Cayenne peppers, also colloquially called chili peppers, are a delicious spicy fruit used for human food. But it might not be the best thing for your dog. What happens if your dog gets into the cayenne peppers? Should you worry or even panic? Cayenne peppers are not lethal to dogs. They can be ingested, but the spiciness can cause your dog distress. Dogs should not eat cayenne peppers. Their spicy characteristics can cause severe irritation to your dog, and therefore it should be avoided if possible. Here is everything you need to know about dogs and cayenne peppers.
Cayenne Pepper’s Dangers
Cayenne peppers are not toxic to dogs, but they can cause some health problems if they eat them without supervision. Cayenne peppers can cause a dog’s mouth and throat to become inflamed. The spiciness can also cause gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as stomach cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Biting into a pepper can also cause capsaicin oil particles to get into the air, which can cause watering eyes, a stinging nose, or a raw throat. This is similar to pepper spray, which is designed with the same qualities as liquid cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper can also cause skin irritation on the mouth or anywhere that a raw pepper comes in contact with your dog. None of these issues are permanent, but severe cases might result in the need for veterinary attention to relieve the symptoms.
One of the problems is that dogs have no concept of what is spicy and what isn’t. People typically know what is spicy and what is not, so they are able to take particular care with spicy foods to prevent some of these dangers. Dogs do not have that knowledge. That means that dogs will happily try and eat way too many cayenne peppers if they get into them with no concept of the discomfort or the spiciness.
If your dog accidentally gets into cayenne pepper, they might experience some of these irritations to the eyes, skin, throat, or stomach, but they should recover on their own given some time. You do not have to worry about your dog dying or falling seriously ill, but you should monitor them for severe symptoms.
Using Cayenne as a Deterrent
Cayenne pepper powder, or chili pepper, is often advertised as a great deterrent for things like bugs and small animals or as an anti-chewing deterrent for puppies. The idea is that sprinkling or spraying cayenne pepper around it will keep animals away or prevent your dog from chewing on furniture or shoes. While cayenne pepper is an effective deterrent against certain critters, you should be wary of using it around your dogs.
A property owner in Seattle used cayenne pepper around an apartment complex to try and deter dogs from relieving themselves on the property. The plan backfired when one of the dogs became injured with some of the symptoms described above. The dog sought medical attention and recovered, but authorities considered charging the property owner. Ultimately, the story serves as a warning about using cayenne pepper as a deterrent around dogs because it can cause irritation and medical problems. It could therefore be considered unethical.
Cayenne Pepper Benefits
You might read online that cayenne peppers have some medicinal benefits for humans. This is true. Cayenne pepper has beneficial properties for the circulatory system. It can help with blood pressure, blood flow, and heart health. Cayenne pepper is also full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. However, there are other, safer ways to get your dogs the benefits without having to use cayenne pepper. This avoids the dangers of the pepper while still giving your dog the benefits.
There are a variety of supplements and medications that can help a dog with high blood pressure that does not include using spicy peppers. Ask your veterinarian for exact details about your pet’s particular health.
Cayenne peppers are not poisonous to dogs, but they can be dangerous. Cayenne peppers are very spicy, and this spiciness can cause irritation throughout a dog’s body if they ingest too much or get it on their skin. Dogs do not know the ins and outs of spicy food and, therefore, cannot protect themselves from the worst effects of super spicy peppers. You should avoid using cayenne pepper around your dogs and avoid using it as a deterrent.
Featured Image Credit: Peter Acker, Shuttertstock