Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers? Which peppers can dogs eat? And specifically can dogs eat BELL peppers? In general, dogs can eat any kind of sweet peppers but should avoid the more spicy peppers.
Here we’ll explain which peppers are good and what their nutrient benefits are, how to prepare them, and which ones to avoid due to dogs having sensitive digestive tracts not designed for hot spicy foods.
Canine nutrition is important for a long, healthy life, it’s important to remember they have slightly different dietary needs from humans.
Can dogs eat bell peppers? Green, Yellow, Red
Dogs can eat any color of bell pepper – not only green, yellow, and red, but also orange, purple, and striped ones! However, red bell peppers contain the most vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients, being especially high in Vitamins A and C.
In fact, did you know that red bell peppers have nine times the amount of beta-carotene as other colors of bell peppers? Something else useful to know: the riper the pepper, the more nutritious.
What about bell pepper seeds, stems, and pith?
Eating the stems would be like eating wood! Dogs don’t have the right kind of grinding teeth for chewing bell pepper stems. They don’t have the digestive enzymes to process them, either. The seeds produce GI (gastrointestinal) upset in some dogs.
The pith is the soft, spongy, light-colored center of the pepper. Did you know that it’s also called the placenta because it attaches the seeds to the body of the pepper? It’s generally tasteless in bell peppers, but in the hot varieties, it’s where the most heat is concentrated.
Glands producing capsaicin, the irritating component of chili peppers, line the pith.
How do you know if your dog has indigestion?
Bloating and gas are two signs that might indicate indigestion. The gas might smell different from its usual odor. Some dogs might exhibit discomfort in the abdominal area. More severe cases can result in vomiting and diarrhea.
Many veterinarians recommend giving your dog cooked, pureed pumpkin — either canned or fresh — for a few days to help soothe the digestive tract and ease any offensive substances out the back door, so to speak.
Can dogs eat bell peppers raw?
Yes. Because raw bell peppers are crispy and crunchy, they may help satisfy your dog’s natural instinct to chew. Be sure to wash them well first to rinse off any residue of pesticides or soil that might contain parasite eggs. Using organic produce is always recommended but you still want to wash it to be sure it’s clean.
How often can dogs eat bell peppers?
Canines are omnivores, meaning that they eat a variety of foods that include both animal and plant materials, but the bulk of their diet needs to contain protein and other nutrients that aren’t readily available in the right balance in most plants.
Dogs can eat bell peppers often, even daily, but in small amounts. Any new food needs to be introduced gradually over time so you can check for indigestion, allergic reactions, intestinal blockage, or any other problems. Large dogs can have up to half a bell pepper daily, while smaller dogs can have one to three slices every day, no more than a fourth of the pepper.
The nutritional benefit of bell peppers
Bell Peppers are full of Vitamins, minerals, beta carotene, and other good things that canines need. At the same time, they’re low in fat, sugar, sodium, and calories. After you read this, you’ll never ask “Can dogs eat bell peppers?” again!
- Vitamin A: Good for eye health, skin, and coat
- Vitamin B6: Necessary for a healthy nervous system
- Vitamin C: Although an antioxidant that supports the immune system support, dogs’ bodies make their own vitamin C so they don’t need much from outside sources
- Vitamin E: Aids in healthy skin, coat, and immune system
- Vitamin K: Helps blood clot and form scabs to aid in healing
- Carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lycopene: Antioxidants; convert to vitamin A during digestion
- Pantothenic acid: Vitamin B5; Plays a role in energy metabolism and synthesis of proteins and fatty acids
- Capsanthin: A carotenoid that promotes eye health
- Quercetin: Antioxidant; anti-inflammatory effects beneficial for arthritis and some heart conditions
- Potassium: Mineral that helps transmit electrical charges in the heart, muscles, and nerves; also aids in maintaining appetite and energy
- Magnesium: Mineral with many functions found everywhere in the body; helps metabolize protein and carbohydrates to produce energy and manufacture fatty acids; vital for bone and cartilage in joints.
- Manganese: Mineral necessary for digestion and enzyme functions
- Carbohydrates: Sugars, starches, and fiber that provide short-term and long-term energy as well as aid digestion
How to make stuffed peppers for your dog
Your dog is going to love you for this! Your dog adores you anyway, but will adore you more for a unique meal filled with a variety of odors, flavors, and textures, especially with the added ingredient of love! Dogs are like us in that they love variety, so that means you can also create variations on basic recipes.
For example, with this recipe, you can cut the stuffed peppers into nuggets to freeze for later. You can also add more protein by including hard-boiled eggs and any kind of boneless chopped, cooked unprocessed meat such as chicken, pork, or fish, especially salmon.
Felissa Elfenbein, in sharing her recipe, comments that “the one downside to stuffed peppers is that I’m a clumsy oaf. It’s pretty much impossible for me to eat them without spilling all over myself and dropping a good snack on the floor for my dogs to clean up.”
Dog-Friendly Stuffed Peppers
5-6 medium red or green bell peppers
3/4 cup uncooked rice or quinoa
1 lb. extra lean ground beef or turkey (or beans for the vegetarians in the crowd)
8 oz. roast red bell pepper sauce (make sure it’s pure roast pepper with no added seasonings)
½ tbsp. each fresh basil, oregano & thyme
Pinch of salt
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese [mozzarella contains less fat]
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove tops, seeds and skin from your peppers. Drop peppers in the water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove and put in a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.
Cook rice or quinoa according to package directions and set aside. Brown turkey, beef or beans in a skillet. Drain off fat, and then stir in rice/quinoa, roast red pepper sauce, cheese and herbs.
Stuff peppers with your filling, being careful not to break the pepper. (If you do, you can wrap them with kitchen twine to ensure they don’t fall apart on the grill.) Store in refrigerator until ready to cook.
When you’re ready to cook, heat the grill to medium and place peppers directly on the grill. Cook until skin has browned (about 20 min), turning frequently. (If your grill is too hot, they’ll start to fall apart a bit. Just wrap them in foil and keep going)
Remove from heat and serve! Top with more roast pepper sauce, if desired.
Notes: If you prefer to bake them, preheat your oven to 350. Put a little water in the baking pan and pour over some sauce. Bake around 45 minutes, covered with foil during the first half of baking time to prevent over-browning.
How to prepare peppers for your dog
- Can dogs can eat bell peppers raw? Here’s how to prepare them: Wash them well to remove traces of pesticides, etc. Remove or puree the skin, then cut into pieces. Raw bits of skin can become trapped in the gums. This is less of a concern if you brush your dog’s teeth. If you remember a time when you had a paper-like sliver of pepper or peanut skin in your teeth, then you know how uncomfortable it can be.
- Pureed bell peppers: Wash thoroughly, then remove the stems, pith, and seeds. Use a blender or food processor, adding meat or vegetable broth for extra nutrition and flavor. Serve as is or add to kibble.
- Never: Never add seasonings except those that are vet-approved to be canine-friendly. Plants from the garlic and onion family, which includes leeks and chives, are toxic for dogs. You may have heard people laughingly assure you that “Oh, I give my dog that stuff all the time and he’s fine!” He’s not fine.
- He can’t communicate the discomfort he may feel. In addition, a toxin may not kill but it may cause damage that adds up over time. It also can weaken the immune system so when your dog is exposed to a germ or a parasite, he’s unable to fight it off efficiently.
- Cooked bell peppers: Cooking makes bell peppers softer and more digestible, but overcooking destroys some of the nutrients. Steaming is the best cooking method for preserving nutrition because there’s no boiling water to leach out the vitamins. Roasting is similar but often produces scorched areas that are tough to chew.
Can dogs eat bell peppers in treats?
Can dogs eat green peppers, you asked? By now you see that they certainly can, but red peppers are better for them. Here are two different recipes to share with other dog lovers:
Red Bell Pepper Dog Treats from DogTipper
3-1/2 cups rice flour
1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup minced carrots
1/2 red bell pepper
1/4 cup homemade chicken broth (without any onion or garlic)
2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash red bell pepper and discard the stem, pith, and seeds.
Add broth, eggs, yogurt, and olive oil to flour; stir slowly. Add chicken and vegetables, stirring until mixed.
Use a melon ball scoop or spoon to divide the dough into golf ball-sized balls. Roll, then flatten with the back of a fork on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a drying rack, then refrigerate.
Dehydrated Vegetable Dog Treats from Kiki Kane
You can dehydrate any dog-safe veggies and fruits but in this recipe we walk you through the processing technique for dehydrated bell peppers.
2 red bell peppers
Rinse all your veggies well.
Prep sweet bell peppers by removing seeds and white pith. Slice into 1/4″ strips.
On a large cookie sheet or sheet pan, place a clean dry tea towel or two layers of paper towels. Place veggies onto the dry towel, adding another towel on top and another layer of veggies on top of that until all the veggies are nestled in. Pat or squeeze gently.
Layer dried veggies onto dehydrator trays, taking care to make sure nothing is touching.
Dehydrate between 110-140 degrees for at least 8 hours.
You can use your oven instead of a dehydrator, set to the lowest possible setting. Start checking dryness at 4 hours and every 30 minutes or so thereafter.
When fully dehydrated, allow veggies to cool to room temperature, then pack loosely in an airtight container or bag.
Veggies dried crisp will last longer than veggies dried to the chewy state.
Chewy veggies should be eaten in the next couple of days or kept in the fridge ideally.
Crispy-dried veggies should last 2 weeks in an airtight container.
Can dogs eat green peppers?
Absolutely yes, but only bell or sweet peppers, nothing hot with capsaicin. Be sure to wash them clean of pesticides, agricultural wax, soil, and other contaminants.
Can dogs eat jalapeño peppers?
Absolutely not! No! Never! All hot peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that is very irritating to mucous membranes in the eyes, nasal passages, mouth, and all along the digestive tract. It will definitely cause your dog pain, later if not sooner.
What about chili peppers?
No. Granted that people in Mexico, Indonesia, and other places feed their babies hot peppers from infancy on, but humans have different digestive systems.
Is raw or cooked bell pepper better for dogs?
Raw peppers are crunchy and retain more nutrients but contain more indigestible fiber. Cooked peppers are easier to digest but heat breaks down the chemical bonds of some nutrients. Pooches who aren’t accustomed to eating vegetables or fruits might like cooked peppers, especially with a doggy gravy or sauce.
Can dogs have peppers in stir-fry?
Yes to all bell peppers but no to any hot peppers and no to garlic and onion. Some cooking oils are very beneficial for canine health, and you can add most kinds of low-fat, unprocessed meats as well as clean seafood. Dogs enjoy many kinds of vegetables as long as they aren’t gas-producing or too starchy.
Can dogs eat black pepper seasoning?
No. Black pepper should not be fed to dogs because their digestive system isn’t designed to process it. Black pepper isn’t even related to bell peppers but is a dried seed from a totally different plant. When in doubt, remember that any food that bites, stings, burns, or fumes is not good for your dog.
How many BTUs are in bell peppers?
No pepper contains any BTUs, which are British thermal units measuring energy required to raise the temperature of water. However, in 1912 Wilbur Scoville devised a scale to measure the amount of spicy pungent heat generated by the capsicum in peppers.
The scale is based on Scoville heat units or SHUs. Bells, sweet banana peppers, and pimentos rank 0-100. The hottest peppers rank over 1,000,000 SHUs.
Do dogs need variety in their diet?
Yes. Nutritionally they need variety to be sure they get an adequate amount of the right nutrients. Psychologically, as intelligent beings they need stimulation and new experiences.
What’s the difference between capsaicin, capsicum, and capsanthin?
Okay, so maybe this isn’t a frequently asked question but the answer might be helpful to know. Capsaicin is a compound made by plants of the Capsicum genus that causes a sensation of heat and stinging. In some countries, a bell pepper is commonly referred to as a “capsicum.”
Capsanthin is a natural red dye found in certain Capsicum species including red bell peppers, some chiles, cayenne, and paprika. It also is a nutrient promoting eye health.
In answer to your question – can dogs eat bell peppers? – the answer is a big YES for several reasons. Being pack animals, and you being the pack, your dog loves to share activities and foods with you. It’s bonding.
We’ve discussed some ways you can give your dog bell peppers, but we haven’t suggested how much it would mean to your dog for you both to eat the same meal together. Bell peppers are good for both of you.