My Dog Ate a Jalapeno and Seems Fine – What Should I Do?

Published on
Fluent Woof is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Jalapeno peppers contain capsaicin which can irritate or damage the gastrointestinal system of dogs. 
  • When dogs eat a small amount of jalapeno, it can cause gastric upset including vomiting and diarrhea, but ingesting more peppers may lead to ulcers.
  • If your pooch eats a lot of jalapenos, you should contact your vet for an examination and appropriate therapy.

You may have heard about the reported health benefits of jalapeno peppers for humans and wonder if it’s the same for our furbabies? 

While jalapeno peppers are not toxic to dogs, these and other spicy foods can cause severe gastric upset and damage your pal’s gastrointestinal tract.

In this article, we’ll examine how much jalapeno pepper it takes to make your dog sick, what to do when your pooch eats the spicy vegetable, and signs of distress or damage that you can watch for. We’ll explain what happens when dogs ingest jalapenos and how a veterinarian will treat your pup for various conditions related to eating the food.

Let’s get started.

How Much Jalapeno Does It Take to Harm My Dog?

Unless your pooch is allergic to jalapeno peppers, they must eat large quantities to cause serious damage. Sure, munching a few slices is likely to give your four-footed friend an upset tummy and possibly some vomiting and diarrhea. But there’s no need to panic.

However, if your dog swallows one or more peppers, you should call your veterinarian. He’ll probably recommend an exam to determine the extent of the damage. Also, contact the vet if you see blood in your dog’s stool or vomit. These are potential signs of an ulcer.

Some dogs are also allergic to the chemical in jalapenos that make the peppers spicy. In this case, even a small taste can be a medical emergency. Take your dog to the clinic immediately if you notice signs of an allergic reaction, including:

  • Swelling of the face and muzzle
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing

Usually, a few slices or bites of a jalapeno pepper may give your dog digestive upset and possibly vomiting/diarrhea but no long-term harm. When dogs eat one or more whole peppers, they should see a veterinarian to determine the amount of damage. For dogs with jalapeno allergies, even a small taste can be life-threatening.

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate Jalapenos?

If your dog ate a few bites of jalapeno or food containing some pepper, you may notice signs like:  

  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Reduced energy
  • Awkward postures
  • Reduced appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Loud stomach gurgling

When this happens, remove any remaining peppers or food that contains jalapenos from your pup’s reach. Next, you should take action to make your pooch feel more comfortable. If you have some handy, offer your dog some goat’s milk to neutralize the alkaloid chemical, capsaicin, that makes jalapenos spicy. When you don’t have milk, you can use water. For the next few days, feed your pooch a mild diet of rice or pumpkin and boneless chicken. The digestible ingredients will help to soothe irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.

If your pooch ate a lot of jalapeno peppers, contact your vet and let him know what happened. Watch for signs of stomach ulcers or peritonitis such as:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Blood in the vomit or stool
  • Fever

When you observe these symptoms, call your veterinarian and take your pooch to the clinic as soon as possible.

When dogs eat a small amount of jalapeno pepper, you can usually provide supportive care at home such as giving them goat milk and feeding them a mild diet for the next few days. If your dog eats a lot of peppers, contact your veterinarian and watch for signs of trouble.

When Should I See a Vet?

For minor digestive upsets, you may not need to take your furbaby to a vet. But there are circumstances when you should bring your pooch to the clinic for an exam and treatment.

  • If you see blood in the vomit or stool it may indicate an ulcer
  • If your see signs of an allergic reaction including:
    • Swelling of the face and muzzle
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Hives or rashes
  • If your dog eats one or more whole peppers

When you encounter any of these circumstances, your dog will need veterinary care. In the case of an allergic reaction, take your pooch to the emergency room or clinic immediately. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening emergency.

You may treat dogs that eat a small quantity of pepper at home, but there are other times when you should contact your veterinarian. Signs of ulcers or an allergic reaction call for veterinary care. You should also bring your dog to the vet if he eats more than one whole pepper.

What if My Dog Ate Plenty of Jalapenos But Seems Fine?

The canine digestive system isn’t designed to handle spicy foods like jalapeno peppers. Most pups will experience digestive upset after eating just a few slices of the vegetable. But when they gulp down one or more peppers, the capsaicin can cause harm to the gastrointestinal system. 

However, some pooches can’t detect the spiciness of jalapenos and similar peppers when they munch on them. So, you may not notice any signs at first. With large quantities or repeated servings of hot peppers, dogs can develop ulcers in the stomach or esophagus. Because the alkaloid chemicals damage the mucosal barrier in the digestive tract. 

The bottom line is that when your dog eats a lot of jalapeno peppers, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. The doctor can examine your pup and determine the best way to treat or prevent damage to the digestive system.

Dogs can’t handle spicy foods, but they don’t always sense when foods are hot.  Therefore, you may not notice problems after your pup eats a bunch of jalapenos. It can take hours to days for symptoms of damage to appear. So, you should call your veterinarian if your dog eats a lot of jalapenos.

Signs To Watch For if My Dog Eats Jalapenos

If your dog eats jalapeno peppers, they’re likely to experience an upset stomach with a loss of appetite and some vomiting and diarrhea. Some pups also drag their butts across the floor because the chemicals irritate their anus. If your pooch only had a few bites of pepper, and these are the only symptoms you see, you can probably take care of your pup at home. However, if you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction or an ulcer, you need to get your furbaby to the vet for an exam and medical care.

Signs of An Allergic Reaction

  • Wheezing
  • hives/skin rashes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face, muzzle, or tongue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Signs of An Ulcer

  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Abdominal pain

If your dog eats a small amount of jalapeno and exhibits mild digestive upset, you can usually provide supportive care at home. However, whenever you notice signs of an allergic reaction or a gastrointestinal ulcer, you should take your pooch to the vet for examination and medical care. 

What Happens to Dogs When They Eat Jalapeno Peppers?

When dogs eat jalapeno peppers, the capsaicin alkaloid irritates the mucosal linings of the digestive tract. Mild effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. However, because the canine system is highly sensitive to the chemical, it can cause more serious damage. 

Capsaicin not only irritates the mucosal lining in the digestive tract, but it also causes the stomach to secrete more gastric acid. With surface irritation and lower pH in the gut, the stomach wall is vulnerable to ulceration. If ulcers are left untreated or become severe, they may eat through the muscle and create a perforation or peritonitis. 

Dogs are sensitive to the spicy chemical in jalapeno peppers, so when they eat some, it irritates the mucosal linings of the gastrointestinal tract In mild cases, your pooch may experience digestive upset including vomiting and diarrhea. More severe exposure can lead to stomach ulcers, perforations, or peritonitis.

Why Are Jalapenos Dangerous to Dogs?

While jalapeno peppers aren’t toxic to dogs, they can be harmful. The canine digestive system doesn’t react well to the alkaloid chemical that makes jalapenos spicy. It irritates the cell linings of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. The irritation often triggers vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Capsaicin also stimulates the production of extra stomach acids which can attack the epithelium and cause ulcers. Ulcers are dangerous because pups may lose blood and become anemic. In severe cases, they can perforate and cause abdominal infections. 

Jalapeno peppers aren’t toxic, but they can harm dogs. The chemical that makes the peppers spicy irritates the mucosal cells in the gastrointestinal tract and it also stimulates more acid production. As a result, dogs may develop ulcers.

How Will My Vet Treat My Dog if He Eats Jalapenos?

If your dog ate jalapenos and shows signs of trouble, you should take him to the vet. At the clinic, the doctor will examine your pooch and may run diagnostic tests to determine the extent of harm caused by the spicy chemicals. Treatment varies depending on the diagnosis.

Allergic Reactions

When dogs show signs of an allergic reaction, the vet may:

  • administer an antihistamine like Benadryl 
  • give your pooch a corticosteroid to reduce swelling
  • provide supportive care like oxygen if needed

Digestive Upset

Pups that experience digestive upset can often be treated at home with some goat milk and a gentle diet. But if your dog’s systems are severe, or the vomiting and diarrhea persist beyond a day or two, you should visit the vet. The doctor can provide supportive care such as IV fluids and may administer H2-blocking drugs like cimetidine to help prevent ulceration. 


When dogs show signs of a gastrointestinal ulcer, your veterinarian may : 

  • Administer H2-blocking drugs to help reduce acid in the stomach
  • Administer medications to control pain
  • Give supportive care including IV fluids and blood transfusions
  • Perform surgery 
  • Start antibiotic therapy
  • Recommend a bland diet for several days

Mild digestive upset may be treatable at home, but when your dog has more severe signs, you should take him to the vet. The doctor will evaluate your pooch and treat him based on the findings of the examination and tests. Treatment may include supportive therapy, H2-blocking drugs, or surgery.

How Long Will it Take My Dog to Recover?

The recovery period for your dog will depend on how much jalapeno he ate and how it affected him. 

  • Dogs with mild digestive upset should recover in 1-2 days. 
  • Dogs that develop ulcers without complications usually show signs of improvement shortly after treatment begins. Full recovery usually takes 1-2 weeks.
  • Dogs with severe ulcers and perforations have a guarded prognosis. If they recover, it will take several weeks or more. 

The Final Woof

Jalapeno peppers aren’t toxic to dogs, but they can cause serious damage to the gastrointestinal system. If your pup ingests a small amount of jalapeno, you can probably care for him at home. But if you notice signs of an allergic reaction or damage to the digestive system, it’s time to visit the vet.

The chemical in jalapenos that make the peppers spicy irritates the gut lining of canines. As a result, it can trigger symptoms ranging from gastric upset with vomiting and diarrhea to signs of perforation and peritonitis. If your pooch shows signs of distress or if he eats a lot of jalapenos, take him to the vet for a workup. Treatment and recovery vary depending on the diagnosis.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

Leave a Comment