Cayenne pepper is no stranger if you love pumping up the flavor of your meals for that spicy heat and a bold flavor. No wonder it is a staple in almost all savory dishes and spicy drinks.
Dog parents love to spoil their furry friends with tasty treats now and then. It’s hard to resist those puppy eyes and longing stare. However, most home-cooked meals contain seasonings and spices like cayenne pepper, especially if you’re a culinary enthusiast. According to animal health experts, most spices and seasonings can harm your dog.
So, is your spiced lasagna safe for Fido? Can your dog eat cayenne pepper? This article examines the benefits and risks of feeding this spice to your canine companion. Also, discover the symptoms of concern if your dog eats cayenne pepper and what to do.
About Cayenne Pepper
Red, long, skinny, and moderately hot, cayenne pepper is a spice rack staple that adds depth, flavor, and complexity to any meal. A cultivar of the capsicum annum, cayenne is related to jalapenos, paprika, pimientos, and bell peppers. It is also known as capsicum fruit, pimiento de cayenne, African pepper, and Zanzibar pepper.
The spice packs quite a punch with a rating of 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units like the Thai and serrano pepper. But this is not as high as that of the Carolina reaper.
You can eat cayenne fresh or cooked in whole dried, flake, or powdered form and blend it with other peppers in savory dishes.
Does Cayenne Pepper Offer Dogs Any Benefits?
A staple of ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, cayenne pepper is known for its healing powers and nutritional benefits. The ancient spice can benefit your dog in several ways:
1. Boost Blood Circulation
One significant health benefit of adding cayenne pepper to your dog’s food is enhancing blood circulation. Cayenne pepper improves blood flow to all body organs delivering critical nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, to body tissues.
2. Packed With Vitamins
Cayenne pepper contains vitamins A, C, and B. Vitamin A supports excellent eyesight, a robust immune system, and prevents deterioration of your canine’s eyes with age.
Vitamin C is an immune, cardiac health, and cognitive health booster. It also helps in the regeneration of connective tissues.
Vitamin B is a complex spectrum that benefits your dog in several ways, including brain and nerve function and red blood cell formation.
3. Mineral Powerhouse
Cayenne pepper contains several minerals, such as iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium, which are essential to your pup’s health. These nutrients provide your canine with that extra health boost and improve body functions such as muscle contraction, fluid movement, respiratory support, and transmission of nerve signals.
4. Improves Digestion
Moderate consumption of cayenne pepper can help improve your pup’s digestive health. The spice enhances enzyme production for better metabolism. It also helps to regulate LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which is essential for the digestion of fatty foods.
Cayenne pepper is antifungal and antibacterial, which can help prevent infections in open wounds. If your dog has cuts, scrapes, and lacerations, you can apply a small amount to offer temporary relief before taking it to the vet.
6. Joint Pain Relief
Capsaicin contains pain-relief properties like NSAIDs. It breaks down pain-causing compounds which accumulate in the muscles and joints and triggers pain receptors in the brain to release feel-good-endorphins to compensate for the pain.
You can find topical capsaicin ointments in stores that help relieve arthritic pain, especially in senior dogs.
What Are The Risks Of Feeding Cayenne Pepper To Dogs?
Fido will most likely not enjoy the taste of cayenne pepper, so they might not eat much of it or avoid foods containing it. Thankfully, dogs are unlikely to consume too much of it to cause severe illness.
Capsaicin triggers a burning sensation when it gets in contact with the mucous membranes. The good thing is that canines cannot digest capsaicin, so once your pup spits out the cayenne pepper, they won’t experience any pain.
However, if your dog has a spicy tooth and eats more than a small amount of the seasoning, it can upset its tummy.
Signs of concern include:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive drooling
- Discolored stool
The pain can cause severe GI issues and even trigger pancreatitis in senior pups with weaker immune systems. They might also sneeze or dribble due to the irritation in their mouth and nose.
Puppies and smaller dogs have sensitive stomachs, and the pain might be too much for their bodies to handle. Therefore, keeping the cayenne jar out of your canine’s reach is best.
Also, dogs with kidney or bladder problems, inflammatory digestive issues such as IBD, and those with sensitive guts shouldn’t be fed cayenne pepper to avoid worsening their condition.
In severe cases, too much cayenne pepper can irritate the lining of the lungs and airways, causing respiratory issues and breathing challenges. You may notice your canine’s breathing becomes noisier because he’s exerting more effort than usual while breathing. If you see a change in your pup’s breathing, consult your vet for advice.
How Much Cayenne Pepper Can A Dog Have?
Only provide your pup food with little or no cayenne pepper. So, excessively spicy tidbits are off the limits for Fido. Introduce it slowly because some canines can be intolerant to certain foods, so it’s safe to be cautious.
Small servings of cayenne pepper are safe, but large amounts can cause uncomfortable and unpleasant tummy problems.
Start with ½ a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper for a 40-pound dog. The right amount will depend on your dog’s tolerance level, so always consult your vet before introducing your canine to cayenne pepper.
After eating foods containing spice, offer lots of water to your dog to prevent dehydration. If your canine starts experiencing stomach discomfort or adverse side effects, reduce the amount or discontinue right away.
What Can I Do If My Dog Has Overeaten Cayenne Pepper?
If your dog has consumed a large amount of cayenne pepper, it might exhibit symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, inappetence, gurgling gut, and vomiting.
If the symptoms are mild and your pup is still eating and keeping food and water down, you can care for them at home. Offer bland food like plain pasta, rice, boiled chicken, white fish, and scrambled eggs for a few days to help soothe their stomach. Milk or yogurt can help mask the peppery taste in your pup’s mouth, offering relief for the discomfort.
However, if within 24 hours your pup has gastrointestinal upset and cannot keep water or food down, you should speak to a vet. The vet can recommend you bring your canine in for further assessment and offer medication to settle their gut and stop them from vomiting.
Is Cayenne Pepper Safe As A Deterrent?
Since dogs don’t like cayenne pepper’s taste and pungent smell, they tend to avoid it altogether. This means you can use it in place of toxic chemicals to stop your pup from chewing rugs, wires, shoes, eating poop, and any unwanted behavior. If your canine is sensitive to the smell of pepper, it won’t come close to anything that has it.
However, stubborn pups can still ingest it and have health concerns. For such dogs, speak to an animal behaviorist on how best to curb their bad habits.
Dogs can tolerate a bit of cayenne pepper without showing any adverse symptoms. If anything, you can mix a small amount into their food, especially if your Fido is a picky eater, or to enhance the flavor. But overindulgence can irritate the gut lining and escalate into more severe concerns.
So make sure you keep the extra spicy foods away from Fido. Remember, your dog doesn’t share your enthusiasm for spicy foods. You might feel guilty for snubbing your canine but trust us, Fido isn’t missing out on anything and will be glad you did so in the long run.