Bell peppers are known to be very healthy because they are high in vitamins and low in calories. So the idea is to enrich the dog’s diet with a little paprika from time to time to do him something good.
But is paprika just as healthy for dogs as it is for humans?
Can dogs eat paprika?
No, dogs shouldn’t eat peppers. Peppers belong to the nightshade family and can therefore contain poisonous solanine, as is also known from tomatoes and potatoes. The nutritional content of peppers is not as valuable to dogs as it is to humans.
That is why paprika is completely unnecessary for a healthy dog diet.
Solanine in raw peppers
The solanine content varies depending on the color of the peppers. Green pods contain a particularly large amount of it. In red and yellow peppers, only green areas, the stalk and the core contain solanine. However, solanine does not break down when cooked.
However, some of it goes into the cooking water, so that cooked peppers pose a lower risk. If you have a dog that also helps itself if necessary, you should make sure that it has no way of secretly eating raw peppers.
Symptoms of solanine poisoning in the dog
If your dog has managed to eat peppers – in the worst-case raw green peppers – the following symptoms of poisoning could occur vomiting, refusal to feed, tremors, and lethargy.
If in doubt, you should consult a veterinarian, as strong solanine poisoning can damage the nervous system.
Vitamins and nutrients in peppers
Paprika is simply the vitamin C bomb among vegetables. There’s no doubt about that, but unlike you, your dog doesn’t need vitamin C from their diet.
Dogs can produce sufficient amounts of vitamin C themselves as long as they do not have an increased need due to illness. The nutritional value of peppers is therefore already significantly lower for dogs than for humans.
B-complex vitamins are abundant in paprika, as well as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These nutrients, which are in principle quite valuable, are in a rather unfavorable ratio for dogs. The high potassium content can have an undesirably strong dehydrating effect.
The magnesium content is to be regarded as positive in principle, but is pushed into the background by another circumstance: Bell peppers have a calcium-phosphorus ratio that is very unfavorable for dogs. They contain about twice as much phosphorus as calcium.
The ratio of both nutrients should ideally be balanced. Since meat contains much more phosphorus than calcium, a carnivorous dog should always be supplied with additional calcium (e.g. in vegetables). A vegetable that provides twice as much phosphorus as calcium is extremely unsuitable for this.
Is paprika powder also harmful?
That cannot be said across the board. The spice powder is made from red pulp, so it initially contains less solanine. As the spice becomes hotter, the proportion of the added kernels and seed threads increases.
Since solanine is mainly found in the core of red peppers, the hotter the spice, the greater the likelihood that a paprika powder will contain solanine.
You will probably not serve your dog leftovers from particularly spicy food anyway, but if he accidentally gets any of it, you should watch carefully for any subsequent signs of poisoning.
Leftovers that are seasoned with mild paprika are usually not a problem. However, they are not recommended.
Medicines based on capsaicin
Capsaicin is the substance that gives peppers their spiciness. Its main effect in the organism is that heat develops and blood circulation is stimulated. At the same time, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects can occur.
This fact makes use of some drugs that are mainly given to old dogs for joint problems. There is no information on the possible solanine content of such products.
However, it can be assumed that the extraction of the active ingredient means that no more solanine adheres to the capsaicin.
Which vegetables are like peppers?
All relatives in the nightshade family can contain solanine. You should therefore not give your dog raw potatoes – especially not the peel.
Tomatoes are only good for him when they are ripe and red. Often tomatoes are red on the outside and still green on the inside. Your dog won’t get this, so you should get raw, whole tomatoes out of the way.
Is there any dog food with paprika?
There is no ready-made feed with peppers. However, food supplements for dogs with joint problems are commercially available. In addition to capsaicin, they contain other nutrient extracts that have a beneficial effect on the joints and the musculoskeletal system.
The company Nutrilabs provides different variants under the name Canicox. The preparations can help with osteoarthritis, dysplasia, and other diseases of the musculoskeletal system by relieving pain and inflammation, relaxing muscles, and promoting cartilage growth.
Bell peppers are simply not recommended for dogs
Although bell peppers can generally be seen as healthy, they are ultimately not so for dogs. Their nutritional composition offers no real benefits.
However, the solanine content can be disadvantageous. Occasionally snacking on a piece of paprika won’t harm your dog, but it won’t do him any good.