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Can dogs eat Jalapenos? Everything You Need to Know

No, dogs cannot eat jalapenos. Although Jalapenos contain many nutrients, they are not beneficial to a dog’s health. Jalapenos are not toxic yet they are spicy peppers that can have harmful effects on your dog’s gut, if consumed.

What are jalapenos? 

Jalapeno pepper is a fruit of the Capsicum pod type. It is a medium-sized hot pepper that has been spicing up our foods for over 6000 years. Originating from Mexico, it is now being grown worldwide for its popular flavor. They are served in two varieties:

  • Green 
  • Red

When a green jalapeno pepper is left longer in the plant, it turns red, and this variety is sweeter than the former. In addition, jalapenos are a rich source of fiber, minerals like potassium and manganese, vitamins like A, C, K, and B6, and contain a healing compound called Capsaicin. 

Are jalapenos safe for dogs?

Jalapenos are not poisonous to dogs in any ways. But a dog’s digestive system cannot process jalapenos because of their spicy taste and nature. Moreover, serving jalapenos can provoke severe gastrointestinal issues in your canine companion.

Why Does My Dog Like Jalapenos? 

Dogs can recognize only four types of tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. So, when your dog consumes jalapeno, its spiciness is processed by your dog’s sour buds. However, since this is located at the back of your pet’s tongue, the taste is not recognized immediately. Additionally, he cannot perceive the right level of spiciness contained in jalapenos. So, he comes for that extra bite without knowing its actual taste. 

Why are Jalapenos Bad for Dogs? 

The spiciness of jalapenos is due to the presence of the chemical compound Capsaicin. Despite rendering excellent health benefits, this chemical is an irritant whose effects are felt within the dog’s stomach. 

As a result, dogs that regularly eat jalapeños may experience the following adverse health effects:

Gastric and peptic ulcers  

Gastric or Peptic ulcer develops following the damage of the mucosal barrier that borders the dog’s esophagus, stomach, or intestine. The mucosal barrier protects the digestive organs from any harmful consumption by the dog. Additionally, it protects the organs from strong digestive acids that are secreted during the digestive process. Although dogs are not prone to ulceration, frequent intake of highly irritating foods such as jalapeños can speed up this process. 

Symptoms of ulcers in dogs include: 

  • Vomiting with or without blood (red blood or “coffee grounds” blood)
  • Blood in the stools (dark brown/black) 
  • Bloody diarrhea 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Abdominal pain 

The presence of ulcer is often confirmed by endoscopy or surgical exploration. It is vital to establish the existence of ulcers at an earlier stage for a better and quick recovery. 

Peritonitis  

The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity is called the peritoneum. When severe ulceration causes the peritoneum to swell, it is known as Peritonitis. This condition may be limited to a specific region or may be widespread for a shorter or longer term. When ulceration creates a perforation, a cavity is formed, which is filled with gastric contents. Initially, this condition is called chemical peritonitis. When the intestines rupture, they cause bacterial peritonitis. As this condition is sudden and unpredictable, your dog may show the following symptoms:

Symptoms of Peritonitis 

  • Fever 
  • Shock 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Blood in the stools
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomit 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Inability to defecate because of gastrointestinal paralysis  
  • Fluid accumulation 
  • Vomiting 
  • Abdominal swelling 

Peritonitis is a medical emergency and is lethal to dogs with a mortality rate between 50% and 70%. 

How to train your dog to stop eating spicy foods?

Dogs can quickly pick up habits, be it either healthy or unhealthy. For example, if you had encouraged your dog’s begging at the table, it might be difficult to stop now. However, you can keep some dog treats handy when having spicy foods like jalapenos. To prevent the behavior altogether, reward them after your meal for leaving you alone at the table. This way, you can stop them from begging for spicy foods from you while eating. 

What Safety Measures Could I Take? 

There are times when your dog may get naughty and peek into spicy items without your knowledge. To protect your buddy from such scenarios, firstly restrict his access to spicy peppers. Additionally, avoid storing these foods in the refrigerator. Finally, if you have prepared spicy dishes containing jalapenos, ensure to clean the floor. Train your dogs not to intrude certain areas in your home. Ultimately, prevent your dog’s access to the pepper plant by building a fence around it in the garden. 

How much Jalapenos to feed your dog?

Jalapenos are not toxic or poisonous to dogs but can cause distress and gastrointestinal issues when consumed because of their spiciness. However, if you have decided to feed jalapenos to your dog, ensure to give only a tiny piece to notice any adverse reaction. Although a single jalapeno doesn’t cause much harm, especially to large dogs, it is always better to watch for any possible symptoms. Also, remember that even if your pet doesn’t show any signs after eating a jalapeno or a part of it, it doesn’t mean he will be fine the next time. Hence it is best to avoid feeding your dog jalapenos.

What if my dog ate Jalapenos? 

Some dogs that eat jalapenos may not show any symptoms, while some others may experience gastrointestinal discomforts. A dog’s reaction to spices depends on its breed and weight. For example, French bulldogs are the most affected by these peppers as they have a sensitive digestive system. The signs of distress to look out for includes:

  • Stomach ache 
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Coughing
  • Dehydration  
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Changes in the appearance of stool 

To soothe your dog’s discomfort due to spiciness, you may:

  • Give them some goat milk to drink.
  • Put them on a bland diet by feeding plain white rice, boiled boneless chicken, or canned pumpkin. 
  • Some dogs have uncontrolled diarrhea, which helps pass the peppers; you may help your dogs by designating an area to stay. 
  • Also, if your dog’s eyes are watering, wipe his face with cold water to deteriorate the spiciness effect.

Seek medical help right away if your dog continues to vomit or finds it difficult to breathe as these are fatal for him. 

Alternatives to Jalapenos

If you want to spice up your dogs’ food, you may replace jalapenos with bell peppers. Bell peppers are sweet peppers that have some benefits to dogs. However, moderation is the key here as these are also peppers. Some of the healthy alternatives to jalapenos include:

  • Fresh or frozen fruits such as strawberries, bananas, pineapple, apples, carrots and others. 
  • Fish cooked and deboned
  • Cooked Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Turkey 
  • Bread
  • Cheese including Gouda, Cheddar, and Cottage 
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Blueberries
  • Quinoa

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat jalapeno chips? 

No, dogs should not eat jalapeno chips because of their chili powder coating and high salt content. Additionally, regular consumption of these chips could lead to obesity, pancreatitis, or sodium poisoning. 

Can dogs eat pickled jalapenos? 

No, dogs should not eat pickled jalapenos because,

  • Dogs don’t enjoy the smell of pickles.
  • They are high in sodium.
  • Pickled jalapenos may contain onions

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food? 

No, dogs should not eat spicy food as this may upset their gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, their digestive systems are not accustomed to these foods. 

Can Dogs Eat Jalapeno Poppers? 

No, dogs cannot eat jalapeno poppers. These are whole jalapenos filled with cheese, meat, and extra spices, sometimes coated in breadcrumbs and fried. 

Can Dogs Eat Yellow Peppers? 

Yes, dogs can eat yellow peppers as they are sweet peppers available in green, orange, and red varieties. Moreover, large or medium dogs should consume no more than one-half a pepper at a time, and small dogs should have no more than a quarter of it. 

Final Thoughts:

Although jalapenos have a rich nutrient profile, they don’t benefit the dogs nutritionally. Additionally, jalapenos cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs that their risks outweigh the benefits. Hence, it is not a good idea to feed these to your dogs.

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