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Can Dogs Eat Horseradish? Potential Health Risks & FAQs

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Many recipes call for horseradish, an ingredient that is either loved or hated. While humans may have strong opinions of it, dogs are opportunistic and may get ahold of some. Don’t panic- while it is spicy, horseradish is not toxic to dogs. If your dog has consumed it, there’s no need to rush to the emergency vet unless there are signs of a severe allergic reaction. That being said, horseradish can still cause irritation and other issues that will make your dog uncomfortable. Read on to find out more about this strange yet spicy food to see why it’s not toxic to dogs, but still not a great idea to feed it to them:

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What is Horseradish?

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Horseradish is a root vegetable from the Brassicaceae family and is related to wasabi, radish, and cabbage. It’s a perennial plant that has been harvested for centuries, going back to Ancient Greece. It can be used as both a condiment and a spice, known for having a spicy, hot taste. Horseradish is especially prevalent in Slavic and Germanic cuisine, adding a kick of flavor to any dish.

The spice is felt in the sinus cavities and nose, making it a different kind of spicy compared to peppers or hot sauce. It’s not as spicy as hot sauce and chili peppers, but it certainly isn’t a weaker heat. Horseradish is often made into a spicy horseradish sauce, which is easy to make at home.

Horseradish is also known for its health benefits since it contains antioxidants, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber. One study found that horseradish may have cancer-fighting properties, making horseradish one of the top superfoods for health and wellness. It’s also in a lot of sauces and dressings, so it’s famous for many reasons.

Can Dogs Eat Horseradish?

Dogs can eat horseradish since this spicy root vegetable is not toxic to dogs, but the spiciness will most likely cause discomfort. Dogs should not eat spicy food as their digestive systems are not designed to handle it, so horseradish can lead to painful irritation. After consuming horseradish, your dog’s mouth, nose, throat, and stomach will most likely be in pain. Horseradish can also be hard to digest, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

If your dog has stolen some food with horseradish on it, check for signs of an allergic reaction. If there’s no sign of an allergic reaction, there’s no need to go to the emergency vet hospital. Try to make your dog as comfortable as possible, making sure to take them outside often if there are signs of indigestion. Since horseradish doesn’t burn in the same way that peppers do, milk may not provide any relief.

Is Horseradish Good for Dogs?

Although horseradish is healthy for humans, any benefits a dog could reap from it are not nearly worth the physical pain the spiciness will cause. There are plenty of dog-friendly supplements available that can give your dog plenty of health benefits, so there’s no reason to add horseradish as a health boost.

There are plenty of vegetables that are safe for dogs to eat that have similar vitamins like carrots, broccoli, and potatoes. These vegetables can add multiple nutrients to your dog’s diet without the burn that horseradish causes. Instead of burning your dog’s insides, add dog-safe vegetables that have similar vitamins instead.

Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere

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Potential Health Risks of Horseradish for Dogs

Horseradish’s natural spicy nature may taste good to humans, but it can be problematic for dogs. Horseradish can irritate the mouth, throat, tear ducts, stomach, and urinary tract, depending on how much was consumed. It can also cause digestive issues in dogs with sensitive stomachs, as horseradish can be difficult to digest. While it can be healthy for humans, it should not be fed to dogs for any purported health benefits.

Can Puppies Eat Horseradish?

No, puppies should not eat horseradish. Puppies have very sensitive stomachs and should not eat anything spicy. Whether it’s horseradish or chili pepper, nothing spicy should ever be fed to dogs, especially puppies. It can lead to severe pain and indigestion, possibly resulting in a trip to the vet’s office. Some spices are also toxic and can quickly become an emergency, like onion, garlic, and nutmeg. Puppies should not have people food to prevent digestive issues, especially puppies under three months.

Should I Give My Dog Horseradish?

No, you should not give your dog horseradish for multiple reasons. The painful spicy taste of horseradish is not worth any health benefits your dog might get. It can cause moderate pain to your dog, so it’s not worth feeding it to your dog at all. It’s also a root vegetable and can be difficult to digest if your dog has a particularly sensitive system. It’s best to keep the horseradish on your plate and away from your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Horseradish?

Although dogs should not eat horseradish and should be avoided, raw horseradish that hasn’t been cut, diced, or shredded is probably less spicy than processed horseradish. Still, it’s best not to feed it to your dog, and it will still cause unnecessary pain. If you have a garden and your dog tends to dig up things to eat, it’s best to fence it off completely to keep both your garden and your dog safe.

Can Dogs Have Shredded Horseradish or Horseradish Sauce?

As we mentioned above, shredded horseradish and sauces made with horseradish will be spicier than raw horseradish. Horseradish sauce usually has other ingredients that could be harmful, toxic, or hard to digest, leading to other potential health situations. It’s essential to prevent any possibility of your dog stealing some horseradish condiments or sauces to avoid additional problems that the spice will cause.

Is My Dog Having an Allergic Reaction to Horseradish?

Allergies happen and can be traumatic for both owner and dog, so it’s essential to know how to tell if a dog is having an allergic reaction to horseradish or any other food as well. While allergic reactions like hives and indigestion can be severe and need a trip to the vet’s office, anaphylactic shock is the most serious and life-threatening reaction. If your dog is having anaphylaxis, go to the emergency vet immediately.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction:
  • Hives
  • Redness of the skin
  • Indigestion/Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Face/Eyelid/Tongue/Lip Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis/Shock (wheezing, throat closing, organ shutdown)

If you think your dog has eaten something poisonous or toxic, call Poison Control or immediately go to the emergency vet.

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Can Dogs Eat Horseradish Summary

Horseradish is a root vegetable used in many types of cuisine, famed for its spicy, unique taste. Although humans can eat it all the time and will be fine, it’s best left on our plates and away from our canine companions. The vegetable itself may not be toxic, but the spiciness will undoubtedly cause unnecessary pain and irritation. Thankfully, if your dog has managed to steal some, there’s no reason to rush to the vet. If your dog does show signs of an allergic reaction, you may need to see a vet or emergency hospital. In general, human food should not be given to dogs unless you know it’s safe.

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