Contrary to popular belief, canines are not true carnivores—they’re omnivores that require various foods to meet their nutritional needs. So, many pet owners supplement their dog’s food with bell peppers since they’re nutritious and safe for canine consumption. But are they safe for dogs?
Dogs can eat bell peppers. You can feed your dog these sweet, colorful peppers, raw or cooked. Prepare bell peppers for your dog by boiling, chopping, roasting, or steaming them to make the veggie easier to digest.
When you think of foods that you would like to share with your dog, bell peppers are unlikely to be high on that list—but they should be! These vegetables are a safe, healthy choice for your furry friend. Read on to learn more about bell peppers for dogs.
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Are Bell Peppers Safe for Dogs?
Bell peppers are part of the Capsicum annuum species, including a variety of peppers, including jalapeños. Unlike jalapeños and other spicy peppers, bell peppers are sweet with no spice at all.
Bell peppers are safe for dogs to eat. They lack capsaicin, which is the “spicy” compound that causes a burning sensation in hot peppers like cayenne and jalapeños. Instead, bell peppers are sweet and mild, and they contain vitamins and minerals that are safe and even beneficial for dogs.
While we do not recommend hot peppers for canines (due to their potential to cause digestive upset and general discomfort), bell peppers are perfectly safe.
Are Bell Peppers Healthy for Dogs?
Bell peppers are mostly water and carbohydrates with negligible amounts of fat and protein. These crunchy vegetables are packed with vitamin C—97% of the recommended daily value! B6 is also present in this colorful veggie, containing 17% of the recommended daily value.
Bell peppers are a healthy vegetable for dogs. They contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients not found in meat. Dogs can safely consume both the flesh and membrane. Avoid seeds, as they have a bitter flavor and may cause gastrointestinal upset.
Having a thick flesh, bell peppers are crunchy and juicy when raw but soft and easier-to-chew when sautéed, boiled, roasted, or steamed.
The health benefits of bell peppers for dogs include:
- High in Vitamin A – Vitamin A maintains a dog’s eye health, skin, coat, muscles, and nerve function. This vitamin is essential for fetal health in pregnant canines. Red bell peppers contain more vitamin A per gram than the green options.
- Aids in Digestive Health – Bell peppers are a good source of fiber, calorie for calorie. Fiber is necessary for canines to maintain a healthy digestive tract. When dogs consume fiber, it’s converted into fatty acids, which support a healthy gastrointestinal microbiome.
- Contains Antioxidants – Antioxidants protect the body from cell damage. Dogs with chronic inflammatory conditions or joint problems benefit from antioxidants, as they play a role in reducing inflammation.
- Maintains Visual Acuity – Bell peppers and other vivid vegetables contain lutein which promotes healthy eyes, prevents cataracts, and protects a dog’s eyes from sun damage. Lutein is considered an excellent preventative for eye disorders.
- Supports The Immune System – Unlike humans, dogs can synthesize vitamin C, but supplementation offers additional health benefits, including reducing inflammation and an immune system boost. Red bell peppers contain nearly double the amount of vitamin C as green peppers.
- Improves Coat and Skin – Beta carotene is a compound that gives red and orange plants their color. This chemical converts to vitamin A in a dog’s body, which benefits the eyes, skin, and coat. Beta carotene also supports cell function, healthy bones, and teeth. Red bell peppers contain 11 times more beta carotene than the green varieties.
Bell peppers make a great supplement to a dog’s regular high-protein diet.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Bell Peppers?
The flesh of raw bell peppers is a bit tough and may be difficult for your canine companion to digest. When feeding raw, chop the vegetables into small pieces or run them through a food processor before serving. Cooking bell peppers is another way to make these veggies easier to digest, and it’s perfectly safe.
Dogs can eat cooked bell peppers. They may be boiled, steamed, or roasted. Cooking bell peppers before serving them to your pet makes them soft and easier to digest.
When cooking bell peppers in water, some of the vitamin C leaches out of the veggie and into the water. Ensure that your dog is getting all of those essential nutrients by serving the pepper water as well.
Feeding Your Dog Bell Peppers
Feeding your dog bell peppers is an excellent way to incorporate more vitamins and minerals into their diet. In this section, We’ll discuss how to choose, prepare, and feed your dog these crunchy, colorful vegetables.
Choosing Bell Peppers for Your Dog
Bell peppers are available in red, green, yellow, and orange varieties. Dogs may eat any color of bell pepper. Some colors are sweeter than others, so offer different kinds to your dog to see which he prefers.
Red peppers are considered the most flavorful and nutritious. Green peppers have a vegetal-like flavor, similar to fresh leaves or grass. The yellow variety is sweet and tangy. Orange peppers are the least popular, as they’re less flavorful than the other options.
When buying bell peppers for your dog, pick the firm, glossy, and vividly colored options. Lighter ones tend to be more bitter than vibrantly colored peppers.
Choose a fleshy pepper for your dog by picking one that feels heavy for its size. Avoid peppers that are wrinkled or have cuts, black spots, sunken areas, or bruising. These signs may indicate the pepper is going bad.
Preparing Bell Peppers for Your Dog
Before giving your dog a bell pepper, wash it well to remove any pesticides or dirt and remove the seeds and stem. Seeds may cause indigestion.
If your dog likes the membrane, feel free to serve it to him! It’s perfectly safe. Removing it is strictly based on personal preference.
Cooking bell peppers softens them and makes them easier to chew and digest. There are many ways to prepare bell peppers for your dog:
- Chopped – Chop bell peppers into small, bite-sized pieces and sprinkle them over your dog’s kibble. If he struggles to chew the bell peppers, consider cooking them first.
- Boiled – Soften bell peppers quickly by blanching them in boiling water. Heat water to a rolling boil and submerge each pepper (seeds and stems removed) for about ten minutes.
- Roasted – Roast bell pepper slices in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes. Turn them twice while cooking. Serve them with your dog’s protein.
- Steamed – Steam a bell pepper by placing it in a microwave-safe bowl with a tablespoon of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, leaving a one-inch opening. Heat for three minutes or until soft.
Do not add salt, sugar, spices, or fats to your dog’s bell peppers. Foods that are too salty can lead to sodium poisoning in dogs. Sugar can lead to a dangerous spike in blood sugar levels and, over time, contribute to obesity. Seasonings and spices are potentially toxic to your dog, especially onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, and salt alternatives. In addition, never offer your pup the spicy variety, such as jalapeños or cayenne peppers.
The amount of Bell Peppers for Your Dog
Always consult your veterinarian before introducing anything new into your dog’s diet, including bell peppers. The most important rule to follow when feeding your dog bell peppers is to offer them in moderation.
Gradually introduce bell peppers into your dog’s diet by adding a couple of slices to your dog’s food at mealtime. Slowly increase the amount over a few days. A small dog should consume less than a quarter of a pepper per day, whereas larger dogs may eat half of a bell pepper per day. We don’t recommend feeding your dog more than this, as they may develop stomach upset.
Can Dogs Eat Bell Pepper Seeds?
Bell peppers have many tiny seeds attached to their white, fleshy membrane. If you feed your dog a bell pepper and miss a few seeds, it’s not a cause for concern.
Bell pepper seeds are not toxic for dogs. However, they’re bitter-tasting and may cause stomach issues if consumed in large amounts. It’s best to remove seeds before offering bell peppers to your dog.
While they won’t kill him, they may cause digestive upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. Plus, dogs don’t need to eat bell pepper seeds to get the necessary vitamins and nutrients from this vegetable.
As omnivores, dogs benefit from plant matter in the same way that humans do. Bell peppers provide dogs with many necessary nutrients not found in meat, and these fleshy veggies are perfectly safe for canine consumption.
Remember that vegetables shouldn’t be your dog’s primary food source. They don’t contain the exact amount of vitamins and minerals that canines need to thrive. Protein should be the primary source of a canine diet, with bell peppers and other vegetables only used as supplementation.
Want to boost your dog’s vitamin A, antioxidants, fiber, or beta carotene? Well, then, the next time you’re cooking up a batch of bell peppers, consider offering a slice or two to your pup. His immune system will thank you.
- Hill’s Pet: Can My Dog Eat Spicy Food?
- American Kennel Club: Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers?
- American Kennel Club: 7 Vitamins Your Dog Needs For a Healthy Life
- American Council on Science and Health: Why Dogs Don’t Need Vitamin C but Humans Do
- Farm Flavor: Red Bell Peppers’ Nutrition Beats Its Colorful Cousins
- Science News for Students: Cooking Can Alter a Food’s Vitamin C Content
- Does It Go Bad: How Long Do Bell Peppers Last?
- Merck Veterinary Manual: Overview of Salt Toxicity
- Trupanion Pet Care: Healthy Fruits and Veggies For Pets
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