In celebration of International Hot and Spicy food day, we look at what foods are safe for dogs. Specifically, can you feed your dogs foods that humans would find spicy.
First, what makes a food spicy? It is the capsaicin oil in the food that binds to receptors in our mouth that give us the “hot” sensation.
According to this article in Psychology Today, dogs have around 1700 taste buds, significantly fewer than humans – with approximately 9000.
So, their ability to taste is much more diminished than humans, but what about capsaicin?
The Canine Journal lists Spices (including those containing capsaicin) as an irritant, and not a toxin.
Based on this information, yes, dogs can taste spices, they probably can’t taste it well, and of ingested will be more irritating than dangerous, but since dogs wouldn’t naturally gravitate toward eating spicy foods it wouldn’t be a good idea to feed it to them.
As always, before feeding things to your dog please consult your vet.
If you encounter an emergency situation, call poison control immediately.
There are a number of hotlines available, at different costs, but the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline can be reached at 1-888-426-4435.
The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours per day and 1-855-764-7661.
For day to day peace of mind, consider having a Pet First Aid kit, such as this one by the AKC, available.