Have you ever wondered, are bell peppers good for dogs? I know they are healthy for people. What are the benefits of bell peppers for dogs? As loving pet owners, it is natural to ask yourself these questions, and we are here to help find the right answers.
This article will look at the health benefits bell peppers can offer your dog and answer many of the most frequently asked questions about dogs and bell peppers.
Are Bell Peppers Good for Dogs?
Yes, bell peppers are good for dogs. Bell peppers are nutrient-dense and rich in plant compounds that can help maintain and improve your dog’s health.
A partial listing of the nutrients in bell peppers includes:
- Vitamin A (beta carotene)
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Other beneficial compounds that bell peppers provide:
Capsanthin– helps protect against cancer
Lutein– supports eye health
Luteolin– supports many primary bodily functions
Quercetin– helps in fighting many chronic diseases
Violaxanthin– a potent antioxidant
Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers?
Yes, dogs can eat bell peppers. Dog experts consider capsicum to be a very healthy snack for dogs. However, some thoughts should be kept in mind.
A dog’s digestive system has not evolved to handle plant matter. They are, by nature, meat-eaters. This means that you should introduce bell peppers into their diet slowly and in moderation to avoid stomach upset.
It is best to not feed small breeds over one-fourth of a bell pepper at a time, and large breeds, over sixty pounds, shouldn’t receive over a half. Some dogs adapt to eating bell peppers without any issues, but many will develop vomiting and diarrhea if fed too much, too fast.
There is one other note of caution that dog owners should always remember. Though it can be tempting to let our furry friends snack off our plates, you should never give dogs bell peppers cooked with onions or garlic. Both of these common ingredients can be toxic to canines.
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers for Dogs
Bell peppers are loaded with nutrition and healthy plant compounds and offer a wide variety of health benefits to humans and dogs alike. Here is a partial list of ways bell peppers could improve your fur baby’s health.
Protects Eye Health
Bell peppers contain a high concentration of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. This is the same compound that gives carrots their color and makes them excellent for the eyes.
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that protects the retina from free radical damage and helps keep the lens flexible. Vitamin A is also essential for maintaining your pet’s skin, coat, and bones.
Promotes Healthy Hormone Levels
The be complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9) found in bell peppers promote the production and regulation of hormone levels. They are also critical to the manufacture and utilization of amino acids in your dog’s body.
Helps Maintain Brain and Body Functions
The importance of B vitamins cannot be overrated. In addition to the benefits listed above, they are key to your dog’s ability to produce neurotransmitters. These are the chemicals that make it possible for your friend’s brain to function and communicate with their body.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Bell peppers are extremely high in antioxidants. These are vitamins and other chemical compounds that fight the effects of free radicals.
Free radical damage, especially to the cell DNA, is believed to contribute to cancer development. Several studies have determined that a diet high in natural antioxidants may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Reduces the Risk of Anemia
One of the chief causes of anemia in dogs is low iron levels. Iron is critical to the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Bell peppers contain a fair amount of iron but, more importantly, are very high in vitamin C.
Vitamin C increases the body’s absorption rate of iron from the capsicum itself and from everything else they eat.
Promotes Strong Bones
Bell peppers contain a considerable amount of vitamin K and some calcium. Most of us know the importance of calcium in building and maintaining strong bones, but research has found a direct link between vitamin K and bone density.
Adding bell peppers to your dog’s diet could help assure strong bone development in puppies and prevent bone density loss in older dogs.
Please note that bell peppers also contain a significant amount of phosphorous, essential to bone health, but can counteract some medications. If you have an older fur baby with health issues, consult your veterinarian before adding capsicum to their diet.
Helps Maintain Healthy Weight
Bell peppers help your pet maintain a healthy weight and fat percentage in two significant ways. They are high in fiber which promotes a healthy digestive system and lowers hunger sensations, and also contain a fair amount of manganese.
Manganese aids in muscle development and also helps in regulating canines’ metabolic rate. This allows your pet’s body to burn more fat and build more muscle.
Increased Reproductive Health
Nutrition plays a major role in the reproductive health of any animal. The act of creating new life places a tremendous toll on a dog’s body. Bell peppers, with their high nutritional density, help support canines’ overall health.
Of particular note are capsicum’s magnesium, manganese, and vitamin K levels. Magnesium helps regulate your puppy’s entire system, including aiding in the absorption of all other vitamins and minerals. It is also key to protein adaptation.
Manganese plays a significant role in creating amino acids, carbohydrate and protein utilization, and tendon and ligament health.
Vitamin K increases calcium utilization and is essential to the development of strong bones.
Improves Overall Health
The sum of all the information above is that bell peppers are a very healthy addition to your dog’s diet. While you should only feed your friend capsicum in moderation, bell peppers contain a host of beneficial antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other compounds that will improve your dog’s overall health.
How to Prepare Them
The best way to feed bell peppers to your dog is raw, thinly sliced, and unseasoned. Bell pepper skin can be tough and difficult for some older or smaller dogs to chew. In those cases, it is OK to steam or lightly sauté the capsicum to soften it.
It is best to cook bell peppers as lightly as possible because many of the beneficial compounds are volatile and will cook away. Vitamin C is especially subject to being lost through cooking. Even simple sautéing can reduce its concentration by 50 percent.
An alternative to cooking is to puree the bell pepper and add it to your dog’s food. As with any food item, it is always best to consult your pet’s veterinarian before adding anything new to their diet.
How Much Bell Pepper Can a Dog Eat?
Veterinarians recommend limiting the amount of bell pepper you give your K-9 companions to half a medium pepper per day for breeds over 60 pounds and no more than one-quarter of pepper for smaller animals.
Some animals may tolerate more than this but exceeding these limits runs the risk of causing stomach discomfort. You should introduce capsicum into your pet’s diet slowly and allow their systems time to adapt to this new food source.
Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers Raw?
Yes, dogs can eat raw bell peppers. Some dogs with dental issues or smaller mouths may have trouble chewing raw bell pepper. In these cases, you have the option of lightly sauteing, steaming, or pureeing the capsicum.
Why Does My Dog Like Bell Peppers?
Dogs like bell peppers for the same reasons that people do; they are delicious. Green bell peppers have a tangy flavor, red capsicum can be very sweet, and yellows fall somewhere in between. Uncooked bell peppers contain their total volume of nutrients and are the best way for your pet to gain maximum benefit from them.
Just like people, not all dogs will love bell peppers. While some will think they are the most sumptuous treats ever, others will turn up their noses at them. As anyone with a fur baby knows, dogs are as individual as their masters. They all have their likes and dislikes and can be very picky about what they eat.
- Only feed your dog the flesh and skin of the bell pepper. The core and seeds can be a choking hazard.
- You should not season bell peppers before giving them to your dog. Excess salt is not good for canines, and some common seasonings like garlic and onions can poison them.
- Bell pepper skin can be difficult for some dogs to chew and digest. If your dog has dental problems or experiences stomach upset, you can try cooking or pureeing the bell peppers.
- You should never feed your pets any type of pepper other than bell pepper. All other peppers contain some amount of capsaicin, the chemical compound that makes peppers hot. Even if extremely mild to you, they could cause your pet distress.
- Always consult your veterinarian before adding bell peppers to your dog’s diet. Capsicum is generally regarded as safe for dogs, but only a qualified vet with knowledge of your pet’s medical history can speak with total authority.
American Kennel Club “Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers?” https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-bell-peppers/
National Institutes of Health “Dietary Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenoids and Their Role in Eye Health” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/
National Institutes of Health “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Carotenoid Biosynthesis in Peppers” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3794819/
American Chemical Society “Characterization and Quantitation of Antioxidant Constituents of Sweet Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.)” https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0497915
National Institutes of Health “Vitamin K Fact Sheet for Health Professionals” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional/#h7
Institute of Food Science and Technology “Antioxidant content of different colored sweet peppers, white, green, yellow, orange and red (Capsicum annuum L.)” https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2006.01368.x
NIH Office of Dietary Supplements “Phosphorous” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Phosphorus-Consumer/#h8
National Library of Medicine “Associations between lutein, zeaxanthin, and age-related macular degeneration: an overview” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19234943/
National Library of Medicine “The potential role of dietary xanthophylls in cataract and age-related macular degeneration” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11023002/
Taylor & Francis Online “Analysis, Bioavailability, and Potential Healthy Effects of Capsanthin, Natural Red Pigment from Capsicum spp.” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87559120902956141
National Institutes of Health “Vitamin E Fact Sheet for Health Professionals” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/#h6