My dog ate Wasabi. What Should I do?

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Key Takeaways

  • Wasabi isn’t toxic to dogs
  • Wasabi is spicy and may cause irritation to the mouth and esophagus
  • Wasabi could cause tummy upsets

Finding true wasabi with your sushi is rare, as most of the green pastes that come with sushi are imitation wasabi. Nevertheless, they still taste very similar. True wasabi is a special Japanese horseradish. Related to other horseradishes and mustards, it’s traditionally prepared by grating the stem and then mushing it into a paste. Wasabi has a very pungent odor and a spicy taste, though the spice tends to be short-lived on the tongue. 

While it’s lovely for us humans, it’s not great for our canine companions. dog’s have much more sensitive noses than humans and also a much more delicate tummy than the average person. 

Dogs, in general, don’t cope with spicy foods well, and wasabi is just one that can give them an upset tummy – think vomiting and diarrhea in your future if they’ve eaten some. 

How much wasabi is toxic to dogs?

Wasabi isn’t directly poisonous or toxic to our pooches, and if they just had a tiny taste, you don’t need to worry in most cases. 

If, however, their tongue laps up a whole dollop, then you’ll likely see an almost immediate reaction of disgust. 

Dog’s have less taste buds than us humans and don’t appreciate spice in the same way us humans do, but they also don’t tend to enjoy the taste. 

Luckily a good sniff is usually enough to turn them off munching on wasabi, but you can rest assured that wasabi itself isn’t toxic to your precious pup.

What would happen if my dog ate wasabi?

If your pooch manages to sneak some wasabi, they’ll most likely instantly regret it. You can expect them to react in shock and disbelief that something they love, i.e., food, can taste so horrible to them. 

The most likely thing you’ll notice first is them rubbing or pawing at their mouth and nose to try to eliminate the taste. 

Some dogs start drooling excessively, fetching, coughing, repeatedly licking their lips, and swallowing or even reverse sneezing. These are all because of the irritation to the delicate mucosa in their mouth. These behaviors are generally short-lived.

The next step in their reaction generally comes in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence. 

Dogs aren’t evolved to eat spicy foods, and so their tummies don’t handle it well. You can expect these signs to develop within 24 hours.

When Should I Take My Dog To the Vet?

If your dog has just eaten a small amount of wasabi and seems fine, then you likely don’t need to contact your veterinarian. Simply offer your dog some water after eating wasabi to help them soothe their delicate tongue. 

Even if your dog has a short period of vomiting or diarrhea but seems bright and happy in themselves, you can probably avoid a vet visit – but if you’re concerned at all, then of course, you should telephone your vet for specific advice regarding your pooch. 

However, if you notice blood in your dog’s feces or diarrhea or the tummy upset persists longer than 48 hours, then you should contact your veterinarian for an appointment. 

Another indication for a trip to your DVM office is if your dog develops lethargy or dullness and abdominal pain or is refusing all food. In these instances, you should definitely contact your veterinarian for advice and an appointment to have your pup checked over.

What if my dog ate plenty of wasabi but seems fine?

Aside from the initial drama of your dog’s horror of having tasted wasabi, they will likely appear fine for up to several hours. Some dogs seem to have an iron constitution (think Labrador most commonly) and may not show any further signs of a problem having eaten wasabi. 

Other more delicate pooches may develop a 24-48 period of intermittent vomiting, diarrhea, and generally not feeling wonderful though they will often still want to eat small bits of their favorite treats. Once your dog is bright and happy in between bouts and is generally behaving normally, you don’t need to do a lot (except clean it all up, sorry).

Signs that my dog ate wasabi

Aside from a missing dollop of wasabi from your sushi platter and their horror dance, there’s often not much to tell you that your dog ate wasabi until the vomiting and diarrhea start. 

Even then, vomiting and diarrhea are non-specific and can be caused by a number of dietary indiscretions, so you may never know for sure who stole the wasabi. 

If you have other wasabi products such as wasabi peas, almonds, or peanuts, then you may find evidence of such in their vomit to provide some proof of who ate your last package. 

While wasabi-coated products tend not to pack the same punch as wasabi paste, they can still cause tummy upsets, and depending on the coated product, it could even be toxic, so be careful with any items and keep them out of sneaky pooches reach. 

How do veterinarians treat dogs that have eaten wasabi?

As vets, we don’t treat the wasabi ingestion specifically but treat the symptoms that come from it. If your dog suffers severe irritation of their mouth and esophagus, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication such as sucralfate to provide a soothing coating along the mucosa, allowing it to heal while providing some relief from the burning sensation left by the irritation. 

If your dog has repeated bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, your vet may give medicine to stop vomiting and reduce diarrhea, but these generally pass without incident (except for your poor whitedog) within 24-48 hours. 

Some dogs suffer longer bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, become dehydrated or lethargic, and need hospitalization to provide intravenous fluids, though this is uncommon. In these cases, your veterinarian will also prescribe medications such as omeprazole and pain relief to affected dogs. 

How Long Will It Take My Dog to Recover?

Most dogs that sneak a taste of wasabi recover in just a few minutes after the spice flavor has dissipated, but if your pooch has eaten more than just a tiny taste, then they may develop the dreaded vomiting or diarrhea episodes, and while these usually show up within 24 hours, they also resolve quickly in most cases. 

Most pooches that have had some wasabi and suffer the gastrointestinal upset that goes along with it are generally back to their mischievous selves within 24-48 hours and all without learning their lesson too. 

Final Woof

Wasabi isn’t actually toxic to our canine companions, but it’s still not a great idea to let them have some. 

The most common and immediate effects are irritation to the mucosa in their mouth and tongue and associated drooling and lip licking. 

Luckily, these effects are short-lived, and your dog will likely be back to themselves rather quickly. 

That doesn’t mean they’re out of the woods, though, Usually, in a few hours (and within 24 hours), they are likely to experience a tummy upset coupled with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Ideally, keep wasabi away from prying pooches, especially if they’re the type to not learn their lesson after tasting wasabi the first time. 

Photo of author
Since graduating from Dublin, Ireland in 2013 with an honors Veterinary Medicine degree, Edele has enjoyed working with as many species of animal as possible. Edele is currently working in clinical practice while studying towards Advanced Practitioner status with the RCVS in the UK. Passionate about education and writing, Edele’s goal is to maximize the pet-owner bond and welfare through education accessible to everyone. Never found without her middle-aged Weimaraner, Purdy (who still thinks she’s 18 months old), Edele spends her limited time outdoors with her horses, hiking and traveling home to Ireland to spend time with family.

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