As far as versatile ingredients go, countless culinary arts the world over have come to rely on the nutrition and tangy spice of the bell pepper.
Yet even as people enjoy the flexibility in their cooking that bell peppers offer, the issue of our pets eating peppers often comes hand in hand with that.
This is made even more confusing given how they come in so many different colours – green peppers through yellow and orange to red.
So, can dogs eat bell peppers? They can indeed – find out the ins and outs of how best to serve these to your pup in this guide.
Are bell peppers good for dogs?
If you’ve done any research into what dogs can and can’t eat, you’ll be aware that the list of what foods are toxic to dogs often seems surprisingly extensive.
It’s therefore commendable you’re making sure that dogs can eat peppers, not least since our canine companions have much less capability in digesting fruits, vegetables and plant-derived foodstuffs than we human beings do.
Luckily, not only are bell peppers safe for dogs to eat, they are not toxic. It doesn’t matter what colour they happen to be, either – for example, you might worry that green peppers, because they are unripened versions of their red or yellow or orange counterparts, are toxic for your pet.
Luckily, this simply isn’t the case – the only concern of your dog eating green peppers is that there’ll be marginally less nutritional value in doing so.
The vibrant red pepper, besides having the biggest spice factor, is the most ripened and mature of all the bell pepper colours.
Because of that, it has the most nutritional value for your dog – but of course, the hottest flavour in the mouth.
Some dogs will take to this spiciness better than others, especially given how sensitive dogs are with their senses of taste and smell alike.
However, you luckily have nothing to fear from giving any colour of bell peppers to your dog – it genuinely is a matter of personal preference.
Certainly avoid giving your dog any very spicy peppers, like chilli peppers, as the heat of those is actually the plant’s defence mechanism against being eaten – something humans have come to love, but dogs and other animals still find harmful.
When dishing up some slices of bell pepper for your dog, you don’t need to make anything too elaborate.
Your dog will enjoy the pepper just as it is, so don’t try to add any extra sugar or salt, and certainly keep the peppers away from anything toxic like onions and garlic – these are seriously risky things for any dog to eat.
Keep all this in mind, and portion up your bell peppers sensibly, and you’ll find that there are some marvellous health benefits for your dog to gain from letting these crisp, refreshing and colourful treats into their diets.
Health benefits of bell peppers for dogs
Our beloved furry family members are apt to gain the same benefits from eating bell peppers as their human masters are when they dice them up to mix into their meals.
Better still, every kind of colour of pepper is just as full of nutrition as the next, even if green peppers have a little less in the way of matured vitamin content compared to the fully ripened red pepper variety.
The kinds of vitamins you can expect a dog to enjoy from eating some cut up bell pepper pieces include Vitamin A and Vitamin E, and the peppers themselves are packed with healthy antioxidants overall.
You’ll find that ingredients like these do wonders for helping your dog sustain a glossy coat and a spring in his or her step, whatever their age.
As the vitamins in your dog’s diet increase, so too do the bright eyes, happy barks and energy levels overall in your animal.
Bell peppers also contain a decent amount of beta carotene.
This is very good for sharpening their senses, especially their eyesight, and also works wonders on giving your dog healthy skin and, once again, a lovely thick shiny coat of fur.
Vitamins overall are very good for helping your dog’s immune system.
This can be either through giving dogs extra vitamins to fight off any nasty infections or illnesses, or boosting their immune systems overall so that your pup is far less likely to be susceptible to such maladies in the first place.
Depending on which kind of tangy flavour of peppers your dog likes best, you might find they enjoy green peppers, red peppers, or the milder and middle of the road orange or yellow variety.
By all means, experiment away – bell peppers have nothing dangerous to offer your pet, especially if dished out in sensible and moderate amounts.
How many bell peppers can a dog eat daily?
While human beings so often are advised to get their five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, this is far in excess of what a dog would need to eat to get the same nutritional rewards – even for the largest and most hungry of pooches.
In fact, dogs have digestive systems so different to our own that trying to eat the same amount of fruit and vegetables as we do makes them more unwell than reinvigorated.
It can be easy to forget this sometimes, so used are we to considering our dogs as one of the family.
However, when introducing any new element to your dog’s diet, it’s important to be sparing, working out as you go what portions work best for your animal, and if he or she is taking to the new addition at all – or would prefer to do without.
In the case of bell peppers, just a few thin slices for a small puppy or young dog are more than enough – as they would be for any small breed overall.
Even larger dog breeds would need no more than a quarter of a bell pepper daily to feel the very best of the results without any of the drawbacks – and even that might be overdoing it, if it is indeed daily you’re dishing this up.
Keep an eye on how your dog reacts to different portion sizes, and certainly don’t be shy in experimenting.
After all, the only health risk of giving your dog peppers is that, by overdoing it, he or she might get a tummy ache.
What to do if your dog eats a bell pepper
However much we, as responsible dog owners, try and balance out our dogs’ diets to help them be their best, pooches themselves often have their own ideas.
As such, it’s not uncommon for even the most responsible of dog owners to discover that their dogs have begun to help themselves to things around the house.
However, there’s luckily nothing toxic or poisonous in bell peppers, so if you catch your dog eating one, there’s no need to panic, or to call the vet.
It’s worth noting, however, that the outer skin of bell peppers can prove pretty tough for dogs – both to gnaw into and bite apart, but especially to digest.
While the fibre content certainly does their system some good, it’s the kind of plant like material that their bodies simply weren’t built to deal with.
However, even if your dog is eating pieces of peppers that have had the outer skins removed, too much of this will also add to some tummy upset.
Luckily, these tummy aches are not as bad as indigestion that an adult dog might suffer from, say, gulping down far too much milk or dairy content.
It’s just some internal difficulty that they need to work through – so while your dog deals with all this, you might find him or her is a bit grumpy, with some gassy noises here and there and a lack of interest in doing much except sleeping it off.
Perhaps get some fresh water by for your dog to help them soothe this upset, especially if your dog has eaten a red pepper – the one with the strongest tangy flavour.
Having said that, don’t think of doing this as rewarding your dog for this behaviour – help your pet to learn that just eating whatever he or she likes isn’t going to be tolerated.
With so many fruits and vegetables being surprisingly risky for dogs to eat, it’s wonderful knowing that bell peppers are safe for dogs to eat.
Dogs can not only eat peppers, but they can get plenty of vitamins and nutrition for doing so, providing they’re served in moderation.
Dogs can eat green peppers as much as they can yellow, red or orange peppers – all those colours mean are different stages of ripeness.
See which one your dog likes best, and you’ll see some health perks in no time.