A staple of refrigerators everywhere, bell peppers are used in all sorts of dishes, from sandwiches to salads, roasts, and pizza.
Our canine friends can eat some plain vegetables (though not those prepared in human foods like those above). But can dogs eat bell peppers safely?
The answer is yes, bell peppers are safe for dogs. They’re not toxic, and they offer many of the same health benefits they give humans. But you need to feed your dog bell peppers the right way so as to avoid any health trouble.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and risks of bell peppers for dogs, as well as how to give your dog this veggie in a safe way.
What Health Benefits Do Bell Peppers Provide?
Can dogs eat bell peppers? Yes, these veggies offer several health benefits for our four-legged friends. Plus, they’re a low-calorie food so you don’t have to worry about peppers affecting your dog’s weight.
The health benefits of bell peppers for dogs include:
Vitamins and Minerals
Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is good for your dog’s eye health as well as their skin and coat health. They also contain vitamin B6, which helps the immune system, red blood cell production, glucose generation, and more. Other important nutrients that bell peppers can provide to dogs include potassium, folate, and lutein.
Bell peppers contain plenty of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps support your dog’s immune system and reduce inflammation around the body.
The veggies also contain vitamin E, another antioxidant that promotes health in the heart, liver, immune system, and skin and coat. Last but not least, bell peppers contain beta-carotene, a type of antioxidant that your dog’s system converts into vitamin A.
Red bell peppers have a higher concentration of beta carotene — as well as nutrients like potassium, folate, and lutein — than their yellow, green, or orange counterparts. So, if you’re looking to feed your dog a nutritious vegetable, a red bell pepper may be a good option. However, all colors of bell peppers offer some health benefits.
Another way that bell peppers benefit dogs is by supporting their digestive systems. Bell peppers contain a high level of dietary fiber, which promotes normal digestive activity and helps to prevent constipation and diarrhea.
To give your dog’s digestive health even more of a boost, try Native Pet’s Pumpkin Powder. This shelf-stable powdered pumpkin is helpful for diarrhea and constipation.
Are There Risks When Feeding Your Dog Bell Peppers?
While bell peppers offer many benefits to dogs, they can’t eat them all the time or with other human ingredients. Let’s take a look at some of the risks of bell peppers for dogs.
Any human food that’s given to a dog in large amounts (even non-toxic ones) can cause an upset stomach or indigestion at best, and vomiting or diarrhea at worst. You should always feed your dog bell peppers in moderation, as you would any vegetable.
Large chunks of bell pepper can present a choking hazard, especially considering the tough outer skin of the pepper. Always cut the vegetable into small chunks.
Another risk of bell peppers: We often prepare them with added ingredients like oil, butter, and seasonings like salt, pepper, onions, and garlic. Many “human” foods are dangerous for our dogs. For example, onions and garlic are actually toxic to pets, so dog owners should make sure their four-legged friends don’t encounter any.
Finally, there is always the chance that bell peppers from the store, farmer’s market, or a garden have been sprayed with fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals you don’t want your pet ingesting. You can protect your dog’s health by buying organic bell peppers and thoroughly washing them before you feed them.
How to Feed Your Dog Bell Peppers Safely
So far, we’ve learned that dogs can eat bell peppers and learned about their nutritional value. However, there are a few risks involved when feeding bell peppers to your furry friend.
Here’s how to feed your dog bell peppers safely:
- Use moderation. Only feed your dog a small amount of bell peppers at a time, because any new food added to your dog’s diet can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. Consider it a supplementation to your dog’s diet or an occasional dog treat rather than a staple of the diet.
- Cut out the seeds and stem. The tough stem and seeds can be choking hazards. Only give them the flesh of bell peppers.
- Consider steaming peppers. Raw peppers can be tough for your dog to chew, and the outer skin might not agree with their digestive system. But you don’t want to give your dog peppers cooked in a lot of oil or butter. The best course of action is to steam peppers — this retains their nutritional value while softening them up for your dog. You can even puree peppers after steaming and spoon the mixture over your dog’s kibble.
- Skip the seasonings. Remember to avoid giving your dog any bell pepper that’s been seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, onions, or any other addition.
- Wash your peppers. Before preparing a pepper for your dog to eat, wash it thoroughly. This removes fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals that the pepper might contain on its outer surface.
A final tip: While bell peppers are safe for dogs when prepared correctly, other types of peppers are not. You’ll want to stay away from spicy peppers like jalapenos, cayenne peppers, and chili peppers.
Spicy peppers varieties contain a compound called capsaicin, which is responsible for the burning, irritating effect that these peppers have. Capsaicin isn’t toxic to dogs, but it can cause your dog severe discomfort and even pain.
Stick to sweet bell peppers — red bell peppers, green bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and orange bell peppers. And remember: Always check with your veterinarian or an animal nutritionist if you’re unsure whether something is safe for your pet.
Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers Safely? The Bottom Line
Can dogs eat bell peppers? The answer is yes. Bell peppers have a variety of health benefits for dogs and are not toxic. Red bell peppers are the most nutritious bell pepper, but all colors have nutritious vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help support your dog’s good health.
Bell peppers can carry risks though. Too much can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. Your dog could choke on a large piece. Peppers could be prepared with ingredients like salt, onions, and garlic that aren’t good for dogs. Lastly, peppers could have been sprayed with chemicals before you purchased or picked them.
Feed your dog bell peppers safely by using them only as the occasional treat; cutting out the seeds and stem and feeding only the flesh of the pepper; steaming the pepper to soften it for your dog; and giving your dog only plain peppers. And remember to avoid giving your pup any kind of spicy or hot peppers.
Follow these steps, and the occasional pepper is a safe and healthy treat for your four-legged companion. For further insights into your dog’s health, wellness, and nutrition, browse more articles on the Native Pet blog.