Eating spicy food is normal for humans, but some pet owners are interested in knowing if their dogs can eat spicy foods as well?
Without a doubt, most dogs love to eat the same food their owners are eating, regardless of how spicy it is. But can dogs eat spicy food? What effect spicy foods have on dogs? And how healthy are spicy foods for dogs?
Let’s find out.
Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food?
You may be causing more harm than good if you share your spicy food with your pets. These foods can have toxic effects on your dogs and lead to stomach pains like diarrhea, gas, and abdomen discomfort. Giving your dog spicy foods can also lead to excessive thirst, making your dog drink large amounts of water which may induce vomiting.
Can Your Dog Taste Spicy Foods? – Dogs and Puppies Taste Buds
Can your dog taste spice? This is something you should consider before giving your pet spicy foods.
Dogs will not be able to tell the difference in taste, and it may eventually lead to upset stomach and digestive problems. There are several options other than giving your dog human food. If you wish, you can give your dog different flavors of his favorite meal. However, your dog has no problems eating the same meal daily, they are perfectly cool with it.
Some spices are too strong. If you used chili powder before, you know how strong its aroma or smell. Dogs have a stronger sense of smell than humans, now imagine the effect of those chilis on your dog. If that kind of strong aroma can bring tears to your eyes, picture how big of impact will be on your dog.
Dogs can equally taste most of the basic flavors we taste, except salt. Their taste is not as refined as ours because they have lesser taste buds. Although dogs have similar tastes as humans, but how they react to these tastes differ.
According to some researchers, this happens because the wild ancestors of our now domesticated pets did not depend on additional sources for minerals; all the minerals they needed were available in their diet. And for the heat effect in spices like chili peppers, dogs will not be able to detect the heat or taste it, but it may affect them in other ways.
Effect of Spicy Foods on Dogs
If you own a dog for a while, you should already know that most of the foods we eat are not good for dogs. Although dogs may eat spicy foods and not react to it the same way humans do, they can end up with digestive or gastrointestinal problems. For instance, they may suffer short-term problems such as stomach pain alongside intense thirst and flatulence. Spicy foods can also cause severe long-term issues like canine pancreatitis.
Besides hot peppers and other heat sources, most spicy foods can endanger your pet as they contain ingredients that are more dangerous to dogs, like garlic and onions. Whether served fresh or in powdered form, garlic and onion can cause anemia in dogs, even in small amounts.
It’s worth remembering that some food that tastes mild to us might still be too spicy for our canine companion. The effect on your pets may be severe no matter how little the amount of spice in the food.
Tastes and Flavors Dogs Dislike
Dogs dislike things that taste sour or bitter, just like humans.
It takes longer time for spicy flavors to get to the right taste buds in dogs. And their reaction to the heat, when their tongue tastes something spicy, may differ from that of humans, but they do react to sour or bitter flavors.
To Dogs The Smell of Food Matters More
Even though dogs lack a well-developed sense of taste, they have an incredible sense of smell. This high sense of smell prevents dogs from eating foods with bad taste. Obviously, taste and smell go hand in hand. Dogs usually have an organ along their palate that allows them to taste food when they smell it, and this organ tends to favor meaty and fatty smells more.
Spices such as chili powder, curry, and cumin may smell pleasant to humans, but their smell may not be pleasing to your dog. However, giving meaty, spicy curry to your dog may not be a good idea even if your dog enjoys the smell and begs for a taste. Generally, it’s advisable to save spicy foods to yourself and allow your dog to eat his well-balanced and healthy diet.
Limit Your Dog’s Diet To Dog Food
Garlic is healthy for humans as it reduces inflammation and enhances immune function, but this spice is not healthy for dogs as it can cause anemia. Giving your pet foods meant for humans will only create an imbalance in his gastrointestinal tract and overall health. One of the major setbacks of giving human food to your dogs is that they may think all human foods are good for them.
Even though you give your dog human foods that are safe for them, it’s likely your dog will not be able to tell the difference and they may want to try other food varieties, which may be dangerous to their health. Breaking this habit, once developed, can be really difficult.
Action To Take If Your Dogs Eat Spicy Food
Your dogs may experience any of the short-term symptoms mentioned earlier if they happen to eat spicy food; however, eating something spicy one time will not cause any severe health issues. All you need to do is wait for your pet to pass it out in their stool. Besides keeping your dog away from eating spicy foods, taking any additional action is not required.
Can dogs eat spicy foods? as you can see, from our discussion above, some spicy foods may cause minor short term symptoms in dogs, while others may cause severe conditions like anemia. Thus, it’s advisable you give your pet healthy dog food to be on the safe side.
Kassidy Shepperd is the editor in chief for Canine-Prime.com. She is is a dog lover/trainer, a freelance writer and a volunteer at many pet rescue and shelter centers. Kassidy is based in Colorado and regularly writes for dog related magazines and blogs.