Can Dogs Taste Spicy?

By Coty Perry

Dogs can’t taste spicy but can only feel the burn of the heat due to the fact that they have fewer taste buds than humans. Spicy food is not safe for dogs and should never be fed to them. Their stomachs are highly sensitive to spice and many of the ingredients are not safe either.  

While dogs have an incredible sense of smell, their sense of taste is not strong. Can dogs taste spicy? Since dogs cannot taste spicy foods, they can smell spicy foods. 

Since your dog can smell spicy foods, they will likely want to chow it down and enjoy it. However, giving your dog spicy foods can be detrimental to your dog’s health. Your dog can develop various health risks from consuming spicy foods. 

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food?

We, as humans, tend to enjoy spicy food and might think that our dogs will also enjoy the taste of spicy food. However, giving your dog any spicy food is not recommended because it can cause more issues than you might realize for your pup. Even if you add a little bit of chili powder or sriracha to your dog’s food, they can become very ill. 

Spicy foods are toxic for dogs and can cause various stomach issues. Some types of stomach issues your dog might experience after eating spicy food are gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, and excessive thirst. All of these issues have the potential of causing your dog to vomit, which is painful and uncomfortable for your pup. 

Why Does My Dog Love Spicy Food?

Your dog most likely loves spicy food because he or she likes its smell. Dogs have a much more intense sense of smell than humans do, causing them to enjoy spicy food even if it is toxic to their health. 

Can Dogs Smell Spicy Food?

If you have given your dog spicy food and noticed that your pup loves it, this is because they enjoy the smell of the spicy food. Dogs have a heightened sense of smell compared to our sense of smell. While we only have 5 million smell receptors, your dog has 300 million. 

Your dog can differentiate between beef, pork, chicken, and fish due to their sense of smell and not their sense of taste. Your dog can taste the difference between meat and non-meat foods, but their sense of smell is primarily responsible for them liking foods.

When you give your dog spicy food, they likely enjoy it so much because the smell is so intense to them. However, spicy food is toxic to your dog, so you should not allow your dog to consume it.

What Flavors Can Dogs Taste?

The four flavor classifications

Dogs have the same four taste classifications as humans do, which means they can taste a bitter or sour flavor, as well as sweet, and salty. 

Due to your dog’s ancestry, a wild animal, like a wolf, also has unique taste buds specifically geared to taste the water. These special taste buds are found at the tip of your pup’s tongue, which humans do not have. 

This portion of your dog’s tongue becomes more sensitive after eating food with too much salt or sugar, causing their tongue to curl when they lap water. 

The theory behind why your dog has these special taste buds is that wild animals, like wolves, need more water after eating certain foods that could cause them to become dehydrated. 

Can dogs taste spicy food? While they cannot taste spicy, they can taste salt. They generally do not like the taste of salty foods and usually prefer sweet foods. 

Your dog is less likely to enjoy salty food because their ancestors in the wild used to have a diet that consisted of about 80 percent meat, which was very salty. 

Over time, dogs’ taste buds have become somewhat numb to salt because of evolution. Throughout the years, dog’s taste receptors have developed a liking for sweet human food, especially fruits and vegetables.

What Spicy Foods are Bad for Dogs?

All the spicy food!

If you’re wondering whether or not dogs can eat spicy foods then you should know this: All spicy foods are bad for your dog’s health. You should avoid feeding your dog anything containing chili peppers, hot sauce, curry powder, pepper, or other spicy seasonings. When your dog eats spicy food, it will experience a painful burning sensation in its mouth and digestive system. 

Your dog does not recognize that the food is spicy because they cannot taste the spice, but they can smell it. They might enjoy the smell of the spicy food but should never eat it. Hot peppers contain a natural ingredient, capsaicin, which is the main ingredient responsible for the spicy flavor. 

Capsaicin found in spicy foods can cause your pup to experience an upset stomach, stomach pains, or even more severe problems in your dog’s digestive system. Your dog can experience many health risks from eating spicy foods or foods with spicy seasoning. These health risks include:

Stomach Issues

When your dog eats spicy food, they are at risk of developing stomach issues. For example, hot peppers can cause stomach ulcers in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. If your dog has a stomach ulcer, you might notice lethargic behavior, vomiting, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, high heart rate, bloody stool, diarrhea, or excessive drooling.

Your dog could also develop canine pancreatitis from consuming spicy food. The most common critical signs of canine pancreatitis are fever, lethargy, diarrhea, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If your dog develops canine pancreatitis, it will likely be hospitalized and under the direct care of its vet. 

They may also be given IV fluids and medications until they can eat again. Usually, canine pancreatitis has a good prognosis when treated aggressively. To avoid the risk of your dog developing canine pancreatitis or other stomach issues, it is essential to avoid giving them any spicy food.

Bloating and Excessive Thirst

If your pup eats large amounts of spicy food, they will feel thirsty due to the burning sensation caused by the capsaicin. Your dog could become excessively thirsty, causing your dog’s stomach to become bloated from drinking too much water. 

A bloated stomach is a severe condition for your dog, and it will need immediate medical attention. If your dog has consumed too much water and has become bloated, you will notice symptoms of lethargy, vomiting, loss of coordination, glazed eyes, excessive saliva, and light gum color. 

If it is severe, your dog could have difficulty breathing, lose consciousness, be in a coma, or even die. It is crucial to pay attention to your dog if they have excessive thirst due to spicy food, as their health is at risk. 

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Capsaicin found in spicy foods can cause your dog to have a strong reaction, and they can experience diarrhea, vomiting, or other gastrointestinal issues. Luckily, vomiting snd diarrhea is among the more mild causes for concern after your dog consumes spicy food. If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, contact your pup’s vet and let them know. 

Typically, if you feed your dog a bland diet for the next few days, they will recover. You should feed your dog plain cooked chicken, or plain white fish, with a small amount of white rice. After a few days, you can begin to reintroduce their regular healthy diet back to them and monitor your pup for any recurring symptoms. 

What Spicy Foods are Safe for Dogs?

There are no spicy foods that are safe for your dog to consume. Any foods containing Capsaicin, black pepper, hot pepper, curry, hot sauce, or other spicy seasonings can cause various health risks for your dog. 

Even if it is just a tiny bite of spicy food, you should still avoid giving it to your dog. Dog’s stomachs are very sensitive when it comes to anything spicy, and you should do your best to keep your dog away from spicy foods.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Spicy Food?

If your dog ate spicy food, the best thing you can do for your dog is to call their vet as soon as possible. Your dog’s vet will advise you on what steps to take based on their symptoms. 

Your dog will likely be just fine, but it is always a good idea to be as careful as possible and let the vet know what is going on. Your dog’s vet will most likely monitor your pup to determine the severity of your dog’s symptoms. 

What Other Spices Are Harmful to My Dog’s Health?

There are a few spices that are harmful, possibly even fatal, to your dog’s health. You should avoid giving these spices to your dog as they can cause grave health concerns. These harmful spices include:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Leek powder
  • Chives
  • Nutmeg
  • Cocoa powder

What are Some Tips to Prevent My Dog from Eating Spicy Foods?

Here are four helpful tips to help prevent your pup from eating spicy foods.

1. Keep Spices Out of Reach

To prevent your pup from getting into the spices, you should keep them up high and inside a cabinet or closed container. You almost have to booby trap your kitchen because dogs can be very sneaky when getting into things. Always keep harmful items that your dog shouldn’t have out of reach so they cannot get to them.

2. Keep Your Dog Busy

Your dog might be trying to get into the spices because they are bored. It is good to keep your dog busy with toys and treats so your pup is distracted and forgets about the spices. As long as your dog’s needs are met, your pup will most likely not try to get into the spices.

3. Use a Baby Gate or Fence

Maybe it is most helpful for you and your dog if you try to prevent your pup from coming into the kitchen, especially if you aren’t home. 

An excellent way to keep your dog away from the kitchen is to put up a baby gate or protective fence, depending on the size of your dog. It is good to use a baby gate or fence if your dog has a habit of getting into items it should not have, including spices.

4. Clean Up After Eating

Some dogs try to snatch up any remaining food left unsupervised after meals. If you are eating a spicy meal, you must clean it up when you are finished, so your dog does not try to eat any leftovers. 

Your dog will be able to smell the spicy food and might be eager to get to it. Put the spices back in the cabinet and put the leftovers away as quickly as possible after eating a spicy meal. Also, put the dishes out of reach, so your pup doesn’t try to lick the plate.

Final Verdict: Can dogs taste spicy food?

Can dogs taste spicy foods? No, dogs can generally not taste spicy foods, but they can certainly smell them.

To avoid your dog developing health risks such as canine pancreatitis, stomach issues, or excessive thirst and bloating, you should not allow your dog to consume anything spicy. 

Photo of author
Coty Perry
Coty is a self-proclaimed cat whisperer and animal lover. Growing up his mom ran a dog training business out of his childhood home so you can say it was complete chaos 24/7. Today, when he comes home after a long day of writing about animals, he’s greeted by his two loving cats Marley and Cozmo.