No, dogs cannot eat paprika. Paprika is a popular spice available in various colors (red, green, and yellow) and strengths (sweet, mild, and hot). Paprika adds flavor and intensity to dishes and is one of the most frequently used spices.
However, the dog’s stomach is not designed to process spices, and paprika is not an exception. Although not directly toxic to dogs, paprika is hazardous to dogs on several levels.
Why is Paprika Bad for Dogs?
There are several reasons paprika is bad for dogs. Some of those reasons are more benign and trigger only transient issues. However, others are more severe and can have long-term effects on the dog’s health. Here are the reasons why paprika is not a dog-friendly spice.
This applies particularly to the mild and hot paprika versions. Namely, paprika is too spicy and will literally put the dog’s taste buds on fire. Mouth irritation is painful and uncomfortable and usually makes the dog drool excessively and need ample amounts of water.
As mentioned, dogs cannot process spices, and when exposed to paprika, they are likely to respond with a digestive upset. Mild digestive upsets are self-limiting, while more serious cases require veterinary attention.
If the dog is frequently given paprika, the explained digestive upset can take up a more serious ongoing form and evolve into chronic gastritis. Chronic gastritis is not treatable – it can only be managed through adequate dietary choices and meds.
GI Tract Ulcers
Extreme cases of digestive upset may result in the development of bleeding ulcers. Namely, paprika irritates the lining of the GI tract, and if the irritation is intense enough, it will damage the lining. The damage goes through various stages, from superficial lesions to erosions to ulcers.
Because of the irritating and dusty nature, paprika may irritate the dog’s eyes. This usually occurs if the dog decides to take a sniff of the jar of paprika. Dogs have sensitive eyes, and even minor irritations require adequate management.
This is once again due to the irritating features and dusty nature of the spice. If a dog inhales paprika, the powder will irritate the nose and lungs and impair breathing. The chances of such issues are much higher in dogs with pre-existing conditions such as asthma or allergies.
Signs Your Dog Has Eaten Paprika
The signs your dog has eaten paprika can include the following:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Increased water intake
- Increased urination
- Vomiting (may include blood)
- Diarrhea (may include blood)
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Red and irritated eyes
- Impaired breathing
- Coughing and sneezing.
If your dog is showing one or more of these signs, you need to call your trusted veterinarian and seek professional help.
What to Do If My Dog Ate Paprika?
If your dog ate paprika, you need to provide first aid. By first aid, we mean wash its eyes with tap water and rinse its mouth. You can also offer your dog drinking water to dilute the spice and reduce the risk of GI tract irritation.
Once first aid is provided, call the vet and explain what happened. In most cases, you will be instructed to monitor the dog at home and call in case it shows worrisome signs and symptoms.
Paprika ingestion is not a life-threatening condition, but it is tedious and requires prompt management. Always stick to the vet’s instructions and never give your dog anything without asking the veterinarian first.
Bottom line, paprika is not dog-friendly. The truth is there is no such thing as a dog-friendly spice. Paprika is not directly toxic to dogs, but it is still dangerous and capable of triggering severe side effects.
As a pet owner, you need to be mindful and make sure you always put the spices in a secure place that is out of your dog’s reach. In the case of accidental ingestion, call your trusted veterinarian.