Jalapeños are a spicy addition to your meal, but one that is not for everyone and especially not for dogs. In fact, jalapeños just like any other spicy food should be kept away from your pooch.
If your dog ate a jalapeño pepper, watch out for symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort, in fact, the ingestion of jalapeños may cause gastric conditions that will require medical treatment, so try to never feed them to your dog.
What should you do if your dog eats a jalapeño?
A single jalapeño won’t hurt your dog and in most cases, there is no need for a medical examination, however, your dog may experience vomiting and diarrhea, so you should be prepared.
Some dogs eating jalapeños do not show any reactions, but it doesn’t mean you should keep feeding them these spicy peppers, because the effects in the long-run can be very serious.
After eating spicy foods, dogs may drag their rear across the floor because the spiciness is making it uncomfortable for them to push the food out. In fact, even if dogs can’t taste spiciness, their gastrointestinal tract is very sensitive to it.
If your dog ate jalapeños and is vomiting or feeling any discomfort, you can help them by making them drink some milk and keeping them on a diet of plain white rice, boiled boneless chicken, or canned pumpkin.
If you can, give your dog goat milk instead of cow milk, as the latter contains more sugars that are difficult to break down.
These foods will help relieve the spiciness and bulk the stools around the jalapeño, hopefully making it less irritating for your dog to pass it.
Another thing you should probably consider is that since your dog’s body cannot handle jalapeños, they may come out through uncontrolled diarrhea.
In order to avoid making a mess in random spots of your house, you should be sensible and designate an area for your dog to stay in until they pass the peppers. This way, you’ll only have to clean one place.
Although if your dog ate a chili pepper as a one-time occasion they shouldn’t suffer serious consequences, you are the one who knows your dog best and if you feel that they may need medical assistance, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian.
Are jalapeños bad for dogs?
Jalapeños are not toxic for dogs, but they have no benefits either and could instead provoke severe gastrointestinal problems so they shouldn’t be fed to dogs under no circumstances.
These spicy peppers are very low in calories (around 4 calories per pepper) and contain Vitamin A, B6, C, K, manganese, folate, and a small number of fibers. They also contain Capsaicin, an alkaloid that gives them the distinctive spiciness and has many health benefits.
Being so loaded in nutrients, it goes without saying that jalapeños may be considered good for humans and dogs’ health alike. However, the gastrointestinal risks for dogs are absolutely not worth the benefits.
Dogs and jalapeños do not get along, so if your dog ate a hot pepper as an accident, they will most probably be fine, but adding jalapeños to your dog’s diet would be a huge mistake that could cost their lives.
Gastric and peptic ulcers
Dogs eating jalapeños regularly may experience gastric or peptic ulcers, where the mucosal barrier that lines the esophagus, stomach, or intestine is damaged.
The mucosal barrier is fundamental to protect the body from the potential dangers of what dogs ingest, and also to protect it from the strong acids that activate during the digestive process.
The disruption and consequent death of the gastrointestinal tissues are very painful for your pet but luckily is not so common in dogs and cats. However, recurring ingestion of highly irritating foods could provoke it.
Symptoms of ulcers in dogs include:
- Blood in the stools (dark brown/black)
- Bloody diarrhea
- Vomiting with or without blood (red blood or “coffee grounds” blood)
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
The consequences of a gastric or peptic ulcer are often disastrous because it triggers a never-ending cycle of damage caused by the gastric fluids and the body’s inflammatory mechanisms.
Severe ulceration could provoke the perforation of a part of the gastrointestinal tract and the consequent blood loss could turn lethal for the dog.
Sometimes, extreme physical exercise could provoke ulcers as well.
Diagnosis of ulcers can be presumed through symptoms and medical examination but is usually confirmed through endoscopy or surgical exploration. It’s important to diagnose this condition as early as possible for better chances of long-term recovery.
Peritonitis is one of the most common consequences of severe ulceration. It is the inflammation of the peritoneum, which is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.
This condition may be delimited to a certain area or widespread and it may also be short or long term.
When the gastric content enters the peritoneal cavity due to a perforated ulcer, they initially cause chemical peritonitis. However, when there’s a rupture of the intestines, the contents may cause bacterial peritonitis as well.
Peritonitis can be sudden and unpredictable, and a dog that looked completely fine a moment earlier may suddenly start showing symptoms.
Signs of peritonitis in dogs include:
- Low blood pressure
- Blood in the stools, diarrhea, vomit
- Abdominal pain
- Inability to defecate because of gastrointestinal paralysis ù
- Fluid accumulation
- Abdominal swelling
Peritonitis is a medical emergency and should be treated as soon as possible. In fact, this condition is often fatal to dogs, with a mortality rate between 50% and 70%.
Spicy food and dogs.
The spiciness is not something your dog can really taste, so even if your dog ate spicy food, they won’t be able to understand the difference between that and non-spicy food.
Dogs have around 1,700 taste buds on their tongue, which may seem a lot until you compare them with the over 9,000 taste buds humans have. That’s right, dogs have a very strong sense of smell, but their sense of taste is not that good.
For example, they can’t really tell the difference between different kinds of meat. Chicken and beef probably taste quite similar to them. However, studies found that dogs can recognize the four main types of tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.
Jalapeños spiciness works within the sourness buds, which is a dog is located at the back of the tongue. So when a dog eats jalapeños, they don’t immediately taste its spiciness, and even when they do, it’s greatly reduced in comparison to how we register it.
Dog parents who aren’t aware of this may feed spicy food to their dogs and rejoice when the animal has no reaction or looks for more, making it seem like your dog likes spicy food when in fact, they can barely understand what they actually ate.
Even if spicy food doesn’t have any immediate effect on your dog, and even if your dog doesn’t show symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea after eating jalapeños, they are still going to cause harm to their digestive system, so you should not feed them to your dog.
If you want to metaphorically spice things up in your dog’s diet because you’re always feeding them the same things, you could try using bell peppers instead of jalapeños.
Bell peppers don’t cause half of the trouble jalapeños do and they could still make your dog’s meals more interesting.
Of course, as with any other non-dog food, moderation is key and you should always consult your veterinarian before making changes in your dog’s diet anyway.
How to train your dog to stop eating spicy foods.
If you were already feeding jalapeños or other spicy food regularly to your dog, now you know why you should stop doing so from now on.
However, dogs are quick to get into healthy or unhealthy habits and if your dog is used to being given bites of your food whenever they ask for it, it may be difficult to untrain them.
What you can do now is to always have some dog treats at hand when you’re eating jalapeños, and feed those to your dog in place of the spicy peppers.
In order to stop the behavior completely, you should wait until they leave you alone and only reward them once you’re done with your meal. This way, your dog will learn that if they let you eat in peace and don’t ask for your food, something good will happen.
As a general rule, your dog shouldn’t be given food from your table, so you shouldn’t make them understand that if they just beg for it, they will get anything they want. This could translate into bad behavior on many other occasions and it might be very hard to correct.
Can dogs eat jalapeños?
Dogs cannot eat jalapeños and you should be careful in feeding spicy food to your dog.
Dogs can’t taste spiciness so spicy peppers may not look like a big deal to them and they may even ask for it, but their digestive system is not prepared to digest spicy food and they could develop serious or even life-threatening gastrointestinal conditions in the long run.
While jalapeños contain many nutrients that translate into health benefits for us humans, they’re not that beneficial for dogs and the risks greatly outnumber the benefits anyway.
If you want to make your dog’s meals a little more interesting, a safer option would be bell peppers, which shouldn’t irritate your dog’s digestive system as much as jalapeños.
Feeding food from your table to your dog shouldn’t become a habit, because even if your dog doesn’t show immediate symptoms, there is no guarantee that what is good for us is good for them as well.
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