Can Dogs Eat Mustard? Is Mustard Safe for Dogs?

Imagine it’s a holiday weekend, and you have friends at your house for a barbecue lunch. While you’re catching up on gossip with your bestie, you look across your yard and see your friend’s young son feed half of a mustard covered hotdog to your family pet dog. You smile, shake your head and go on with your conversation until a thought suddenly hits you—can dogs eat mustard? Is mustard safe for dogs?

Dogs are notorious scavengers when it comes to food. If you leave anything lying around that smells tasty, or you offer them any food that you’re eating and the chances are your dog will eat it.

It is estimated that there are almost 214,000 cases of pet poisoning each year in the US. After the ingestion of over the counter and prescription medications, the consumption of toxic foods is the most common cause of poisoning in pets in the US, so you may have good reason to worry.

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Okay, but Can Dogs Eat Mustard?

The short answer is no; dogs cannot eat mustard.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, mustard seeds are poisonous for your pet. All mustards are made from mustard seeds, and as such, you should never feed mustard to your dog.

mustard seeds
Image by GOKALP ISCAN from Pixabay

What Harm Can Mustard Do to My Dog?

In a situation such as the one described above, where a dog ingests only a minimal amount of yellow mustard sauce, your dog will likely be okay. However, anything more than a small amount may make your pet quite ill.

Toxic compounds in mustard seeds can lead to the inflammation of the digestive system and result in your dog suffering gastroenteritis.

If your dog has consumed anything more than a small amount of mustard, or they display any of the following symptoms, you should contact your vet.

Symptoms to watch out for
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal Pain (particularly when pressed)

I’ve Heard Mustard Is Used to Induce Vomiting in Dogs, Is This True?

Yes, mustard seed water is occasionally used to induce vomiting in dogs that have ingested foods or chemicals that can harm them.

However, according to veterinarian Dr Dawn Ruben, the use of mustard seed water has not proven to be very useful in inducing vomiting. It should not be given to a dog for any reason unless specifically recommended by a vet.

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What About Mustard Greens?

Unlike mustard, which is made from mustard seeds, mustard greens are safe for your dog to eat.

Mustard greens, like some other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, can be a rich source of vitamins and minerals (Vitamin A, Vitamin K, phosphorus and potassium). They are also rich in fibre which can help keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.

mustard greens
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

How Do I Feed Mustard Greens to My Dog?

Dogs don’t chew their food the same way that humans do—they don’t tend to crush and break down the cell walls of leafy vegetables before swallowing them—so you should always crush, or cook and then puree mustard greens before giving them to your pet. 

As with any food supplement that you feed your dog, mustard greens should only be fed in moderation.  

But I’ve Heard That Mustard Greens Can Be Harmful?

There is some information available online that suggests that feeding dogs cruciferous vegetables, such as mustard greens, can be the cause of thyroid problems in dogs.

Much of the concern centres on the fact these vegetables contain minute amounts of Goitrogen; a substance that can cause the thyroid gland to swell impact on its functioning. However, according to veterinarian and dog nutritionist Jean Doods DVM, when it comes to feeding cruciferous vegetables, provided that you only feed them to your dog in moderation, the antioxidant and Vitamin K benefits outweigh the risks.

Of course, the choice as to whether or not to feed mustard greens is entirely up to you, and you may wish to err on the side of caution. As with all nutritional information, if you have any doubt, you should speak to your pet’s vet.      


Featured Image: fuji01 from Pixabay