Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
Dogs Food General Food

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food?

Jun 16 ·

Can dogs eat spicy food? It’s a question a lot of dog owners ask. Spicy food gives off an enticing smell, and you might find your dog sitting by you while you’re enjoying a curry, looking at you as if they want a bite too.

Is it safe for you to slip your dog a piece of spicy food, or is better avoided?

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food?

Red Hot Peppers

The answer can get complicated, but the simple fact of the matter is that to be safe, your dog should not eat spicy food. Many ingredients in spicy food can be toxic, and the spice can cause stomach upset which means they might regret having a bite of your hot dinner.

Furthermore, dogs don’t tend to enjoy spicy food! Although they have an advanced sense of smell, most dogs simply don’t have the tastebuds that humans do. Although they like sweet food, they don’t tend to love the individual savory snacks as much as we do. Many dogs will have a bite of your spicy food and shy away from it.

They only have 1,700 tastebuds in comparison to a human’s 9,000.

However, there are always dogs who will gulp anything down, so you need to be careful about that.

Simple spicy foods — such as jalapenos — shouldn’t cause them too much upset, but keep an eye on them to make sure they pass and never feed them to your dog deliberately. Just don’t panic too much if they pick one up off the floor.

Toxic Ingredients

Although spicy food usually wreaks havoc on a dog’s stomach, there are some ingredients often found in spicy food that can be downright toxic to dogs. These include:

  • Garlic powder, which is more concentrated than even cloves
  • Onion powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Black pepper

In large quantities, these can not only cause your dog stomach problems, but be fatal if you don’t see a veterinarian or cause long-term health issues. To be safe, you should avoid feeding them spicy food.

Adverse Effects

If you gave your dog spicy food and only afterward realized you shouldn’t, keep an eye out for the ill effects. They’ll usually manifest in the form of stomach problems, meaning diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting — but if it was only a little bit of food, it should pass through. D

What Should I Do If They Ate Something Spicy?

can dogs eat spicy food

If your dog ate something spicy that was extremely hot or had toxic ingredients in it, it’s time to call your veterinarian. A large breed will suffer fewer adverse effects than a small breed since they can handle higher concentrations of things.

At home, there are a few things you should do:

  • Keep an eye on their stools and make sure the food passes
  • Feed them a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice if they have stomach problems, until they pass
  • Make sure they get plenty of water so that the vomiting and diarrhea doesn’t dehydrate them

Don’t beat yourself up if your dog got their teeth into something spicy — all dog owners make mistakes, and they should be okay.

Help! How Do I Stop My Dog Stealing Food?

can dogs eat spicy food

Some people have issues with their dogs counter-surfing and can’t really control what the dog gets into. That’s why it’s important to teach a few preventative commands, so you can stop them from getting into toxic foods.


“Off” is a great one for counter-surfing. If you catch them jumping up, lure them to the floor with a treat while saying “off”. Eventually, the word should stick.


“Place” gives your dog somewhere to go and rest, and they can only leave once released. Set up a bed for them and lure them there with a treat while saying the word “place”. Mark the behavior when they step on the bed and reward.

You can build up to them lying down there by luring, then have them lie there for long periods of time until you release them.

Drop It And Leave It

“Drop it” and “leave it” are commands that any dog should know for their own safety. The phrase “Drop it” can be taught by swapping whatever’s in their mouth for something of higher value while giving them the verbal cue.

For “leave it”, practice with a treat. Cover it with your hand while giving them the verbal cue until they leave it on their own, then reward with another treat. Build up to bigger distractions and higher value food so that “leave it” becomes reliable — even when they’re trying to steal your food!

So, if you’ve been asking, “can dogs eat spicy food?”, you now know the answer is no and it should be prevented at all costs. However, if your dog has consumed some by accident, don’t panic. Keep an eye on them and call the veterinarian if you’re concerned, but it’ll likely pass through their system with a little bit of stomach upset.

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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