We have a confession, a lot of us at the Tindog team adore spicy foods, and if you’re like us, you might wonder if your dog can have a bite of your favorite spicy snack. It’s difficult to not think it when they are staring at your food, drooling over its spicy goodness.
But is it really a good idea to give your dog spicy food? Well, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no, so let’s get to the bottom of this heated issue.
What Is Spiciness?
Spiciness isn’t a flavor but a response of the nervous system. The compound that gives spiciness its kick is called capsaicin, and it has the ability to bind to a special class of vanilloid receptors in the mouth. When it binds, depolarisation of the sensory neuron occurs, sending a signal that results in the sensation we call spiciness.
Capsaicin is known for providing a long list of benefits to human health including: boosting metabolism, reducing hunger, lowering blood pressure, relieving pain, improving digestive and potentially reducing risk of cancer.
Do Dogs React To Spicy Food?
While dogs can taste spiciness and react to it, it’s nowhere near as fun as it is for them as it is for us. In fact, in the heavy majority of cases, it’s a pretty unpleasant experience.
Dogs have a poor sense of taste, and bitter and sour — the two most common flavors associated with spicy — are difficult for your dog to find pleasant.
While capsaicin from spicy foods can really give our health a boost, it’s not the best way to improve your dog’s life.
Can Spicy Food Kill Dogs?
It’s extremely unlikely for spicy food to kill your dog. Spiciness or capsaicin is non toxic. A dog can have a severe reaction to common ingredients like onion used in spicy foods that can result in death.
However, it’s still rather unlikely, and the dog would likely have to be a smaller breed and consume quite a lot for a spicy dish to result in death.
How Do Taste Buds Work?
We constantly hear about how incredibly sensitive dogs’ ears and noses are, but really never really hear about their sense of taste.
That’s because while a dog’s hearing is better than humans, and their smelling capabilities often outdoes ours, their ability to taste pales in comparison on all accords.
Dogs have an average of 1,700 taste buds on their tongue. We, humans, have a whopping average of 9,000! Tastebuds — unlike how noses work — are pretty simple to understand.
The more you have, the more sensitive your taste is. With fewer taste buds, flavors easily mix together, making it difficult for your dog to discern the individual flavors.
What Flavors Do Dogs Like?
It might sound ridiculous to hear, but dogs really don’t care much for flavor and can’t taste that well. “Wait, what, get out!” No, it’s true, and think about it. Your dog pretty much just gobbles down food as fast as possible, right?
Give them a nice piece of steak that they seem head over heels about, and they just swallow the whole thing whole, no chewing or savoring involved.
That’s because dogs love smells, and their sense of smell is way stronger than their sense of taste. Your dog tastes food through smelling, just as much as they do when it’s actually on their taste buds.
So what smells do dogs like? Well, really anything that’s pungent, but in particular they like meaty and especially fatty smells.
Can Hot Cheetos kill a dog?
Their high-calorie fat content isn’t the greatest thing for your dog, but it’s extremely unlikely and unheard of for a dog to die from eating hot Cheetos. It may upset their stomach, however, causing excessive gas and diarrhea. So think about that before you give your dog that spicy treat.
What Spices Are Not Good For Dogs And What Spices Can I Give My Dog?
Spicy food isn’t just spicy, it’s notorious for having a lot of complex spices in it, and some of these can be toxic to your dog.
|Safe Spices For Dogs||Dangerous Spices For Dogs|
|Rosemary||Baking Soda (large amounts)|
|Turmeric (Curcumin)||Baking Powder (large amounts)|
*There is a heavy debate on whether garlic is safe or not since it comes from the onion family. Moderation seems to be the key, however high doses of garlic are considered dangerous according to this study.
In the study, it found 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of body weight is needed to produce issues in a dog’s blood. The average clove only weighs between 3-7 grams.
This means your dog would have to eat an incredible amount of garlic for it to be dangerous. We are talking about multiple cloves for most dogs.
What happens if I give my dog a jalapeno?
Jalapenos are non toxic for dogs, but the spiciness may upset their digestive system, especially if they consume a lot or are on the smaller side. Jalapenos are super nutritious foods for us, and it’s best we keep them all to ourselves.
Can I Give My Dog A Jalapeno Chip?
This is about the closest you can get to giving your dog a “jalapeno”, and it’s best to limit it to one chip because chips are incredibly high in fat and sodium.
So it’s OK to give your dog jalapeno chips, but it’s far from the best thing you can give them. Bewarned that even just one chip may have enough spices to upset your dog’s stomach.
Can you give your dog spicy food? The answer is pretty much a no. While it’s usually not harmful — however, it easily can be — dogs don’t care for spiciness like we do, nor can they taste it like us. They can’t appreciate it, and it just causes them discomfort, which can look like the fun discomfort we can get from eating spicy food, but it’s really not. So it’s best to keep the spicy food to yourself and other humans, unless you have a pet tree shrew because we guess, then it’s OK to give them some.