No, dogs cannot eat chili. Chili is a strong spice made of dried and grounded chili peppers. It can be found by the names “chili” and “chilli.” Regardless of the name, the answer is the same – chili is not a dog-friendly food.
Basically, all spices are dangerous to dogs. The only difference is the extent of the risks. In the case of chili, pet owners must never feed it to their dogs. If accidental ingestion occurs, they need to seek veterinary help.
Why is Chili Bad for Dogs?
Chili powder classifies as a spice, and dogs cannot eat spices. Simply put, the dog’s stomach is not equipped for processing chili. Here is a more detailed review of the reasons dogs cannot eat chili.
It goes without saying that all dietary indiscretions can lead to stomach upset. Eating chili is not an exception to this concept. Stomach upsets in dogs manifest with vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gassiness, appetite loss, and lethargy. Milder stomach upsets can be managed at home, while more severe cases require veterinary attention.
GI Tract Ulcers
In more severe cases, the mentioned stomach upset can culminate in ulcerations. Namely, chili is destructive and may damage the sensitive lining of the dog’s stomach and intestines. Once the lining is damaged and a sore is formed (erosion), it progresses into an ulcer. Such ulcers tend to bleed, causing bloody diarrhea.
The dog’s respiratory system may develop adverse reactions to chili powder as well. While eating chili, the dog can accidentally inhale chili. Since chili is irritating, it will wreak havoc in the dog’s nasal and respiratory passages, causing a coughing bout. The bout can be short or last for a couple of hours.
Spice mixes often contain added ingredients. For example, chili powder is often mixed with dried and powdered garlic and onion. Sadly, both garlic and onion are toxic to dogs. Garlic and onion contain compounds that damage erythrocytes (red blood cells), triggering potentially life-threatening anemia.
Signs Your Dog Has Eaten Chilli
The clinical signs of dogs eating chili depend on their weight and size as well as the amount of eaten chili powder. In general, these are the signs and symptoms pet owners can expect:
- Vomiting (with or without blood)
- Diarrhea (with or without blood)
- Inapetence (loss of appetite)
- Dehydration due to lack of water intake
- Debilitation and disinterest in activities
What to Do If My Dog Ate Chilli?
If your dog ate chili, stay calm and evaluate the extent of the problem. Basically, you need to focus on two things. First, how much chili your dog ate. Second, if the chili was pure or mixed with other spices and ingredients.
Once you have evaluated the problem, call your trusted veterinarian and explain the accident. Try to provide as much information as possible. That way, the vet will be able to give adequate instructions on what to do – monitor the dog at home or go to the vet’s office.
All in all, dogs cannot eat chili. In the case of chili, the term cannot is used loosely – the more exact term would be must not. Namely, dogs must not eat chili as the spice poses a serious hazard for dogs.
Luckily, dogs do not need chili or any other spice, for that matter. The pet market is saturated with dog-friendly foods and treats that are not only safe but also healthy and nutritious.
- Can Dogs Eat Garlic?, Anna Burke, 2018
- Are Onions Poisons to Dogs?, Pet Poison Helpline, 2020
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