If you love sushi, you might consider sharing some of your Japanese takeout with your trusty canine. And that’s perfectly OK. Sushi is generally safe for dogs to eat.
But what about the wasabi that comes with it? Is wasabi safe for your pup?
Wasabi is not toxic for dogs, and they won’t get poisoned by eating it. However, it’s still a good idea to keep it away from them.
What is Wasabi and Why Should My Dog Avoid It?
Most people know wasabi as that little lump of green paste that comes with their sushi platter. And while that’s normally imitation wasabi, the effect and taste are very similar to the real deal.
True wasabi is a Japanese horseradish that’s related to mustard and other horseradishes. It’s traditionally prepared by grating the stem and forming it into a paste. The prepared wasabi has a very pungent and spicy flavor. However, the spicy kick doesn’t linger like most other spicy foods. Instead, it’s a one-two punch to your nose and taste buds before quickly going away.
And while this a great bit of excitement and flavor for us, it’s not going to be so great for your pup. Dogs have a much more delicate constitution than humans and don’t handle spicy foods well.
What Can Happen If My Dog Eats Wasabi?
If your dog eats a tiny bit of wasabi, there’s no need for alarm. However, if they happen to snack up the whole lump while reaching for the last piece of California roll, you’re going to witness an immediate reaction.
First, your dog will probably panic in shock and disgust. You may notice them rubbing their snout all over the floor, on their paws, and on you to try and remove the taste from their mouth. They may also run straight to their water bowl in an attempt to ease the burning sensation. Your pup might start drooling heavily, sneezing repeatedly, or licking their lips incessantly.
But that reaction will pass almost as quickly as it came on. It’s what happens after where the real problem begins. Since your dog’s stomach isn’t designed to handle wasabi—or any spicy foods for that matter—they may get diarrhea afterward or become sick and vomit.
Neither situation is ideal.
What About Wasabi Peas or Other Snacks?
Wasabi isn’t only served in a paste format. In fact, there are tons of popular snacks made with wasabi powder. These often don’t pack the same punch as fresh wasabi paste and are easily munched on by humans. And your dog might actually like them!
However, while this type of snack isn’t as much of a threat to your dog, we still don’t recommend you feed them any. While the initial shock of the wasabi might be stripped away, the threat of diarrhea and nausea still lurk.
Should I Contact a Vet If My Dog Eats Wasabi?
If your dog does happen to snag your wasabi, there’s no need for panic. It’ll just be a quick uncomfortable experience for them—with a bit of embarrassment as well. Just give them some water for their mouths and some head scratches for their ego.
If vomiting or diarrhea continues for a prolonged period after consumption, don’t hesitate to contact the vet for further medical advice.
While wasabi isn’t necessarily toxic for your pup, it’s still not a great idea to feed it to them. There are some detrimental effects post-consumption such as vomiting and diarrhea, which isn’t fun for anyone. And let’s not forget the micro-trauma your doggy is going to go through immediately after eating wasabi.
All-in-all, it’s just best to keep wasabi out of your pup’s reach. However, if they do eat wasabi once, it’s very likely to be the last time. Your dog will remember the smell and flavor and go out of their way to avoid it.
Featured Image credit: sasaken, Shutterstock