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Can Dogs Eat Wasabi? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

In-House Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you love sushi, you might think of sharing some of your Japanese takeout with your trusty canine. However, sushi is not safe for dogs, as it contains raw fish. It can make your pooch very sick, so never give them any sushi.

But what about the wasabi that comes with it? Is wasabi safe for your pup?

Wasabi is not directly toxic for dogs, and they won’t get poisoned by eating it. However, it’s still a good idea to keep it well away from them, as it is spicy and may cause irritation to their mouth and a stomach upset.

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What is Wasabi and Why Should My Dog Avoid It?

Most people know wasabi as that little lump of green paste that comes with their sushi platter. And while that’s normally imitation wasabi, the effect and taste are very similar to the real deal.

True wasabi is a Japanese horseradish that’s related to mustard and other horseradishes. It’s traditionally prepared by grating the stem and forming it into a paste. The prepared wasabi has a very pungent and spicy flavor. However, the spicy kick doesn’t linger like most other spicy foods. Instead, it’s a one-two punch to your nose and taste buds before quickly going away.

And while this is a great bit of excitement and flavor for us, it’s not going to be so great for your pup. Dogs have a much more delicate and different constitution and food requirements than humans and don’t enjoy or tolerate spicy foods well. They have six times fewer taste buds than us, meaning they cannot appreciate spicy tastes, but it can still give them signs of an upset stomach.1

Image Credit: Moving Moment, Shutterstock

What Can Happen If My Dog Eats Wasabi?

If your dog eats the tiniest bit of wasabi, there’s likely no need for alarm. However, if they happen to snack up the whole lump while you were reaching for the last piece of California roll, you’re likely going to witness an immediate reaction.

First, your dog will probably panic in shock and disgust. You may notice them rubbing their snout all over the floor and pawing at their mouth in an attempt to get rid of the taste.Your pup might start drooling heavily, reverse sneezing, retching or coughing, and licking their lips incessantly, due to irritation to their mouth.

But that reaction is likely to pass quickly. What happens after is where the real problem begins. Since your dog’s stomach isn’t designed to handle wasabi—or any spicy foods, for that matter—they may become sick and start vomiting, with diarrhea and excessive gas to follow within a day.

Neither situation is ideal. Contact your vet if your dog has eaten wasabi or is experiencing any signs of distress, mouth irritation and pain, or digestive issues.

Other major issues with the Californian roll are the raw crab and avocado content. These are not safe for dogs and should be avoided. Your vet will advise you on the best treatment options in case of ingestion.

What About Wasabi Peas or Other Snacks?

Wasabi isn’t only served in a paste format. In fact, there are tons of popular snacks made with wasabi powder. These often don’t pack the same punch as fresh wasabi paste and are easily munched on by humans. But that does not mean they are right or safe for your pooch. If they accidentally lick a very small amount, it’s unlikely to cause them significant issues.

However, while this type of snack isn’t as much of a threat to your dog, we still don’t recommend you feed them any. While the initial shock of the wasabi might be stripped away, the threat of diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea still lurk.

sad dog on floor
Image Credit: Fran__, Pixabay

Should I Contact a Vet If My Dog Eats Wasabi?

If your dog does happen to snag your wasabi and any raw fish at the same time, it’s best to contact your vet for advice straight away. It’ll likely be a quick but uncomfortable experience for them. Make sure to offer them some water, along with reassurance and head scratches to keep them calm. They may be very unsettled after this experience. Depending on the signs, the amount they ate and other harmful ingredients, your vet may recommend you try and rinse their mouth gently with water before getting your dog checked out at their clinic.

If vomiting or diarrhea occurs, with the stool sometimes containing blood or your pooch being lethargic or refusing food altogether, immediately contact the vet for further medical advice.

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While wasabi isn’t necessarily toxic for your pup, it’s still a bad idea to feed it to them. There are some detrimental effects post-consumption such as mouth irritation, nausea, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, which isn’t fun for anyone. And let’s not forget the micro-trauma your doggy is going to go through immediately after eating wasabi.

All-in-all, it’s just best to keep wasabi out of your pup’s reach. However, if they do eat wasabi once, they may still not learn the lesson, so make sure you’re keeping all human food safely stored, as many of the ingredients are harmful to dogs. Your pooch may remember the smell and flavor and go out of their way to avoid it, but this is not guaranteed. You have to be their voice of reason.

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Featured Image credit: sasaken, Shutterstock

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