It’s Friday, which is your favorite day of the week—not only because it’s the start of the weekend but also because it means you’re having fajitas for dinner. And of course, Fido wants in on the fun. So as you’re chopping up peppers and onions to stir-fry, you consider giving him a little taste. But wait, can dogs eat peppers? Let us rephrase that, because as any dog owner knows, technically your pooch can eat pretty much anything…but should he? We asked the experts.
Wait, why wouldn’t dogs tolerate this crunchy vegetable? “Peppers are part of the nightshade family, and therefore may worsen inflammatory conditions such as arthritis,” Dr. Barrack explains. That’s because peppers contain solanine, a chemical also found in eggplants, tomatoes and potatoes, which may trigger arthritis pain. “Additionally, some dogs may have gastrointestinal upset, manifested by vomiting or diarrhea after ingesting peppers in large quantities.”
Translation? As long as your pup is otherwise healthy and doesn’t suffer from inflammation, feel free to give her a small piece of pepper (think no more than half a pepper—and less if she’s small breed). Just make sure to keep an eye on her to see how she reacts. If everything looks good, then you can give her another piece next Fajita Friday. And in case you were wondering, any color bell pepper is fine (although red ones contain the most nutrients because they were on the vine the longest). Just don’t give your pooch a spicy variety of pepper like jalapeño or chili. (And whatever you do, steer clear of onions—they contain compounds that could cause anemia in dogs.)
Health Benefits of Peppers
Per Dr. Barrack, letting your pup gnaw on a pepper can have some pretty cool benefits. “From a Chinese medical perspective, peppers can be useful to treat food poisoning, decrease edema and help treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and heaves.” They’re also high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is important for your dog’s skin, coat and eye health. But remember to always consult your veterinarian before changing up your dog’s diet (this includes switching food brands as well as integrating supplemental “human” foods into what your pet eats).
More Healthy Snacks for Dogs
Wondering what other tasty treats you can give your pooch? Dogs can eat blueberries, carrots and turkey too (as long as there are no bones). Your four-legged friend might also enjoy diving into some strawberries. A major benefit of giving your dog something from your fridge or pantry? Unlike packaged treats that are often high in salt, fat and artificial additives, you know exactly what he’s eating.
One last thing: Per Lauren Jones, VMD, of PetCoach, treats (including certain table foods) should comprise no more than 10 percent of a pet’s diet in order to keep the diet balanced. Sorry, Rover—guess that means no dessert for you tonight.