Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food? Can It Hurt Your Dog?

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Many people worldwide enjoy spicy food, and some like it hotter than others, but spice lovers still share the same appreciation of a burn, whether it is a tingle or a burning fire. Because humans enjoy the sensation of spice, you might be wondering if you can share spicy food with your canine friend.

Dogs can not eat spicy food because it can hurt them. They react differently to spicy food than humans. Feeding dogs spicy food will cause havoc on their stomach, causing discomfort, gas, and diarrhea. Stick to your dog’s regular food and treats, and they will be happy and healthy.

In this article, we will be going over the dangers of dogs eating spicy food and what you can feed your pooch instead. If you’d like to learn more about what is and isn’t safe for dogs, we encourage you to read on.

Why Spicy Food Is Bad for Dogs

Spicy food is often thought only to affect the taste buds, but this isn’t the case. Even some humans have problems digesting spicy food, signaling that it can have real negative effects.

There is a good chance that you already know that certain foods that humans eat, such as onions, garlic, chocolate, and grapes, are toxic for dogs. The reason for this is that a canine’s body works differently from a human’s. Certain compounds found in foods such as n-Propyl in onions are poisonous, while humans are largely unaffected.

The differences in how a dog and human process food are enough for many food items to be a no go for dogs, so it is always encouraged to ask an expert if you can share the food you enjoy with your dog. But you may be wondering about how dogs taste things in comparison to a human.

Dog Taste Buds and Spicy Food

Humans are excellent tasters with over 9,000 taste buds on their tongue that can detect sweet, sour, bitter, and salty flavors because we can detect a wide range of complex flavors, we love to heavily flavor our foods with salt, spices, and sugars.

A dog can also taste the same 4 flavor profiles as a human, but the difference is that they have significantly less taste buds, at only 1,700. This means that they aren’t as sensitive to flavors as humans are.

This could explain why they can eat relatively plain food every day and still enjoy every bite. If you have a dog, you likely know that they are typically always excited for their meals, even if it’s the same kibble they’ve been eating for a year.

This decrease in taste buds does not mean that dogs cannot feel spice to a lesser degree. A dog may feel the heat even more so due to their spice tolerance being practically zero. Their taste buds will still pick up the capsaicin that gives food their spice, sending pain signals to the brain. This discomfort and negative gastrointestinal effects make it not worthwhile to give your furry friend spicy food.

For what they lack in taste buds, they make for it in spades with their sense of smell. Have you ever noticed that dogs noticeably go crazy when they smell meat? That is them picking up a highly desirable smell to them for consumption. Dogs are primarily meat-eaters, so it makes perfect sense that they would gravitate towards meaty smells.

Additionally, dogs can taste food through smell even more so than humans. They have a special organ on their palate that allows them to do this!

With all of this in mind when talking about how dogs taste spicy food, it boils down to how dogs can feel the burning sensation like a human does, and combined with the havoc it will wreak on their digestive system, there is no purpose giving it to them.

Feed your dog a healthy diet of food made specifically for dogs that are free of fillers. This is the best way to ensure they live a long, happy life. This doesn’t mean this is the only thing they can eat. However, there are some human foods that dogs can enjoy that will provide health benefits.

Foods That You Can Give To Your Dog

Just because there are foods that we commonly eat that are dangerous for dogs doesn’t mean that everything is off-limits. In truth, many foods can benefit your dog’s diet, which include 5 essential nutrients:

  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

The following foods will provide a safe source of nutrition and act as a special treat for your dog:

  • Cooked Meat – The first one on the list is likely going to be a dog’s favorite. You can give your dog plain cooked meat such as chicken, beef, turkey, and pork for a fresh, unprocessed lean protein source. Ensure that the meat isn’t seasoned as too much salt is bad for a dog. The sodium that naturally comes from meat is enough, and your dog will be perfectly happy to eat it.
  • Carrots – Often associated with rabbits rather than dogs, carrots are a tasty, crunchy vegetable packed with fiber and vitamin A. Additionally, they’ll give your dog’s teeth a workout and clean them in the process.
  • Eggs – Scrambled eggs are easily digestible and are a great source of protein. You can safely cook a little bit more for your pup in the morning.
  • Pumpkin – Often the go-to way to relieve constipation for dogs, pumpkin contains fiber and vitamin A/beta carotene to help your dog’s digestion.
  • Apple Slices – These are sweet, crunchy, and contain a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. If you want to give your dog a healthy sweet treat, you can’t go wrong with apples.

If you want to do something extra special for your pup, you can make your dog treats at home. Here is an article we wrote about homemade dog treats your dog will love. And here is a video showcasing recipes you can make. These are perfect on their birthday or when you want to show that you appreciate them.

Is Dairy Okay for Dogs?

Yogurt and cheese are often touted as good for a dog that isn’t lactose intolerant. Ensure you are giving low-fat varieties and feed only plain yogurt to ensure they aren’t getting anything that could be potentially harmful.

There’s no way of knowing if a dog is lactose intolerant until they try dairy. If you are fine with taking that risk, give a small amount, and see how they react to it. You aren’t under any obligation to test this if you don’t want to.

If you want to cool your dog off on a hot day, instead of giving regular ice cream, we recommend Puppy Scoops Ice Cream Mix for Dogs. It contains real lactose-free milk and is specifically made to be safe for them.

Dairy is iffy for dogs since there are a lot of dogs that can’t handle lactose. If you have a pup that can happily eat dairy products, it’s perfectly fine. However, you can make plain yogurt and cheese for a healthy treat.


Spicy food isn’t good for dogs, and there is no advantage to giving it to them. You’ll only end up with a dog that has gastrointestinal problems. Humans generally have a choice whether they want to eat spicy food or not and are usually aware of how it will make them feel. A dog does not have this choice, and they likely won’t enjoy the burning sensation.

Instead, give your dog people food that is good for them, such as plain cooked meats, and they’ll appreciate it a lot more.