Is Black Pepper Toxic to Dogs? Can dogs eat black pepper?

dog and black pepper

Are you feeding your dog turmeric and want to ensure they are absorbing as much as possible by adding black pepper? Or perhaps you just want your dog to have the health benefits of black peppercorn in their meals.

If so, you may be wondering, if black pepper is bad for dogs or even worried that adding black pepper to your dog’s food may be dangerous.

Since our goal is to bring you heavily researched-based answers let’s take a look at what the research says about dogs and black pepper

What the research says

There isn’t much research about black pepper and how its safety on dogs in general, however, there have been several studies about the effects of combining pepper with other ingredients to develop beneficial results in the health of dogs.

One study showed that in combination with Gotu Kola, black pepper, or more specifically the piperine in black pepper, exhibited neuroprotective effects. However, this was not seen when black pepper was administered by itself. (Source)

Another study showed that black pepper extract was safe up to 1.5mg/kg for cats and dogs (Source)

Can dogs eat black pepper?

While the research shows that black pepper itself is not toxic to dogs, it still has the potential to cause harm. The spice can be an irritant and may lead to digestive issues if consumed in large amounts. So it is best to leave black pepper out of your dog’s diet.

As we have learned black pepper contains piperine, which can negatively interact with certain medications. One reason why you should always consult your vet before adding black pepper to your dog’s diet.

Honestly, in most cases dogs refuse to eat black pepper as it doesn’t have a very pleasant taste, in fact, some owners use it as a chew deterrent for dogs, so save your money or opt for a more beneficial spice and herbs to include in your dog’s meals.

The benefits of black peppercorn

black pepper

Many owners still opt to introduce black pepper into their dog’s diet even with the possible risks since it has so many benefits.

However, many of these benefits are only true for humans and there has been little proof that they carry over to dogs.

Piperine is the active compound in black pepper that creates many therapeutic and beneficial effects of black pepper. It has been said to be useful in the treatment of various diseases like chronic inflammation, cardiac disease, liver disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.


The spice is rich in antioxidants, which can help support immune health


Black pepper is well-known for its antibacterial properties that may aid in the prevention of infection.


Black pepper may also aid in healthy digestion by stimulating gastrointestinal secretions and helping with fat metabolism.

The risks of feeding your dog black pepper

dog eating

GI Upset

If given too much black pepper, your dog can develop an upset stomach and possibly even vomiting and diarrhea

Respiratory Complications

As we all know, inhaling black pepper can send humans into a sneezing frenzy as well as irritate the eyes, this is no different for dogs.

Blood Pressure

Piperine in black pepper is known to reduce blood pressure, in fact, that’s why some people include it in their daily meals. However, you don’t want to run the risk of this happening to your dog as it could be life-threatening

Medication Interactions

If your dog is on medication black pepper may interfere with their effects, specifically medications meant to slow blood clotting.

Alternatives to black pepper

If you want to season your dog’s food there are some healthy and safer options available

  • Basil: Basil is safe for dogs in small quantities, it is high in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants
  • Oregano: Oregano is safe for dogs when fed in moderation, it has many health benefits. In fact, many dog food manufacturers already include it in their formulation.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is a great spice for dogs, again when given in moderation and in the appropriate doses. If you want to read more about feeding your dog turmeric including how much to feed, read our guide about it here.

Do dogs need seasonings on their food?

black pepper

Dogs do not need or in most cases even want seasonings on their food.

If you are looking for something that will bring more flavor to your dog’s food to make it more palatable consider an over-the-counter ‘dog seasoning’ or toppers formulated specifically with dogs in mind.

Alternatives for turmeric absorption

You may be aware that the curcumin in turmeric is best absorbed with piperine from black pepper. So what about ensuring optimal turmeric absorption?

Instead of pepper, you can opt to use a fat like coconut oil, fish oil, or olive oil to ensure the curcumin is readily absorbed by your dog’s gut.

However, these come with their own set of problems at times so keep in mind that while these oils are generally safe for dogs, you should keep a close eye on your dog for an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, or signs of an allergic reaction.

In addition, The high-fat content of many oils may put your dog at a higher risk for developing pancreatitis.


In conclusion, our take is to leave black pepper out of your dog’s diet and try a preformulated topper for dogs if you think your dog isn’t enjoying their current food and you want to spice it up.

Also, remember to do everything in moderation, a little goes a long way so even if you decide to add some alternatives to black pepper to your dog’s diet only give a little at a time and get the proper amount for your dog’s size.

However, if you decide to include black pepper in your dog’s food remember that it is important to speak with your veterinarian or animal nutritionist before introducing any new flavors or spices to your pet’s diet. New ingredients should be introduced in small amounts and monitored for any adverse reactions. If symptoms such as vomiting, appetite loss, or skin irritation occur. discontinue use immediately.