Is Black Pepper Bad For Dogs? Can Dogs Tolerate Spices?

is black pepper bad for dogs

Is black pepper bad for dogs?  What kinds of seasonings and spices should my dog avoid?  How will I know if my dog is allergic to specific spices?  All of these are good questions and asked frequently enough by new and old dog owners alike.  Things like salt and pepper are commonly used items on human foods but are they safe to consume for our dogs as well?

Hi my name is Mike and I’ve been working with dogs for a long time now.  I get questions all the time related to our furry little companions and decided to start this site to help answer some of the more common ones.  Today we will be discussing the question, “Is black pepper bad for dogs?”.  We will also look at some other commonly used spices and see where they stand as well.  Lets get into it!

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Is Black Pepper Bad For Dogs?

In small quantities, black pepper is ok for dogs to consume.  When I talk about small quantities, I’m referring to a lightly seasoned bit of human food such as steak or mashed potatoes.  A few flecks of black pepper will not harm most dogs unless they are super sensitive to it.

Is black pepper bad for dogs in large quantities?  The answer here would be yes.  Dog’s don’t tent to tolerate spicy foods very well.  A larger quantity of this spice can cause some serious stomach upset and possibly diarrhea or vomiting.  Every dog will react a bit differently and have varied thresholds for the spice as well.

The important thing to remember when talking about black pepper is that it is a spicy food.  Dog’s don’t tolerate most spicy foods well at all.  It may not be inherently toxic but it can cause digestion or stomach issues and all of the wonderful things associated with it.

If your dog grabs a little bit of peppered steak, don’t stress it.  I wouldn’t pick this food to feed them exclusively either though.  Black pepper could cause them some discomfort and you some messy and unwanted clean up!

My Dog Ate Black Pepper.  What Do I Do?

If your dog had a small amount, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.  Just keep an eye on them and monitor for any stomach upset.  If they are fine after an hour or so that should be the end of it.  If you notice them exhibiting signs of discomfort or stomach upset, get them outside and see if that brings some relief.  If these symptoms continue for more than a few hours, a call to your local vet would be a good idea.  They may tell you to give them something to settle their stomachs or have you come in to the office if the reaction is extreme.

It’s important to note that black pepper holds no benefits for your dog to consume.  They aren’t going to get anything positive from consuming it.  Because of this, avoidance in their diet is the best advised course of action.  This is also strongly advised for any other seasonings and rubs that may contain pepper or other spicy ingredients as well.

Spices And Dog’s Reactions To Them Explained

So now that we have discussed the question, “Is black pepper bad for dogs?”.  Lets look at some other common spices and seasonings to see where they match up.  Lets take a look at black pepper’s number one counter part first.  Salt

Can My Dog Have Salt

Salt is just as common as black pepper.  In fact, they usually come together in a set when you buy them at the store.  For this reason,  they are usually used in tandem when preparing various human dishes.  An abundance appears in our snacks like chips and popcorn as well.  Should our dog be having salt though?

Dog’s need salt to survive and should be having some in their diet.  What they shouldn’t be doing is snacking on salty foods like chips or pretzels which are loaded with excess salt to begin with.  The more your dog snacks on these types of foods, the more they will need to drink and go to the bathroom.

Salt in high quantities causes the kidneys to go into overdrive and could cause organ damage in the long term.  There is also the possibility of developing sodium ion poisoning if your dog ingests too much salt to begin with.  Signs of this poisoning can include, diarrhea, vomiting, depression, fever, seizures and in the most serious cases, death.  If you suspect your dog has consumed too much salt or if they are exhibiting any of these symptoms after eating something, call your vet for guidance.

To sum it up, Dietary salt is needed for your dog to maintain their health but that food should come from their normal diet.  They do not need extra salt from human foods to maintain their salt levels.  This will be more harmful than helpful in the long run.  If you are not sure about how to plan an optimized diet for your dog, consult your local vet or dog nutritionist.  They should be able to provide you with some valuable information that will help in these situations.

can my dog have salt

Is Basil OK For Dogs?

Basil is a green leafy plant who’s dried leaves are often crumbled and used in spices or as seasonings for our meals.  Are they ok for dogs to consume though?  Basil actually does have some beneficial effects when it comes to your furry friend and can be used to advantage on a few occasions.  Lets take a look at the list of benefits that basil can provide.

  1.  Fights Pain and Inflammation:  Basil acts as a natural anti inflammatory medication for dogs.  It can reduce pain and swelling in your pup.  This is a great alternative to some of the more common medications which can cause complications in the liver or kidneys if used to frequently.
  2. Diabetes Prevention:  Basil can help regulate a dog’s blood sugar levels and thus help with diabetes prevention.  This can work in both keeping your dog from becoming diabetic or alleviating some of the major symptoms if they already have high blood sugar.
  3. Free Radical Fighter:  This spice can help prevent and eliminate the formation of free radicals in the blood stream.  Think of it as a micro detox for your dog’s blood.
  4. Antibacterial:  Basil has some antibacterial properties as well which can help fight off things like sickness and infection in your dog.

As you can see, there are many positive effects to your dog ingesting a little basil from time to time.  Don’t think of this herb as a main food source though, think of it as medicine.  You want to keep the overall amount low.  An abundance of basil won’t provide any additional benefit and could make your dog sick in the long term.  A bit here and there can be very beneficial for your dog however.

Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is another commonly used spice in human cooking.  This spice has many potential benefits for your dog as well.  Lets take a look.

  1.  Heart Disease Fighter:  This spice has actually been known to help fight off the risk factors of heart disease and make a positive contribution to overall heart health.
  2. Diabetes Prevention:  Cinnamon can also help regulate blood sugar and thus fight off diabetes as well.
  3. Neurological Aid:  This spice has been known to help with conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in humans.  It can actually do similar work for canine neurological conditions as well.
  4. Anti-inflammatory:  Another potent anti inflammatory remedy.  A nice option to have instead of pills which always contain side effects.

Cinnamon also contains many benefits for our dogs.  I would opt for Ceylon version as opposed to the Cassia variety.  It’s worth it to spend the extra few pennies for an organically sourced version as well.  Some of the others can contain pesticides or other chemicals that can cause unwanted side effects.

Can I Give My Dog Some Nutmeg?

Nutmeg is toxic for your dog to consume.  Keep them away from this spice.  Nutmeg contains a known toxin for dogs called Myristicin.  This can cause a wide range of symptoms from disorientation to seizures.  Not worth the risk for your pup at all.

Can My Dog Eat Garlic?

Garlic is a bit of a strange one.  Small amounts of fresh garlic can prove to be beneficial for your dog in a number of ways.  Powdered garlic or concentrated garlic oils can cause serious issues though.  I prefer to just avoid this spice altogether.  If your dog does get a small amount by mistake though it should be ok.  Just keep an eye on them and watch for any adverse reactions.  If they start to act off, call your vet and explain the situation.

can my dog eat garlic

Is Turmeric Good For Dogs?

Turmeric is another spice that sits in kind of a grey area.  It does have some beneficial effects when it comes to your dog.  There are anti cancer and anti inflammatory properties.  Turmeric can also promote brain function and improve gut health.  The problem is that turmeric can also act as a blood thinner.  This can cause complications for your dog in many ways.  I would think of this as more of a medicine to be tightly controlled.  Not a spice I would sprinkle on my dog’s food.

If your dog does end up consuming a bit of Turmeric, everything should be fine.  Once again, keep an eye on them for any adverse reactions.  If they start acting off, call up your vet and ask for some advice.

Can My Dog Have Onion Powder

Onion powder or onion salt is another frequently used spice in many meals.  Is it ok for your dog to consume though?  Onions contain an chemical compound called Thiosulphate.  This compound can cause some serious adverse reactions in your dog’s blood stream including hemolytic anemia.  This is a condition where your dog’s blood cells will actually burst!  Not a good thing to be sure.

Keep your dog away from anything flavored or seasoned with onions.  Even small quantities can be dangerous.

Is Pepper Bad For Dogs Concluded

So there we have it.  We’ve spent the last few sections looking at spices like pepper and salt.  Their reactions in dogs can be varied.  Some will provide real benefit and others bring nothing good to the table.  It’s important to remember that dogs have different tolerance thresholds as well.  You might have a dog that does fine with Turmeric and another might show a food intolerance or allergic reaction.  It’s important to look at each dog differently and to treat them as such.

I recommend using everything in extreme moderation at first.  If you would like to try something like basil or turmeric for your dog, give them a small taste and see how they react.  If the reaction is favorable, give them a bit more and see what comes of it.  Sometimes this can feel a bit like trail and error.  That’s because it essentially is.  Better to give a small amount and deal with a small reaction than go big and have a major issue though.

Vets and dog nutritionists are valuable resources as well. Don’t be afraid to contact your vet and ask them for advice.  Many of them would prefer answering questions and avoiding potential problems instead of dealing with the unwanted outcomes.

All in all, keep your dog away from most human spices unless you or your vet feels there is a need to administer them.  A well balanced dog diet should give your pup everything they need to stay happy and healthy nutritionally.  Anything else is going to provide a diminished or negative net benefit in the long run.


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