Dogs or man’s best friend as they are affectionately called is one of the most common pets people have in all parts of the world. Most dog owners invest a lot of time, love, care, and affection into their dogs. With the knowledge that these remarkable creatures do not live nearly as longs as we do, we must take care of them as best as possible while we can. One way of caring for your dog is to monitor the food they eat, particularly when you are sneaking them some human food.
A good number of “people foods” are healthy for a dog’s consumption, but some of these foods are unsafe. You should be well-aware of the safety of the food and ingredients you are giving to your dog, and this holds true for whole-food as well as for spices.
Most dog owners occasionally share their food with their pet, and this food may be seasoned – at the very least, with a bit of salt and pepper.
Salt and black pepper are two condiments that can be found in almost every American home. This combo finds application at the dinner table where it is used to add sweet and zesty flavor to meals.
Although black pepper isn’t toxic for dogs, you shouldn’t feed it to them either. Read on to find out more about why it is not a great idea to feed your dog this everyday household spice.
You might also like our recent blog post on the can dogs eat Doritos which is available on the separate page.
Black Pepper: What It Is and Some Fun Facts
Black Pepper is the most traded spice in the world and it also finds application in traditional medicine where it is used to treat insomnia, constipation, and toothaches. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), black pepper is a good source of manganese, iron, vitamin K and a trace source of dietary fiber. It helps ease cold and cough, spur digestion, aid weight loss, prevent cancer, improve skin, foster metabolism, and help people deal with depression.
It might come as a surprise to you that this spice has also been used as a deterrent for canine chewing as dog owners realized that their furry friend steered clear of objects sprinkled with a little black pepper.
This table spice is produced by grinding black peppercorns – the fruit of a flowering vine. Piperine is the alkaloid that distinguishes black pepper from chilli pepper and also gives it its unique pungent flavour and aroma.
Can Dogs Eat Black Pepper
For the most part, most “people food” spiced with black pepper is also seasoned with salt. And while dogs can consume a little amount of salt each day, too much of this all-purpose seasoning can be harmful to your dog’s health. So, if you are preparing a meal for your dog, do away with salt. This moderate consumption rule also applies to black pepper.
While consuming a small amount of black pepper isn’t considered to be unsafe for dogs, too much black pepper can result in stomach upsets for dogs. Then again, it is highly probable that your dog doesn’t enjoy eating black pepper since spicy flavors aren’t top on the list of foods that dogs like. In the unfortunate event that your dog gets some of this spice into their nostrils, from spills, you are in for a long day as your dog will sneeze uncontrollably and become very restless and uncomfortable.
Take care not to add black pepper to any food you intend to feed your dog. You can share some of your food containing salt or black pepper with your dog provided it contains very little amount of salt and black pepper, and this food must be consumed moderately. Use your good judgment to decide where to draw the line between moderate and too much in this regard.
For instance, occasionally sneaking your dog a grilled chicken breast with slight seasoning may be fine, but a heavily seasoned peppercorn-crusted steak would be ill-advised.
Possible Health Consequences
Too much of anything is bad for humans just as it is for dogs. Dogs do not take too well with black pepper and consuming excessive amounts can be dangerous for them. Some health consequences dogs experience when they consume too much pepper include:
Inhaling more than a small sprinkle of black pepper would trigger severe respiratory system problems in dogs. This could cut off your dog’s oxygen supply or lead to hypoxia and in critical cases, the airways could be obstructed resulting in death.
Sniffing a considerable quantity of black pepper can also inflame the airways and delicate lining of the lungs, resulting in serious respiratory conditions like bronchitis or asthma.
Burning Sensation in the Stomach
Pepper, be it black pepper or cayenne pepper, are usually termed “spicy” because of their acidic nature. And just as humans suffer severe stomach burns from excessive consumption of pepper, dogs also share a similar experience.
Some peppers have such high acidic content that when taken in excess can damage the stomach lining of a person much less that of a dog. Signs of gastrointestinal irritation in dogs include fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Considering the potential damage black pepper may cause, it is best to keep it as far away from your dog as possible.
The colonic mucosa or rectal, of humans and dogs alike is greatly irritated by excessive ingestion of black pepper.
This can result in cyclic hemorrhoid outbursts and diarrhea in dogs who suffer excruciating pain.
Are All Seasonings Bad for Dogs?
No, not all spices are bad for dogs. You can feed your dog certain spices like parsley and basil to improve your pet’s overall health. These spices can ease Inflammatory Bowel Disease and symptoms of arthritis.
Basil and parsley contain essential nutritional and healthy compounds like flavonoids, carotenes, antioxidants, and lycopene which are useful in reducing the risk of digestive issues and stomach aches in dogs.
Help! My Dog Just Ate Black Pepper
Since there aren’t any health benefits dogs stand to gain when fed black pepper and unlike us humans, they do not particularly enjoy its taste, it is best to avoid this seasoning completely when preparing foods for dogs. However, some dogs will rummage through the trash for scraps and eat anything in sight.
If your dog eats a considerable amount of black pepper, you’d need to keep an eye on him for a couple of hours to ensure he doesn’t suffer any stomach upset – this could manifest as diarrhea and/or vomiting.
However, if after consuming a large amount of black pepper, your dog experiences severe diarrhoea or starts to vomit, these are signs that you need to take your dog to the veterinarian.
In the meantime, you can offer your pet a lot of water to drink to help them recover faster after ingesting black pepper. Hopefully, like most dogs, your dog will usually avoid food that is heavily seasoned with black pepper due to its pungent aroma and as such avoid its health risk.
Final Note on Feeding Black Pepper to Your Furry Friend
Can dogs have pepper? While, black pepper is non-toxic for canine consumption, there are limitations. Dogs can only tolerate it in small amounts and even then, there aren’t any genuine health benefits from its consumption. However, you should keep in mind that there is a fine line between what is considered a small quantity and too much.
When you feed your dog large quantities of black pepper, you run the risk of irritating their sense of smell, upsetting their digestive system, and endangering their health. In critical cases, where a very large amount of black pepper has been consumed, it leads to choking and other respiratory problems.
Call your vet immediately if your dog has eaten black pepper and begins to vomit.