Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers? Green, Red & Yellow?

Are you a fan of the pepper family like I am? If so, then you most probably like to use the likes of green peppers, bell peppers, red peppers, sweet peppers and jalapeno peppers in your cooking and like to get creative with them, which can surely make for some delicious meals.

And, if you’re a big fan of this vegetable and like to incorporate different varieties in the food you eat, it’s only normal for you to wonder about whether it’s safe or not for dogs to eat in their food or just eat a few pieces now and then as a treat.

Additionally the health benefits of this vegetable [1] provide daily nutrients and vitamins that everyone should enjoy and share.

So, regardless of what kind of pepper you’re considering feeding your dog, this article will let you in on all the information you need to know in order to ensure your pet is safe and healthy.

Can Dogs Have Peppers? Or Are Peppers Bad For Dogs?

Yes, dogs can eat bell peppers and they provide a good and safe food source with a lot of vitamins and nutrients.  They are also not toxic to dogs and can provide you a delicious treat to share with your dog by itself or by adding to their dog food.

However, just because it’s okay to eat a bell pepper does not mean any type of pepper is also good for your dog.  Continue reading to find out what kinds are best avoided and other best practices that you should also know about.

What Kind Of Peppers Are Good For Dogs? And What Kind Of Peppers Are Bad For Dogs?

Sweet peppers are good for your dog and safe to eat.  One of the most common types are bell peppers which can be red, green, orange or yellow.

Spicy or hot peppers are bad for dogs.  Including a Jalapeno, Habanero, Serrano or Ghost pepper to name a few.

Another way to look at it is if they have any “hot burn” feeling to them then they should never be fed to your dog.  This shouldn’t surprise you since any hot spices are also not okay for dogs.

Does It Matter What Color Bell Pepper I Feed My Dog?

Bell peppers in all colors are healthy and nutritionally beneficial to give to your dog, but the red ones have the most vitamins and nutritional value.

So why is the red bell pepper so much richer in nutrients and antioxidants compared to the other colors?  Simply put they have ripened more since they have been on the vine longer.

Green bell peppers are harvested earlier than the red peppers.  If a green pepper were left on the vine it would turn yellow then orange and finally red.  This is why a red pepper is packed with 1.5 times more vitamin C, 8 times more Vitamin A, and almost 11 times more  beta-carotene [2] in contrast to a green bell pepper.

Besides being much richer in vitamins and nutrients, ripe bell peppers [3] tend to be much more tasty than their unripe counterparts, and your dog will appreciate you for offering them something that tastes to heavenly.

Contrary to what some people think (and I used to be guilty of doing this a while back), a red bell pepper isn’t hot or spicy at all.

On the contrary, red bell peppers are some of the sweetest you could ever taste, so don’t make the mistake of disregarding red bell peppers as a treat for Fido just because the color red drives you to think that it’s spicy.

Don’t let this stop you from including green, yellow or orange bell peppers in your dog’s diet if you can’t get a hold of a red one.

Bell peppers of other colors such as yellow bell peppers, green bell peppers and orange bell peppers are also great options to feed your dog and are also rich in nutrients and antioxidants.

There are no health risks whatsoever associated with feeding dogs any color bell pepper, so you’re good to go from that standpoint.

Why Are Bell Peppers Good For Dogs?

So, what makes these wonderfully colored vegetables good for your dog?

The following list summarizes some of the most important benefits that you and your pet can get by including bell peppers in your diet.

Keep in mind that dogs don’t necessarily get the same net benefit out of bell peppers as we do.  There are differences in people’s and dog’s digestive systems and nutritional needs, but they still definitely benefit from the health advantage to a certain degree.

– Low Caloric Value: Bell peppers (and the whole pepper family in general) are some of the lowest caloric vegetables available out there, which means they can be an excellent snack for Fido to munch down on without the risk of getting overweight.

– Antioxidants: Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene that go a long way in helping to ease joint pain that senior dogs may feel because of conditions they have, such as arthritis.

Beta-carotene is also know to slow down cognitive decline and improve lung health in people.

Relating to the benefits of beta-carotene for dogs Dr. Jennifer Kvamme (DVM) wrote the following:

“Beta-carotene also works as an antioxidant, helping to prevent disease and infection. Its role as a precursor of vitamin A makes it important for healthy skin and hair coat, normal bone development, reproductive health, and general eye health. ” [4]

– Improve Digestive Functions: Bell peppers are notorious for the digestive system improvements they’re able to offer our bodies, and the same is believed to hold true when it comes to the digestive system of your dog.

– Decreased Gas: Is your dog feeling a bit too gassy because they ate one of their meals way too fast or ate something that their stomach is sensitive to? Bell peppers have the ability to decrease flatulence in your dog.

– Improved Immunity: Thanks to the high levels of Vitamin C found in bell peppers, your dog’s immunity and illness-fighting capabilities will be getting a boost.

How Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers?

You can feed them to your dog raw or cooked.  When preparing vegetables it is always important to wash them before cutting & serving raw or cooked.

It is important when prepping to cut out any seeds and stem.  The stem and seeds can then be discarded.

You can cut up and serve small pieces of the pepper raw or you can mix these pieces in with a meal of dog food to add additional vitamins and some variety in their food.

If they are a picky eater but enjoy eating bell peppers you could mix in some tiny cut pieces of bell peppers with your dog’s food in one of their meals to enhances the taste.

Although it’s perfectly fine to feed your dog raw bell peppers, some dogs may have a bit of a difficult time properly chewing which then could impact digesting the tiny bits in this form.

If this is the case with your dog, you may want to consider steaming any bell pepper pieces you want to feed your dog for easier consumption.  Also if they didn’t care to eat them raw you could try to steam them to see if they prefer them cooked.

However, always remember that it’s best that you don’t go overboard with feeding your dog human food that is not really meant for canine consumption.  Always be careful and consult your vet with specific questions relating to their diet.

If this is the first time ever that you’re giving your dog a few pieces of bell pepper to eat, then make sure that you only give them a very limited amount so you can “test the waters” and see if their bodies will negatively react to them because of an allergy or sensitivity.

In such a case, symptoms will start to appear shortly after and you’ll want to refrain from giving your dog any bell peppers in the future.

If, on the other hand, your dog’s body doesn’t negatively react to the consumption of bell peppers and all seems to be fine a few hours later (all the way up to a few days), then you’re cleared to start incorporating this vegetable into your dog’s diet in moderate amounts and from time to time, whenever your dog seems to need it most (hint, hint: treats!).

Resources

  1. Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/bell-peppers

  2. Beta-Carotene https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-999/beta-carotene

  3. Jensen, Lisa. “When Are Bell Peppers Ready to Harvest?” Home Guides | SF Gate, http://homeguides.sfgate.com/bell-peppers-ready-harvest-63724.html. 14 December 2018.

  4. Dr. Jennifer Kvamme DVM, Do Carrots Naturally Improve Your Dog’s Vision?https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_can_carrots_improve_dog_eyesight

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