peppers. If you don’t want to deal with severe diarrhoea and vomiting, avoid at all costs. Capsaicin can also lead to irritation of the skin and eyes.