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Can Dogs Eat Peppercorn? | Is Peppercorn Bad for Dogs?

is peppercorn bad for dogs

Like bell peppers, peppercorn is, quite shockingly, a fruit.  It is picked when it is ripe and the outer layer has turned black from the sun.  Ground peppercorn, or what is commonly referred to as simply pepper, is created by grinding up these peppercorns.  Humans can add it to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It’s a common spice in our lives, but can it spice up our dog’s life as well?  Let’s find out!  Can dogs eat peppercorn?  Or, is peppercorn bad for dogs? 

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Can Dogs Eat Peppercorn Safely? (The Short Answer)

Technically, yes, dogs can eat small portions of peppercorn in moderation.  With few to no health benefits, it’s not the best new addition to your dogs diet, but it won’t cause them harm either.  The most important thing to consider when giving you dog peppercorn is portion size, portion size, portion size.  Small portions are safe for dogs!  Larger amounts on the other hand can cause gastrointestinal issues as well as respiratory issues.

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Peppercorn Good For Dogs?

Peppercorn doesn’t necessarily fall under the classification of  being “good” for dogs.  It isn’t necessarily toxic, nor harmful in moderate quantities, but it also doesn’t have many health benefits. 

It does contain some antioxidants which are good at destroying free radicals.  Free radicals are a byproduct of metabolism and elevated levels of free radicals are found in dogs that are sick, elderly, exposed to toxins, or suffer from poor nutrition.  Antioxidants help get rid of free radicals and stop cellular damage from occurring. 

Peppercorn really has minimal health benefits and humans generally only use it to enrich the taste of a meal. It has virtually no calories, proteins, carbohydrates, or fats.  Peppercorn doesn’t contain more than one milligram of any vitamin or mineral. 

Overall, peppercorn is essentially a net zero for your pup.  As long as it’s given in small portions and at moderate intervals, it shouldn’t cause any harm to your pet. That being said, it also offers no real benefits.  Other herbs or spices such as basil and cilantro offer a new taste for your pup while including at least a few essential vitamins and minerals. 

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Is Peppercorn Bad for Dogs?

When it comes to peppercorn there is a very fine line between safe and unsafe.  Peppercorn isn’t bad for dogs in moderation, but it can be bad if too much is eaten in one sitting.  If you accidentally spill a significant amount of pepper on the floor and your dog immediately licks a majority of it up, you should consult a veterinarian.  If you put a small amount of ground peppercorn in your eggs in the morning and allow your pup to have a small bite, adverse reactions will be unlikely. 

Peppercorn can be dangerous in large quantities.  Peppercorn can be described as having a bit of a kick to it.  When that gets to your pups stomach, it can be rather upsetting.  In some dogs this could mean a bellyache, vomiting, or diarrhea.  Additionally, excessive peppercorn ingestion can cause irritation to the colonic or rectal mucosa.  This can cause significant diarrhea that can lead to hemorrhoids. 

In addition to gastrointestinal issues, peppercorn can even cause some respiratory issues.  If your pup was exposed to large quantities of ground peppercorn, they most likely inhaled a good bit of it.  This can interfere with the exchange of oxygen in their lungs and can cause hypoxia.  Hypoxia is the deprivation of oxygen supply and can have detrimental effects throughout the body.  It may also cause obstruction of the airways and damage to the delicate lung tissue.

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Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Peppercorn Sauce?

No, dogs should not eat peppercorn sauce.  Nearly all peppercorn sauces contain ample amounts of alcohol—sometimes mixing in more than a few kinds.  Alcohol can have severe detrimental effects to dogs including hypothermia, vomiting, coma, and diarrhea.  In addition to alcohol, peppercorn sauce contains heavy cream which has a high lactose content and can cause gastrointestinal upset and induce diarrhea or vomiting.  A lot of peppercorn sauces also contain garlic which is toxic to dogs.  Due to all the dangerous ingredients in peppercorn sauce, it’s best to avoid giving your dog any. 

Can Dogs Eat Black Peppercorn?

Peppercorn and black peppercorn are used interchangeably, so yes dogs can eat black peppercorn in small portions once in a while. 

Can Dogs Eat Pink Peppercorn?

No, dogs should not eat pink peppercorn.  We recommend keeping your dog away from pink peppercorn and the pepper tree on which they grow.  It is not toxic or lethal to pets, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs.  This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, heaving, or a general feeling of being unwell.  The sap and juices from the tree can cause skin irritations as well.

Can Dogs Eat White Peppercorn?

Yes, white peppercorn can be eaten by dogs!  White peppercorn is simply black peppercorn with the outer skin removed.  One main difference is that white peppercorn has less of a distinct taste than black peppercorn. 

Can Dogs Eat Green Peppercorn?

Yes, dogs can eat green peppercorns in small amounts.  Green peppercorn is simply unripe black peppercorn.  It still doesn’t have much nutritional value, but it is not toxic. 

Can Dogs Eat Sichuan Peppercorn?

No, dogs should not eat Sichuan peppercorn.  It interacts with nerve receptors on the tongue and can create a feeling of numbness which can be uncomfortable for a dog.  With a bit of a kick to it, it may also upset your dog’s digestive system so it’s best to avoid it. 

Can Dogs Eat Black Pepper?

Yes, in small amounts dogs can eat black pepper.  Black pepper is simply the ground up version of black peppercorn. 

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Have Peppercorn?

In small portions, a light sprinkling of ground peppercorn is safe for dogs, but any greater quantities than that may have adverse effects.  If you choose to feed your pup peppercorn be cautious of the amount you give and consider your dog’s size when portioning peppercorn out.  It shouldn’t be given often as a treat, as it provides no nutritional benefits.  The only time to worry is if your pet indulges in a large portion of peppercorn.

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.