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Can Dogs Eat Black Pepper? Is It Bad For Dogs?

Are you trying to figure out if black pepper is safe to feed your dog? Veterinarian Hannah Godfrey looks at the potential health benefits and risks of feeding it to your dog, on purpose or by accident. She also discusses symptoms of health concerns and what to do should they arise.

Dr. Hannah Godfrey

Last Updated: March 30, 2022 | 4 min read

Jack Russell terrier dog eat pepper from a table

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not serve as a substitute for a discussion with a trained professional. If your dog ate black pepper and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately. When you buy something through one of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Many pooch parents like to spoil their dog with a tasty treat now and then. When they’re giving you an angelic look while staring longingly at your dinner, it’s hard to resist sharing!

But many home-cooked meals may contain black pepper, garlic, and other seasonings, especially if you’re a bit of a culinary expert.

So, is your lasagna, carbonara, or grilled chicken safe for your dog? Can dogs eat black pepper?

Where Does Pepper Come From?

Peppercorns in a wooden spoon
Black pepper comes from the pepper plant, a type of vine.

The pepper plant produces flowers, which become berries once pollinated. The peppercorns that you’d find in your pepper mill are the unripe berries that have been dried. On the other hand, if the berries are allowed to ripen, the seeds within them can be dried to make white peppercorns.

Is Black Pepper Good For Dogs?

The most important thing to remember is that black pepper doesn’t have any nutritional benefit for your dog. It’s an ingredient that enhances many dishes by giving them a bit of a kick, which appeals to us humans. However, your canine companion probably doesn’t share your love of all things spicy! It’s natural as a pet parent to want to give your dog a bit of variety in their diet and ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need. But since pepper doesn’t contain any valuable nutrients for your dog, you don’t need to worry. They’re not missing out by not having it in their diet.

Is Black Pepper Safe?

A small amount of black pepper is relatively safe for dogs to eat and is unlikely to cause harm. So, there’s very little risk if you’re feeding your dog a small amount of food that has been mildly seasoned with this spice. However, more significant amounts of it can cause problems. Luckily, most dogs don’t like the seasoning at all. After all, dog food doesn’t contain it, so it’s not an ingredient they would typically come across.

What Are The Risks Of Feeding Black Pepper To Dogs?

Grilled chicken seasoned with pepper
Your dog probably doesn’t enjoy the taste of black pepper, so they might avoid it altogether or not eat much of it.

Thankfully, they’re unlikely to eat enough to cause them to feel unwell. However, if they get a taste for spicy food and consume more than a little bit of the seasoning, it might upset their tummy. They’re likely to show upset tummy symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain. They might also dribble or sneeze due to irritation in their nose or mouth.

How Much Black Pepper Can A Dog Have?

Since black pepper offers no nutritional value to your canine companion, you should do your best to avoid it. Food should only be offered to your dog if it contains little or no pepper, and you definitely shouldn’t give pups any particularly spicy or excessively seasoned tidbits. There’s no need to panic if your dog has eaten food containing a little bit of pepper, though – it’s unlikely to be a problem. While small amounts are safe, larger amounts might cause some unpleasant and uncomfortable gut problems. So, your dog will thank you for thinking twice before sharing your dinner!

What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Eaten A Lot Of Pepper?

Gassy Dog Sick
If your dog has eaten a large amount of pepper, they might show signs of an upset stomach like vomiting and diarrhea.

If the symptoms are mild and your dog is still eating, drinking, and keeping water down, you can try caring for them at home. Offering bland food like boiled chicken and rice, plain pasta, scrambled egg, or white fish for a few days should help settle their stomach.

However, if your dog has severe symptoms, is acting unwell, or cannot keep water down, you should speak to your veterinarian. The vet can give them medication to settle the stomach and stop them from vomiting if they need it. Then, they should be on the mend in no time.

Don’t Forget Other Ingredients

Remember, pepper isn’t the only troublesome ingredient that could be hiding in your culinary masterpiece. Many other foods are poisonous to dogs or could cause them to feel a bit unwell. Many dishes contain garlic and onion, which could make your dog anemic.

Other food risks include milk, cheese, and other dairy products, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea because dogs are lactose intolerant. So, it’s definitely best to be sure that your food is safe for your dog before offering them a little taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Salt and pepper shakers
Most dogs dislike the smell of pepper, which often stops them from eating more significant quantities.

What happens if a dog eats black pepper?

A small amount is safe for dogs, but if they eat a lot of it, jalapeños, or other spicy ingredients, then their gut might not be too happy. However, if they do manage to eat a large amount of pepper, they might suffer from vomiting and diarrhea for a few days. If their symptoms are mild, feeding them a bland diet until their symptoms improve should help them recover quickly.

Does pepper stop dogs from chewing?

Because dogs don’t like the smell of black pepper, they tend to avoid it altogether. This means that it can theoretically be used to stop your dog from chewing wires, rugs, or shoes and also stop other unwanted behaviors. If your dog is very sensitive to the smell of pepper, they probably won’t get close enough to lick or eat any of it. However, if they’re brave or stubborn, be aware that they could ingest some of the pepper and might develop unwanted symptoms.

In reality, there are many more effective ways to stop these behaviors without risking giving your dog a bad belly. So, if you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior, especially if they’re being destructive, speak to your veterinarian or a behaviorist about how best to improve the situation. You might also consider using a product like Bitter Apple Spray to deter your pet.

Final Thoughts

If you offer your dog food that contains a tiny amount of black pepper, there’s no need to panic. Dogs can usually tolerate a small amount without showing symptoms. However, if you’re eating a dish that contains a lot, it could make your dog’s stomach upset. So, make sure your dog steers clear. You might feel guilty for not sharing your food, but rest assured, your dog will be grateful in the long run.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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