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Is Spicy Food Bad for Dogs? What You Need to Know!

spicy grilled chicken

Vet approved

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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While dogs can enjoy many of the same foods as humans, they should not eat spicy food. Although most spicy food isn’t toxic to dogs, it can still lead to negative consequences. So, it’s best to avoid giving your dog any sort of spicy food.

We’ll go over why it’s not a good idea to feed your dog spicy food and what to do if your dog accidentally eats something spicy.

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Why Dogs Can’t Eat Spicy Food

spicy chicken curry with rice
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Dogs experience taste differently from humans. Humans have an average of 9,000 taste receptors, and dogs have a significantly lower amount of 1,700 taste receptors. So, a dog’s sense of taste may be more limited than a human’s sense of taste. However, they can still identify sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.

Some dogs can be more spice-tolerant than others, and some may not experience the pain of spice as strongly as humans can. This still doesn’t mean that it’s safe to feed dogs spicy food. While they may not experience the same pain as humans can, they can still experience the effects of spiciness.

Dogs can still feel discomfort and irritation in their mouth after biting into something spicy. If they swallow spicy food, it can cause an upset stomach that can result in vomiting or diarrhea.

Along with spiciness, a lot of spicy food contains other ingredients that are harmful to dogs. For example, hot sauces can contain garlic powder or onion powder, which are toxic to dogs. Other unsafe herbs and spices commonly found in spicy food include bay leaves and mustard powder.

What To Do if Your Dog Eats Spicy Food

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Even the most watchful and responsible dog owner can still encounter an incident where a clever dog sneaks in a bite of spicy food. If you notice or suspect that your dog has eaten something spicy, contact your veterinarian right away.

Even if your dog may not show any signs of discomfort, he or she could eventually develop symptoms of gastrointestinal upset. You’ll also want to call your veterinarian because the food can contain other harmful ingredients.

When you call your veterinarian, make sure to have specific information on hand. Ingredient lists can be helpful in determining exactly what your dog ingested. It’s also helpful to provide information on the amount of food your dog ate.

Depending on the level of spice and ingredients your dog ingested, you may just have to monitor its condition for the next several days or take your dog to your veterinarian. In cases of poisoning, you’ll have to drive your dog to emergency care.

Timing is of the essence when it comes to ingesting food. So, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.



While peppers and other spicy vegetables may not be toxic, they still contain elements that can cause significant discomfort for your dog. Hot sauces and spicy dishes also usually include other ingredients that have toxins. So, make sure to avoid feeding your dog spicy food. If your dog does manage to swallow something spicy, respond quickly by calling your veterinarian right away.

See also: Can Dogs Eat Scallions? Vet Approved Facts!

Featured Image Credit by Shebeko, Shutterstock

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