The Next Time You're Seasoning Food With Black Pepper, Be Sure Your Dog Isn't Around

Brush up on your knowledge of which spices are toxic to your pup.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

May 6 2024, Published 5:05 p.m. ET

A Dachshund dressed as a chef sits beside a pot and licks his lips.
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Whether it's cookout season or you're simply trying to amplify the flavors of a block of tofu for dinner tonight, you're likely reaching for some black pepper to grind over your meal. Unfortunately, many of the same spices and seasonings that make our human foods so tasty are toxic to dogs.

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Before you toss a bite of your meal to your pup, keep reading to learn more about whether or not black pepper is safe for dogs to consume and what to do if your companion canine inadvertently snuck a bite of food seasoned with pepper.

Ground black pepper is contained inside a wooden spoon while black peppercorns are laid around beside the spoon and inside a wooden scooper.
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Can dogs have black pepper?

Black pepper is on the list of spices that are unsafe for dogs, according to a Chewy blog. Pepper contains an alkaloid called piperine, which can cause digestive issues, including nausea and upset stomach, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a burning sensation in your dog's tummy.

Similar to how black pepper in the air may cause humans to sneeze, inhaling it may cause breathing issues in your pup (especially those with asthma) per Chewy.

According to a MasterClass article, black pepper provides no nutritional value to dogs, and the potential for adverse reactions is high. While they acknowledge that accidental ingestion of black pepper isn't likely to cause too many severe issues to healthy dogs, a bout of sneezes and tummy troubles may occur.

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In severe cases, according to MasterClass, hemorrhoids may develop from too much pepper consumption. The Spruce Pets recommends monitoring your dog's behavior for any signs of illness after accidentally consuming food with pepper.

Always consult your veterinarian if your dog has other medical conditions, or is displaying severe signs of distress after consuming black pepper.

A woman holds a salt shaker in one hand and displays a thumbs down sign with her other hand.
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Can dogs have salt?

Salt and pepper may be the winning combo on a plate of French fries, but your dog should likewise abstain from excess salt.

Salt ranks as one of's dangerous spices for dogs due in part to its role in causing thirst, increased urination, and in turn, dehydration of your dog.

Per, too much salt consumption may similarly cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea in your companion dog. Remember, your dog will meet all their daily nutrition needs from commercially available cans of dog food, so anything beyond their regular diet may cause adverse reactions.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the salt your dog receives from his diet is essential to his muscle and nerve functioning, but too much of it may cause salt toxicosis.

Salt toxicosis in dogs leads to cell damage and impairment to the brain and nervous tissue. This is potentially fatal to your dog, per the AKC, and is entirely preventable.

While a smaller breed of dog like a Chihuahua is likely to become sick from salt more quickly than a larger breed like a Great Dane, when the margin for error is mere teaspoons and tablespoons, it's best to avoid salt and pepper to ensure the short- and long-term safety of your dog.

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