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- Jalapeño peppers are technically not toxic to dogs, however, they contain an active component called capsaicin that can cause stomach upsets and other gastrointestinal issues to canines.
- Dogs are a lot more sensitive to the heat of spicy foods and would most likely hurt them.
- If a dog accidentally eats a jalapeño, give them lots of water immediately, wash their face and paws, and feed them comfort food like rice, oatmeal, or mashed pumpkin.
- Take your dog to the vet if you see signs of distress, runny nose and watery eyes, and persistent stomach troubles.
Dogs can eat jalapeños, but they shouldn’t. The peppers aren’t toxic to canines, but they can wreak havoc in a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Also, they don’t really offer any significant benefits. Simply put—I do not recommend that you make your dog eat jalapeños.
Dogs are much more sensitive to spicy foods, and eating jalapeños can really ruin their day with potentially violent vomiting and/or diarrhea, stomach bloating, sore throat and abdominal pain. Let me explain this further below.
How Dogs Experience Spicy Food
Although they have superior senses of smell and hearing, dogs’ tongues aren’t as sophisticated as humans’.
Humans have over 9,000 tastebuds in their tongues. Dogs only have around 1,500. Therefore, they won’t be able to appreciate the culinary appeal of spiciness the way we do.
However, they are a lot more sensitive to the heat of spicy foods like peppers. Much more so than us humans. Something that we perceive as mildly spicy can hurt dogs a lot more. So when a dog eats jalapenos, they will most likely feel it.
Sometimes, however, dogs eat jalapeños and appear to enjoy them. This is not a sign that your dog is somehow special and can eat jalapeños without consequence.
While dogs’ mouths are more sensitive to spicy foods, the rest of their digestive tract is much more vulnerable to the irritation that such foods could cause—especially young dogs so only feed the best dog food for puppies. Your dog might turn out to like the leftover jalapeño-filled burrito you gave it, but their digestive system is going to like it a lot less.
So You’ve Accidentally Let Your Dog Eat Jalapeños. Now What?
Give them lots of water
The first thing I advise pet owners to do is to get plenty of water ready so they can ease any discomfort that might come on.
You can give them a few sips of milk to quench the heat, but remember that a dog’s digestive system does not react well to dairy products. Too much milk might just make things worse.
If you can, you should give them goat’s milk rather than cow milk. Their stomachs can process the former much easier than the latter.
Stay with them and monitor them
If it’s the first time your dog has eaten a jalapeno pepper, or any other spicy foods for that matter, it’s important that you stay with them and see how they react to what they’ve just eaten.
Usually, when dogs eat something they’re not familiar with and their stomach doesn’t agree with it, they get anxious. Staying with them will help ease their anxiety.
They’ll also probably need to vomit or go to the toilet more often, so you being there will let you preempt a mess.
Wash their face and paws
We all know how painful it can be to accidentally wipe spicy oils onto your eyes or other sensitive parts of the body.
This can happen with dogs too, so give their face and paws a wash with cool water and wipe down thoroughly.
Feed them some comfort food
By this, we mean foods that can ease the stomach pain that eating spicy foods can come with. For example, you can give them white rice, oatmeal, or mashed pumpkin mixed in with some chicken strips for meat.
Foods with lots of fiber will help extract the capsaicin from their digestive systems. It’s also important that you feed them these foods right away, so that they will “cushion” the jalapeños, so to speak, preventing them from irritating the lining of the stomach and intestines and make it easier to pass.
But you should only feed them little bits at a time to curb the spikes of stomach pain. Continue this feeding pace for their next few meals to ensure that they won’t throw up due to irritation along the dog’s digestive tract.
Signs That Your Dog Needs to Go to the Vet After Eating Jalapeño Peppers
If these signs persist, you should take your dog to the vet.
Distress and anxiety
If your dog is showing clear signs of distress after consuming jalapeños, and these symptoms don’t subside regardless of your efforts, it would be advisable to take your dog to the vet.
If it’s the first time your dog has eaten spicy food, it may become shaken by the discomfort that would arise as a consequence of that. In this case, your dog may need veterinarian intervention to calm down and no longer feel discomfort.
Watch for things like pawing at their faces, rubbing their faces on carpets and other surfaces, and panting.
Runny nose and watery eyes
Your dog may not show immediate signs that they’re discomforted by eating jalapeños, especially if they’re bigger or less expressive dogs. Regardless, their eyes and nose will still display any pain they might be feeling. Look for eye watering and runny nose, similar to what you’d see in a dog who’s suffering from dog allergies. If these signs persist, they may be dealing with an inflammation.
Persistent stomach troubles
If your dog doesn’t show any outward signs of discomfort at all, you can still tell whether they’ve been affected by the spicy food if they get stomach bloat, flatulence, and diarrhea or constipation.
If your efforts to sooth their pain after they eat spicy foods are ineffective, the gastric irritation might make their digestive systems sensitive for an indefinite period of time. If that’s the case, it’s best if you get them a checkup to ensure that the situation hasn’t gotten worse. Left unchecked, the damage caused by spicy food can contribute towards more severe issues like dog colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
The food they ate contains harmful ingredients
Most spicy human food contains spices and other ingredients that could prove harmful to your dog. Even something as ordinary as pepperoni pizza has enough spices and other ingredients to throw your dog’s health off balance. If you gave your dog spicy food, check the ingredients and look up if they’re compatible with a dog’s diet. If there’s anything in them that could be toxic to dogs in some way, get your vet on the line immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it bad if your dog eats jalapeno?
Yes. It is very likely that your dog will experience stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and foul smelling gas, and a general feeling of discomfort and irritation along their digestive tract .
Is there anything I can feed my dog to counteract the spiciness?
When your dog eats spicy food, the first thing you’d want to do is to give them plenty of cool water. You can help sooth the pain in their mouth and throat with goat’s milk or plain yogurt. Then, feed them high-fiber food such as oatmeal mixed in with some unseasoned meat and something to help “cushion” the spiciness like plain white rice. This will help absorb the spicy oils from their digestive system and make their stools easier to pass without getting that burning sensation in their lower digestive tract.
Can dogs eat habanero peppers?
As much as possible, you don’t want to feed your dog any spicy foods. When dogs eat jalapeños, habaneros, or any other hot peppers, they stand to experience all sorts of digestive pains. Non-spicy peppers, however, such as bell peppers, are okay to eat for dogs.