Dog Lifestyle, Pet Health, Pets and Family

Can I Share My Spicy Food with My Dog? Can Dogs Eat Jalapenos, Chipotles and Other Spicy Foods?

It seems these days everything has jalapenos in it or some spike of Chile flavoring.  While you may be appreciating the trend and enjoy having jalapenos in your potatoes, ice cream and drinks and like wielding your bottle of hot sauce in your back pocket this hot trend with food spiked with jalapenos may not be the best for our dogs.  

If you are normally inclined to share some of your human food with your pal now and again you may be asking can dogs eat jalapenos?

Dogs can eat jalapenos in minimal amounts but adding more than a small amount may cause stomach pain for dogs and stress the dogs digestive system causing discomfort for your furry pal.  Dogs may get digestive issues from eating jalapenos due to the capsaicin which is responsible for making the jalapeno pepper hot.  Certain jalapenos are less hot due to the lower amount of capsaicin and those may not be as harmful but in general it may be difficult to tell how hot a jalapeno pepper is so it is best to choose alternative foods for your dog.


Why Are Jalapenos Hot?


Jalapenos are hot due to the capsaicin in them.  The Scovolle ‘heat test’ is used to determine how hot a pepper is, and jalapeños can range from 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville ‘heat units’. Jalapeños seeds are called picante and are used to add a spicy flavor to many cuisines.  There are four main commercial varieties of pepper that vary on the Scoville heat test, the hottest is the dark green Senorita pepper which typically grows three inches long and one and a half inches wide and typically registers 5,000 SHU on the Scoville scale.  Of course, there are many other niche varieties which may be hotter.  


According to Simply Recipes, Capsaicin is produced by the capsaicin glands of the jalapeño pepper, which are located between the placenta, and the endocarp, the membrane layer surrounding the seeds. Accordingly, and despite popular belief the seeds do not produce the heat themselves but the highest concentration of capsaicin is found closer to the seeds of the pepper. Although the seeds can absorb some capsaicin, the seeds themselves do not produce it.  


Adding seeds to a dish or removing them with the thought that you can reduce the spiciness of a dish by reducing the seeds is not accurate since the seeds are an edible part of the pepper; however, they contain little capsaicin and are not a contributor to the flavor profile. 


Are Chipotles Different than Jalapenos? Can my Dog Eat a Chipotle?  


Chipotles have also increased in popularity and you may be wondering if you can feed them to your dog but Chipotles are ripened jalapeños which have been smoked to dry and preserve the pepper.  


Since chipotles are treated differently than jalapenos, you may ask if chipotles, also an addition to meals that are gaining in popularity.  


No, you should not give your dog chipotle peppers in any significant amount since chipotles are made with jalapeno peppers and jalapeno peppers can cause your dogs to have discomfort and digestive issues.  Since jalapenos and chipotles are one in the same you do not want to give many chipotle peppers to your dog.  You only would want to give your dog chipotles in moderation to avoid discomfort, and dog stomach issues.

How a Dogs Digestive System is Effected by Jalapeno Peppers


According to Cotswold Raw, an expert on dog digestion and the importance of quality food, a dog is designed to seek out foods that they can digest easily and their body can process and it all starts with the teeth. 


Dogs have large canine teeth to bite, grip and tear up food, and chew and break down meat and bones. Adult dogs have around 42 teeth in total, compared to 32 for adult humans.  But the dog’s real digestion process starts in the stomach, which differs materially from humans. 


We grind our food and moisten it with saliva containing digestive enzymes, to aid the digestion of starches and lipase to digest fats. The digestive process in humans is well and truly underway by the time the food hits the stomach as opposed to dogs who do not have any amylase in their saliva and don’t chew their food. The food leaves their mouth virtually unprocessed and makes its way to the stomach where stomach acid breaks food down into smaller amino acids that can be absorbed and used by the body.


Gastric lipase is also produced in the stomach to start digesting fats.

When food reaches the stomach, the real process of dog digestion begins. When we feed our dogs something hot, like jalapeno peppers or chipotle peppers, it will pass right to the stomach without being broken down.  Which is why when we feed our dogs things that are not naturally part of their diet, like certain human food like jalapenos, which have a strong capsaicin content a dog may experience stomach pain.  

Can Your Dog Taste The Spicy Heat From Jalapenos?

As we discuss in Can My Dogs Taste Sour? Can Dogs Taste Sugar and Other Fun Facts About How Dogs Taste Food, dogs have fewer taste buds than we do – about 1,700 in the average dog compared to 9,000 in us.  However, like us dogs can identify sweet, sour, salty, and bitter which means they would definitely be able to taste the heat coming from a jalapeno.  If they can taste it, it will surely make them uncomfortable in large amounts.  

What to do if Your Dog Ate a Jalapeno Pepper

Despite knowing that jalapenos may not be the best for your dog in large amounts certain dogs will almost surely find a way to get into things or you may have inadvertently given your dog jalapeno spiked food. 

If your dog does eat a jalapeno, first, do not panic and try to make your pet comfortable.  Jalapenos and their leaves are not toxic to dogs.  Second try to provide access to lots of water which your dog will want to drink instinctively.  Milk, plain rice or other bland food will also dilute the taste directly on their taste buds and dilute the impact to the stomach.  If your dog has more serious symptoms like prolonged discomfort and throwing up you may want to seek veterinary help.

In Conclusion 

Dogs also trust you as their charge to keep them safe and comfortable.  If there is a product that could cause gastric distress or discomfort due to taste it can be confusing for a dog.  We often laugh when peanut butter gets stuck in our dog’s mouth or they do silly things but dogs love it at the same time.  Jalapenos will likely not cause your pet the same joy as a mouthful of peanut butter.

Has your dog gotten into the jalapeno peppers?  Share in the comments below.

We talk everything about navigating life with a dog in Motherpupin’ Adorable: What to do when your dog is better than everyone else’s check it out to learn more fun stuff about life with a dog!