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I am always very conscious about ensuring that I get all the vitamins and minerals that I need in my diet from natural sources, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Ideally, I would like the same healthy diet for my dog. But just because something is good for me, doesn’t mean it is right for my canine friend.
His digestive system is different, and some things that are healthy for me can be toxic to him.
As I was adding bell peppers to my salad recently as a healthy addition, I began to wonder whether they would also be a healthy addition to my dog’s diet. Can dogs even eat bell peppers?
The short answer to these questions is yes, dogs can eat bell peppers, and they offer doggy health benefits. But the long answer is much more complicated.
You can feed your dog bell peppers, but only with care and moderation, and while they are healthy, most dogs probably don’t need bell peppers in their diet. But let’s dive into the details.
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Benefits Of Bell Peppers
Bell peppers, or capsicum as they are known in some parts of the world (such as the Antipodes), are low fat, low carbohydrate, and low-calorie, comprised mostly of water, and also they contain lots of healthy vitamins and minerals that can benefit dogs.
Bell peppers are rich in vitamin A, which supports good eyesight and strong immune function.
They are rich in vitamin B6, which is essential for nervous system function and hormone regulation. You will also find vitamin C to protect against inflammation, vitamin E to support fat metabolism, and vitamin K to ensure proper blood clotting.
Add potassium, folate, magnesium, manganese and pantothenic acid, and this is pretty much a superfood! Plus, don’t forget that they are high in fiber, which supports good digestion.
Consequently, a little bell pepper can be a positive addition to the diet for dogs, especially if they are suffering from weight issues or struggle with constipation.
What Type And How Much Bell Pepper For Your Dog?
Dogs can safely eat any of the bell peppers, red, green, yellow, or orange. Just don’t accidentally feed them a spicy pepper! YIKES!
While these won’t do them any real harm, they will suffer badly with a hot mouth and hot diarrhea, which isn’t pleasant for anyone. If you have to choose a pepper, red tend to be the most nutritious and they contain more of the essential elements such as vitamin C.
Just like humans, dogs can eat their bell peppers raw or cooked. If giving it to them raw, blending it into a puree can make it easier to digest. If cooking, steaming is usually the best option.
Whatever you do, don’t feed dogs peppers that have been cooked with other foods such as onions and garlic.
All the foods in the onion family are toxic to dogs, this includes garlic, leeks, and chives, so resist the urge to give your pup a piece of bell pepper from your stir fry.
Check out our comprehensive article for a list of foods that dogs shouldn’t be eating.
Also, remove the stems and feeds as part of the preparation process. These don’t contain much that your dog needs and they are very difficult for them to digest.
Whenever starting your dog on a new food, only give them a small piece to see how they react, and monitor them for a 24 hour period to make sure they don’t develop conditions such as diarrhea.
This is why you should only ever introduce one new food into your dog’s diet at a time, so you know what is likely to be responsible for their reaction.
While most healthy dogs shouldn’t have any problems with bell peppers, dogs are all individuals, with their own allergies and sensitivities, just like humans.
Once you are satisfied that your dog is OK to eat bell peppers, you can feed small dogs up to two or three small slices per day and large dogs up to half a pepper per day.
But don’t make bell peppers a daily part of their diet; it should be something that they eat maybe weekly, receiving other healthy additions on other days.
Does Your Dog Need Bell Peppers?
While bell peppers are full of vitamins and minerals that are healthy for dogs, most dogs that are on a normal, quality, commercial dog food diet probably don’t need bell peppers added to their bowls.
Their kibble and canned food are already formulated with nutrient packs designed to give them all the vitamins and minerals that they need, and so bell peppers are an unnecessary addition.
Adding too much additional material, such as fresh vegetables including bell peppers, to the diets of dogs that are eating commercial dog food can actually throw their diet out of balance.
Dogs need to be getting about 90 percent of their nutrition from animal-based proteins. You can undo that balance if you try and add too many healthy vegetables to their bowl.
However, if you make your own dog food, or you are feeding your dog a raw meat diet, bell peppers are a healthy addition to the vegetable portion of their diet.
Again, just ensure that cumulatively, fruit and vegetables aren’t making up more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet.
So, the verdict? Bell peppers are not only safe to feed your dog but can be a healthy addition to their diet. But always be wary of adding things to your dog’s diet if you aren’t well-versed in canine nutrition needs.
While lots of foods are good for dogs, the important thing is that they have the right balance of all the things that they need.
Too much of a good thing can be detrimental as well. As a result, for most dog owners, it is best to limit bell peppers to the occasional treat.
For more advice on what to feed your pet, visit the nutrition pages of our website.
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