Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers

Dog Health February 21, 2022
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Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers

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Bell Peppers, of all colors, are an excellent treat for not only humans but dogs as well. Bell Peppers are nutritious, and contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients, especially when served fresh.

Bell peppers are always found in popular dog food as often as certain fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes or blueberries. Despite this, you do not want to feed your dog bell peppers every day. Most dogs can eat bell peppers, in small amounts and they can be great to feed your pup as a snack, treat or in his current food to change up his meal, in moderation.

Bell peppers are full of nutrients and they can be eaten by your dog either raw or cooked. Let’s take a quick look at the types of bell peppers and the benefits of feeding them to your dog.

What Are Bell Peppers?

You may believe that bell peppers are a vegetable, but bell peppers are actually considered a fruit. Bell peppers grow from a flowering plant in the Grossum cultivar group.

Bell peppers are different from other peppers like jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, or even banana peppers because instead of being spicy they are sweet. The various colors of bell peppers tend to have different levels of sweetness, with most people agreeing red bell peppers are the sweetest. There are other colors of bell peppers including green, yellow and orange.

Types of Bell Peppers

Green Bell Peppers are purchased more than any other color and that is most likely because they are the cheapest. However, all yellow, orange, and red bell peppers are green before they ripen. Because they are harvested before they are ripe, green peppers don’t have as high a concentration of nutrients and are not as sweet as the other colors.

Yellow Bell Peppers sweet taste and high nutritional content makes it many people’s favorite Pepper. These peppers are harvested from the vine once they have reached maturity and are full of vitamin C (5 times your recommended daily amount!), niacin, and folate.

Orange Bell Peppers have a tangy, fruity taste, making them sweeter than green bell peppers, and much more similar to the yellow and red’s sweet flavor. Just like its closely-related yellow family member, Orange Bell Peppers are a good source of folic acid, antioxidants, fiber, and iron, and have 3 times your daily recommended amount of vitamin C.

Red Bell Peppers  are among the sweetest of all Bell Peppers and go through the full process of ripening, allowing the natural sugars to enter the fruit to give them their signature sweet and fruity flavor. This ripening process also makes Red Bell Peppers very nutritious, packing each fruit with more beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C (that is more than a large orange).

Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are rich in vitamins A, E, B6, and lutein and are great sources of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are antioxidants important for a dog’s healthy immune system. Beta carotene can be converted into vitamin A in the body and is important for skin, coat, and eye health.

Vitamin A and lutein, as well as other carotenoids, help to support healthy vision while Vitamin C supports healthy immunity. Vitamin E helps to keep your dog’s skin and coat in good condition while Vitamin B6 is essential for a healthy nervous system.

Bell peppers of all colors have nutritional benefits, but the red ones are powerhouses of nutrition that owners should consider feeding their dogs above other color choices. Red peppers have been on the vine longer than green, yellow, or orange peppers, which means they have more time to absorb nutrients from their environment.

These nutrients are specifically known to help keep your dog’s immune system strong and can improve the health of their nails, teeth, and coat. However, do not let color dictate whether to share a few pieces of bell pepper with your pup. They all contain fiber, water, and nutrients that your dogs will benefit from overall.

How to Feed Your Dog Bell Pepper

Whether you feed your dog raw or cooked bell peppers, remember to always wash them thoroughly. The outer skin on a bell pepper may be too hard for your dog to chew and you may want to try steaming the bell pepper to soften it. Make sure you do not overcook it or you might lose some of the nutrients.

Steaming the pepper is the best way to cook it while preserving the nutritional value. You can even puree bell peppers to mix in your dogs food. There are benefits in either preparation method, so feel free to try both to see what your dog prefers.

Also remember to remove the seeds and stem from the peppers before you give them to your dog. These parts of the pepper do not contain as many nutrients and they are likely to be hard for your pup to digest properly.

Be sure that you are feeding your dog plain bell peppers that are not cooked with onion, garlic, or any seasonings. Your dog should never eat anything related to the onion family which includes leeks, garlic, and chives.

For feeding your dog bell pepper always start with a small amount and see how your dog reacts. For smaller dogs, start by offering 1 slice a day and work up to 3. If you have a large dog, up to half a bell pepper a day can be beneficial. Bell peppers are a great low-calorie treat and your dog does not need a lot to reap the benefits.

Possible Side Effect of Bell Peppers for Dogs

Bell peppers should not make your dog sick.  The only possibility of your dog getting sick while eating a bell pepper is if he has an allergic reaction to the plant, or if they have trouble digesting nightshade vegetables.  Most dogs are able to handle bell peppers in their diet on a regular basis.

Therefore, when fed in moderation, your dog can handle bell peppers with no side effects. The most important thing to consider is not feeding your dog too much bell peppers and only offer them as a treat or add them into your dogs food.

Feeding too many bell peppers to your dog can result in Gastrointestinal upset in dogs or stomach issues such as diarrhea, constipation, stomach discomfort, bloating, and pain. As with most other fruits and vegetables, this is to be expected because dogs are not accustomed to eating bell peppers. 

Final Thoughts

Your dog can eat bell peppers without any issues as long as they are provided in moderation and as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. If your dog has a reaction to the bell peppers, it may be  mild side effects. Bell peppers are not toxic to dogs but, if you are concerned it is always best to speak with your veterinarian.

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Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
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