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Is Cayenne Pepper Bad For Dogs?

Is Cayenne Pepper Bad For Dogs?

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If you love adding a spicy kick to your meals, then there are high chances that you’ve eaten a fair share of cayenne pepper.

A spice rack staple, cayenne pepper is considered moderately hot and can be eaten fresh or cooked. In most spice aisles, you can find it in powdered form or whole, dried form. 

This spicy pepper is not only famed for its ability to bring heat but also for the fact that it packs a ton of health benefits.

One of its main ingredients, capsaicin, is known for its potent healing properties. For instance, when applied topically as an ointment, capsaicin is believed to relieve pain by altering how the body processes pain.

It also aids digestion by stimulating the production of gastric juices in the digestive tract.

 Cayenne pepper is also said to have potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-irritant properties, all of which acts as the body’s shield against allergens.

Consumption of cayenne pepper has also been proven to raise body temperature and relieve cold and flu discomfort.

But what about our canine friends? Is cayenne pepper bad for dogs?

Well, we’ll find out shortly but before then, let’s learn some basics…

What Is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne pepper is a skinny, red, moderately hot chili pepper that we often use to flavor our dishes.

It features a curved tip and is approximately 10-25 cm long. It is also known by other names such as African pepper, pimiento de cayena, capsicum fruit, and Zanzibar pepper among others.

It is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum and therefore related to bell peppers, paprika, and jalapenos.

In terms of hotness, cayenne pepper is rated between 30,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville heat units. While this rating is not as high as that of ghost pepper, we know that cayenne pepper still packs quite a punch.

Is Cayenne Pepper Bad For Dogs?

Well, cayenne pepper is not actually toxic to dogs. In other words, your pup won’t drop dead after sampling some cayenne pepper. 

So, if your dog hoovers up a drop scrap on the floor and it has cayenne on it, he’s not in a big danger.

In fact, in moderation or small amounts, cayenne pepper packs many health benefits to dogs.

To begin with, it is hydrating and low in fat, making it a good snack add-on to dogs on a controlled diet.

Cayenne pepper is also a great source of vitamins like vitamins A and C, which are important in maintaining eye health and boosting the immune system of your pup respectively.

It can also increase blood flow to your dog’s joints, muscles, tendons, and connective tissues.

Cayenne is also known to stimulate the digestive tract by aiding the flow of gastric juices. This can go a long way in helping your dog metabolize food with increased efficiency.

 However, eating a significant quantity of cayenne pepper is neither safe nor recommended for dogs—for many valid reasons:

1. High in Capsaicin

Cayenne pepper is high in capsaicin, the active ingredient that gives chillis the hot, burning sensation.

Capsaicin is a chemical defense mechanism against mammals eating the plant.

Consequently, capsaicin is not only highly irritating to dogs but may also cause gastrointestinal upset.

So, eating a significant amount of cayenne pepper will make your pup cough and become quite distressed as well as give him a sore stomach and diarrhea.

2. Low tolerance to spice

Unlike human beings, our canine friends have low tolerance to anything spicy considering that it is not really part of their diet in the wild.

 Spicy foods give dogs upset tummies and often cause diarrhea and vomiting, which can be very unpleasant for both of you and your dog.

An upset stomach could make your dog feel rubbish for a couple of days, particularly if he already suffers from a sensitive gut.

Cayenne is, therefore, a no-no for dogs with inflammatory digestive issues, kidney or urinary problems, and sensitive stomachs.

3. Flatulence

For starters, flatulence is a term that is used to describe a situation where gas builds in your pup’s intestinal tract and colon. And it is commonly caused by dog eating foods that he is not meant to eat or can’t digest.

Cayenne pepper can cause flatulence in dogs. So, if you don’t want your fur baby blowing ‘toxic gases’, it is best to skip cayenne.

4. Water toxemia

After eating a significant amount of cayenne pepper, your dog may drink a lot of water to try to settle the burning sensation.

But drinking excess water can cause water intoxication or toxemia, which is potentially life-threatening.

Water is vital for hydration but there can always be too much of a good thing. According to AKC, an overabundance of water in your dog’s system can lead to frightening symptoms and sometimes even death.

Common symptoms of water intoxication include bloating, vomiting, lethargy, drooling, loss of coordination, pale gums, and dilated pupils.

Cayenne Pepper as a Dog Deterrent

Best Stool Eating Deterrent for Dogs

Many pet owners also use cayenne pepper to keep their pets off certain items or sections in their homes. The presence of capsaicin in Cayenne makes it produce a burning sensation when it is licked by dogs.

So, spraying cayenne on your furniture can protect them from being chewed by your dog, but is it safe?

Well, using cayenne pepper as a dog deterrent isn’t harmful to dogs but ingesting too much of it may cause ingestion, heartburn, and a host of other health complications in dogs.

If your pup inhales too much cayenne, for instance, he may experience unpleasant sensations in his nose, leading to excessive sneezing. And in severe cases, it could irritate the lining of his airways and lungs, causing breathing issues.

Instead of using cayenne pepper to keep your dog off your furniture, consider getting him plenty of chew toys to help prevent boredom and make him less attracted to your furniture.

Related Post: 17 Safe Dog Chews for Aggressive Chewers

My Dog Ate Cayenne Pepper: What Do I Do?

If you came home only to find out that your pup has eaten a large amount of cayenne pepper, should you be worried?

The short answer is no—you don’t have to worry much.

As we’ve discussed above, the dog will probably experience some stomach upset and vomiting or diarrhea. So, you will need to monitor your dog for these effects and try to make life easy for him:

  • Consider taking him to the toilet more often and give him plenty of water to rehydrate him.
  • Closely monitor him for signs of dehydration and be prepared to take him to the vet if he becomes lethargic or unable to keep water intake down.
  • It would also help to feed him bland food if he is experiencing diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Offering him a treat, yogurt or milk can also help absorb some of the pepper in his mouth, giving him the much-needed distraction from his discomfort.
  •  Most importantly, make your local vet aware of what happened. A professional will advice you accordingly with regards to making your fur bay comfortable as well as letting you know some of the signs to be on the lookout for if your dog is in distress.

Final Thoughts

Is cayenne pepper bad for dogs?

The short answer is no (in moderation) and yes (in significant quantities).

While moderate quantities of Cayenne pepper is not harmful to dogs and pack certain health benefits, excessive amounts can cause burning sensations, short-term digestive issues, diarrhea or vomiting, flatulence, water intoxication, and a host of other health issues.

Your best bet is to give your canine friend dog food only and consult your local vet whenever you have concerns about your Fido’s diet.