So you’ve ordered sushi and would like to give some to your dog. But can dogs have wasabi?
As you know, dogs can be super loving, extremely loyal and very inquisitive in everything you do. Dogs can become your shadow and share many human traits that make them such a popular choice as pets.
One of your everyday activities that can spark a dog’s interest is meal times and the food you eat. Some dogs beg. Others will simply try and steal what’s on your plate and, for a large number of dog owners, sharing food is commonplace in the home. Some foods are loved by dogs and some can sadly cause them harm.
The Japanese green paste known as wasabi looks harmless enough, leading many dog owners to ask whether it’s suitable for dogs to consume.
What is wasabi?
If you are a fan of sushi and Japanese cuisine, chances are you’ve tried wasabi.
But what actually is wasabi and what does it contain?
Wasabi, also known as Japanese horseradish, is a green root vegetable that comes from the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and mustard. The root is grated into a powder or mixed with water to create a paste that is then used as a spice. Wasabi originated from Japan but countries all over the world now use it to add flavour and spice to dishes.
Can dogs eat wasabi?
In short, no. Wasabi can burn your pet’s mouth, give them an upset stomach and cause excessive gas and bloating. Wasabi is hot and most dogs won’t like the smell enough to take a bite. However, wasabi is normally contained within food to add flavour, which means your pooch may give it a try without knowing what it is.
On the rare chance that your dog takes an interest in trying wasabi, it is strongly recommended that owners refrain from giving it to your pet as the ingredients are not considered safe for the consumption of pets.
Can dogs taste spice?
Have you ever wondered if your canine companion experiences the same tingling sensation that humans get by eating spicy food?
Dogs have an average of 1,700 taste buds in their mouth, which is significantly less than humans who have around 9,000 on their tongues. This means that dogs can’t distinguish as many flavours as their owners.
Research suggests that dogs have four taste types: salty, bitter, sour and sweet. It’s important to note that when dogs taste something that’s spicy, it will take a few moments for it to reach the relevant taste buds, which is often why there is a delayed reaction to spicy foods.
In short, save the spice for yourself and avoid giving your beloved pet spices that will cause unpleasant symptoms such as stomach pains, gas, diarrhoea and excessive thirst.
Is wasabi bad for dogs?
Yes. Whilst wasabi has several health benefits for humans such as preventing food poisoning and tackling respiratory disorders, it is not safe for dogs to eat.
Dogs are not designed to digest spicy foods. Wasabi is hot and can cause burning in your dog’s mouth, throat, stomach and digestive tract.
Wasabi contains oils and sugar which can make your dog obese in the long term and lead to health issues such as diabetes and even cancer. An overweight dog can also suffer from depression and be unable to move or play as much as it used to.
Can dogs eat wasabi peas?
Wasabi peas are simply green peas that have been coated and roasted in wasabi.
Peas in general are not recommended to give to dogs as they can cause kidney and digestion problems. Consumption of spicy foods such as wasabi peas in dogs has also been known to trigger throat constriction, which makes it difficult for the dog to breathe.
Whilst accidentally eating one wasabi pea will not harm your dog’s health, keep them away from your dog to avoid making them poorly.
What to do if your dog ate wasabi
If you find yourself hurriedly typing ‘my dog ate wasabi’ into Google, here’s what you need to do:
1. Try not to panic. Your dog will more than likely not suffer any long-term health issues from the accidental ingestion of wasabi because human food usually contains only small amounts.
2. If your dog consumes wasabi in any form (paste or powdered) make sure you prevent your dog from eating any more by clearing the area.
3. Wasabi is likely to make your pooch extremely thirsty so provide plenty of water for them. Try and gently remove any wasabi that may be left in your dog’s mouth or around its snout with water.
4. Monitor your dog’s wellbeing and call your vet if you’re concerned about any effects from eating wasabi. If your dog has any pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney or gastrointestinal diseases, seek advice from your vet immediately.
Common symptoms of dogs who have eaten wasabi:
- Dropped ears
- Excessive sniffing
- Licking their lips
- Putting their tail between their legs
- Pawing at their head and mouth
- A tense jaw
- Excessive gas
- Stomach pains
If your dog is the curious type and takes an interest in tasting wasabi, here are some ways that you can prevent your dog from eating it again:
- Avoid leaving leftover food on the table or worktops, clean it up or make sure your dog is shut out of the room containing the food.
- Consider buying a dog-proof bin so they can’t open it and pick out food to eat.
- Only leave food that is unsupervised on surfaces that are high enough to make it impossible for your dog to reach.
- Always clean surfaces and floors that have been in contact with wasabi.
- Don’t keep large amounts of wasabi in your house, especially within easy reach of animals.
Is wasabi poisonous to dogs?
No, wasabi is not toxic to dogs, so there’s no need to rush them to the vet, unless they eat a large amount.
But is wasabi safe for dogs to eat? No.
Wasabi can have unpleasant side effects such as vomiting and diarrhoea, and cause your beloved dog some discomfort.
Can sushi kill a dog?
In most cases, if a dog accidentally consumes a small piece of sushi, it is unlikely to be fatal. However, some sushi ingredients can be toxic for your four-legged friend so it’s important to know what to avoid.
Raw fish can contain parasites and bacteria, which can be very dangerous for dogs to eat. It’s best to avoid giving raw fish to your dog. Too much rice and spices that are used in sushi can also upset your dog’s stomach.
If your dog eats raw fish you should seek advice from your vet if they show any signs of intestinal parasites such as fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss or enlarged abdomen.
If you really want your dog to try sushi, there are pet-friendly recipes available that contain ingredients that are safe for dogs to eat. Sushi that contains cooked protein is much safer for dogs than raw fish.
Are wasabi almonds bad for dogs?
Almonds themselves are not toxic for dogs, however, they can carry a type of mould known as Aspergillus mould that contains Aflatoxin, which can cause poisoning in dogs.
Aside from that, a dog’s digestive system can’t process almonds very well, and they can lead to gastrointestinal blockages. Almonds also contain large amounts of fat content, which can lead to overall health and weight issues such as diabetes.
The symptoms to look out for include:
- Loss of appetite
Here are some other reasons why almonds shouldn’t be given to dogs:
- Almonds can be a choking hazard, especially for small dogs.
- They contain high levels of salt, which can cause water retention.
- Spiced or seasoned almonds such as wasabi almonds can upset a dog’s stomach.
- Some dogs can be allergic to almonds. Watch out for signs such as swelling, coughing, sneezing, hives or difficulty breathing.
Add these effects to the reasons wasabi is bad for dogs and wasabi almonds are a bad idea for dogs.
If you think your dog has consumed more than a few almonds, watch him closely for signs of obstruction or intestinal distress. Call your veterinarian for professional advice if you’re worried.
Dogs and wasabi
Some foods are not meant for dogs, including wasabi.
Whilst a small amount won’t hurt your dog, it’s important not to feed it to him to avoid putting your dog’s health at risk. As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your furry friend follows a healthy diet.
Although most dogs will avoid wasabi because of its strong smell, it’s best to keep it out of reach just in case.
- Taste of Home, ‘What Is Wasabi?’, https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/what-is-wasabi/, Accessed – 18 May 2021