There are some great additions to your regular diet that can make just about any regular food pop. If you’re a fan of heat and spice, for example, you might love adding a little wasabi to some of your favorite dishes. As you enjoy your delicious meal, you might even wonder, can dogs eat wasabi?
The truth is that the question is not quite as answered as you might think. While your dog can certainly eat some odd things, not everything that your dog ingests is good for him or her. When you’re looking at something like wasabi, for example, you’ll find that your dog can definitely eat the substance but that doing so might not be the best for his or her disposition.
What is Wasabi, Anyway?
If you’re not an adventurous eater, you might not be too familiar with wasabi. This substance is incredibly popular at sushi restaurants, but it’s also become a rather popular flavor for snack foods like wasabi peas and even chips. It is usually used to add some heat to dishes that might otherwise be a bit bland, so it can even be used in haute cuisine as an additive.
Scientifically speaking, wasabi is a part of the Brassica family, a plant family that includes better-known substances like mustard and horseradish. It’s the family that many of us turn to when we want to add a little more heat to a dish.
Wasabi is actually really great for humans because it is full of all of the vitamins and minerals that are needed to keep people healthy. It’s such an important food that it was originally restricted for the use of royalty, but today you can pick it up just about anywhere that sells Asian foods.
It is, however, important that you understand that not all the wasabi you have access to is actually wasabi. The real thing is made from the wasabi plant and is fairly intense, while fake wasabi is smelly and tends to actually irritate the mouths of even the toughest human eater. Always try to go for the former when you have a chance, as the latter is definitely more of an irritant than anything else.
Can Dogs Even Taste Wasabi?
One of the things we don’t really talk about enough when we’re looking at dog nutrition is how dog taste buds differ from human taste buds. Humans actually have very sensitive taste buds, with over nine thousand of them in the average human mouth and the ability to tell five different flavor categories apart. Dogs, on the other hand, only have seventeen hundred taste buds, but they tend to make up for that by having a great sense of smell that can help them distinguish safe foods from unsafe foods.
What does this mean for dogs when it comes to spicy foods like wasabi? Simply put, it means that dogs don’t really get the idea of ‘spicy’. They don’t seem to be nearly as sensitive to a spicy food as humans, as they have a difficult time telling foods apart by anything other than category . A dog who loves eggs, for example, isn’t going to be able to tell the difference between quail eggs and chicken eggs—he or she will just know that he or she is eating something that broadly falls into the category of ‘egg’.
What this means for your dog is that he or she isn’t really going to be drawn to items like wasabi naturally. He or she will probably eat them if offered, but he or she isn’t probably going to register it as being a particularly spicy food, as it does take the dog some time to register this taste category. Some might take a few bites and walk away, while others will just clock the food as being a dog food and happily munch away until the wasabi is gone.
So is Wasabi Bad for Dogs?
While your dog can eat wasabi, it’s not very good for him or her. In some cases, your dog might actually have a hard time breathing because the faux-wasabi used in whatever you fed him or she has caused his or her throat to constrict. In most cases, though, your dog is just going to have a reaction to the fact that the flavor is hotter than what he or she is used to eating.
What’s more common, though, is an upset stomach. Just as some people can’t deal with spicy foods, some dogs can’t do the same. More so, a dog’s digestive system is different to a human’s so Fido will digest spicy foods differently. You shouldn’t be surprised if your dog is a bit gassy after eating wasabi, nor should you be amazed if he or she vomits or even has diarrhea. The big thing you’ll need to watch out for after either of those symptoms is dehydration, which can lead to further health problems for your dog.
If your dog eats wasabi paste or peas, you may or may not see side effects. Some dogs might munch away without issues, while others might get a bit sick after they are done. There’s really no way to tell what’s going to happen until your dog decides to actually eat the substance. After that, though, you’ll simply have to learn how to deal with the consequences of your dog’s snacking behavior and further know the answer to the question: what can dogs not eat?
What to Do if Your Dog Ate Wasabi
Wasabi isn’t exactly something that’s meant to be consumed in large quantities by any creature. If your dog did get into some kind of wasabi dish, the good news is that you shouldn’t have to worry too much. Your dog isn’t going to be poisoned by the food, but he or she may not be too happy. Your biggest goal should be to ensure that your dog has plenty of water to drink and that he or she is able to get outside and do his or her business quickly.
So, how can you tell if your dog got into the wasabi in the first place? If you can’t see the evidence, you can look for a few signs. Your dog might start pacing around or pawing at his or her mouth, for example. Other dogs might drool or whine, while some will simply let you know about the dog treats they eat by producing excess gas. Some dogs will be very clear about their stomach pain, though, and immediately move to vomit or diarrhea.
The good news is that most dog owners can just wait out these symptoms. In the vast majority of cases of healthy dogs, you’ll be able to sit by your dog’s side and wait for the worst to pass. The biggest thing to remember is that you do need to take your dog to the vet if he or she starts to show signs of dehydration.
What About Dogs with Medical Issues?
All of the advice above pertains to dogs who are already in good health. If your dog has kidney problems or has issues with his or her GI tract, you’ll want to talk to your vet before you give your dog any kind of product with wasabi in it. Wasabi can definitely be an irritant to many dogs, after all, and the last thing you want to do is to exacerbate your dog’s medical condition.
If you know that your dog is already prone to health problems, the best thing that you can do is to make sure that you keep wasabi out of his or her reach. If you know that you’re going to have to leave food out when your dog is around, you’ll want to make sure that it is stored in a place that your dog cannot reach. It’s also smart to start training your dog to leave human food alone in general, as wasabi is far from the only substance that will hurt your dog’s stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is wasabi toxic?
Wasabi is definitely not a toxic substance. While fake wasabi can often be an irritant, neither real nor faux wasabi is actually dangerous to eat. That does not mean that it won’t hurt one’s stomach or that it won’t have any impact on anyone’s health, but it does mean that you don’t need to contact a doctor just because someone has eaten wasabi.
Can dogs eat sushi?
As with most things, it really depends on what’s in the sushi. Plain white sushi rice is fine for a dog, but some of the other sauces and ingredients that go into sushi just aren’t made for dogs to eat. At best, a little bit of sushi might be a treat that a dog loves and that still hurts his or her stomach. As a rule, you really want to avoid giving a dog any kind of human food if you really want to keep him or her healthy.
Can I give my dog horseradish?
Can you give your dog horseradish? Yes, you can give him or her horseradish because doing so certainly isn’t going to kill him or her and won’t have any lasting health effects. It’s important to note here, though, that your dog isn’t going to particularly like having the horseradish and those spicy foods can make your dog sick. Don’t give your dog foods like horseradish unless you are prepared to deal with a dog who is unhappy, vomiting, and more than ready to ruin your carpet because of the horrible culinary experience to which you have exposed him or her.