Can Dogs Eat Jalapenos?

By Britt Kascjak

No, you should not feed your dog jalapenos. While jalapenos are not toxic and your dog can eat them, they could make him very sick. If your dog stole a jalapeno, it’s not life-threatening. But, you should avoid giving any to him. There are healthier snack options.

Are Jalapenos a Good Snack for My Dog?

Has your dog stolen a jalapeno and you’re worried about whether it’s going to make him sick? Does your dog beg when you’re enjoying a nacho platter and you’re considering sharing?

The good news is that jalapenos are not toxic and a small bite isn’t likely going to cause serious harm.

But, like people, dogs can experience side effects from the spicy kick. For some dogs, that spice can even be enough to make them very ill.

There are many healthier options available for your dog to snack on.

The safest choice for your dog is to skip the hot peppers.

Health Benefits of Eating Jalapenos for Dogs

Jalapeno peppers do offer some nutritional benefits for your dog.

Like most fruits and vegetables, they are a source of several vitamins and minerals.

This includes:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Manganese

But, these nutrients are all present in very low quantities.

To benefit from these nutrients, your dog would have to eat a large volume of peppers. Of course, the more spicy peppers your dog eats, the higher the risk of being ill.

For this reason, there are much better options to give your dog the vitamins and minerals he needs.

Health Risks of Eating Jalapenos for Dogs

Stomach Pains

Eating spicy foods can trigger a dog’s digestive system to speed up.

As food moves through the bowels at a faster pace, this can cause gas.

Excess gas can cause a lot of discomfort from pressure in the digestive tract. Common symptoms include sharp pains and bloating.

While this discomfort will pass, it can be avoided by not letting your dog eat spicy foods.


While it has been proven that spicy foods don’t cause ulcers, they can aggravate them.

If your dog is already dealing with a peptic ulcer, eating spicy foods can trigger symptoms. This includes an upset stomach, vomiting, bloating, or burning pain.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)

You shouldn’t give your dog spicy food if they suffer from IBS or IBD. This includes eating jalapenos.

Triggering either of these digestive disorders could pain, cramping, and diarrhea. But, they could also cause bigger health complications.

Those who suffer from IBD experience inflammation of or damage to the bowel wall.

When this flares up, it can prevent the digestive system from absorbing nutrients. This, in turn, can lead to malnutrition and weight loss.

Can Jalapeno Kill my Dog?

There are rare circumstances where pre-existing health issues could make eating a jalapeno fatal.

For this to happen, a dog would have to already be experiencing ulcers. Eating the jalapeno may worsen the condition by irritating the stomach lining.

In this case, it could trigger a condition called peritonitis. This refers to inflammation of the peritoneum, a lining on the abdominal wall.

How does a jalapeno cause this to happen?

A perforated ulcer may allow contents of the stomach into the peritoneal cavity.

A dog’s digestive contents are highly acidic due to the stomach acids. These contents can then  peritoneum.

Bacteria from the digestive tract can then cause an infection

This infection is what makes the condition so dangerous. Left untreated, it can quickly turn fatal.

Signs of peritonitis in dogs include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdomnial pain and/or swelling
  • Blood in the dog’s stools, diarrhea, or vomit
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Inability to defecate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Shock

If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

What Happens When Dogs Eat Jalapeños?

When a dog eats a jalapeno, the heat and spice comes from an ingredient called capsaicin.

This is the big offender when it comes to spicy foods making your dog feel ill.

Capsaicin can irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

Some dogs don’t experience any irritation or stomach upset. But many do, especially those wtih sensitive stomachs.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal tract irritation include:

  • Stomach pain and discomfort
  • Loud stomach noises (rumbling, gurgling)
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Depression or sulking 
  • Loss of interest in normal activities 

The good news is that this will pass as long as there are no other health complications involved.

Keep your dog comfortable and provide him with access to plenty of fresh, cool water.

It is always recommended to contact your veterinarian to discuss the situation. There may be unique circumstances at play with your dog’s health. 

Are Jalapenos Spicy to Dogs?

Dogs do not experience taste in the same way that humans do.

The average dog has approximately 1700 taste buds. Meanwhile, the average human has approximately 9000 taste buds.

They do taste the same basic flavors that we do – sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

But, most of the experience for dogs when it comes to food comes from their sense of smell.

Your dog won’t taste jalapenos as spicy the way that you will.

This is why your dog may beg for more spicy food even if it makes him sick. If it smells good, that’s enough for him to be tempted.

What Do I Do if my Dog Ate Something Spicy?

Your dog stole a jalapeno or some other spicy food, now what?

Before you do anything else, remove your dog’s access to any further spicy food. Clean up the garbage, store food, or move your dog to a safe space.

Take some time to establish exactly what your dog has eaten and how much.

Some spicy foods, like jalapenos, aren’t going to cause serious harm. But, ingredients like onion in foods are toxic to dogs and possibly life-threatening.

If your dog has eaten something toxic, contact your veterinarian immediately. Another option is to call the pet poison helpline.

Provide them with as much information as possible.

The vet will provide you with recommended next steps. This could mean monitoring your dog at home or bringing him to the nearest emergency clinic.

If you are caring for your dog at home, pay attention for any signs of illness.

If anything changes, don’t be afraid to call back for an updated recommendation. Remember, your vet can’t see what’s happening when he’s not present!

Finally, make sure to secure any spicy foods that your dog may be tempted by. This will prevent future problems. 

Can Dogs Eat Green Jalapenos?

There are several different varieties of jalapeno pepper, with several different colors.

Often green jalapeno peppers are those that are picked a little earlier. Most of these could change color to red, yellow, or orange for different flavors.

When it comes to your dog, the color or variety doesn’t make much of a difference.

All types of jalapenos have capsaicin. This means that they can all upset his stomach or trigger larger health problems.

Healthy Alternatives to Jalapenos for Dogs

The good news is that there are plenty of healthy, tasty alternatives for your dog to enjoy. Better still, they won’t make him feel ill after snacking.

Even though the following options are healthy, always offer treats in moderation.

Before introducing a new food to your dog, consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you determine the safe foods and quantities for your dog individually.

Bell Peppers

The most obvious alternative to jalapeno peppers is a crunchy bell pepper.

While they are in the same family as the jalapeno, bell peppers don’t contain capsaicin. This means that he can enjoy all the crunch and sweetness without the spice.

Plus, they are packed with vitamins making them a great choice to boost his immune system.

Green Beans

Another crunchy vegetable that your dog may enjoy are green beans.

These low calorie vegetables are often recommended as a snack for dogs trying to lose weight.

They are full of fiber, iron, protein, calcium. Plus they offer several different vitamins.


Packed with vitamin K, calcium, and potassium, broccoli is great for growing dogs.

These nutrients work together to improve bone density and promote strong, healthy bones.

Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Jalapenos?

While jalapenos aren’t toxic to your dog, they are not a safe treat.

A single bite isn’t likely to cause major problems. But, feeding your dog too many jalapenos can potentially cause major complications.

Plus, they are likely to leave your dog feeling very ill.

If you are searching for a snack for your dog, there are healthier and safer options available.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.