Paprika is bad for dogs. Thanks to capsaicin, it can cause problems if eaten in even small quantities. Among other symptoms like intestinal pain and vomiting, eating paprika may also result in severe diarrhea, suggesting that its addition to your dog’s food should be avoided at all costs.
Capsaicin in Paprika
There are several kinds of peppers but all come from the species Capsicum annuum. In Mexico where it originated, chilies have been consumed ever since pre-Hispanic times or about four thousand years ago. There are around twenty kinds of these hot peppers that differ in shape, color, and size. Most people would say that chilies are either sweet or hot but in reality, this is a bit misleading. All peppers have varying degrees of pungency and flavor.
Paprika, on the other hand, comes from a mild variety of Capsicum annuum that belongs to the family Solanaceae. Despite its role as an ingredient in making food more flavorful when dried and ground into powder form, it does not contain much capsaicin compared to cayenne pepper which is known for its high levels of pungent alkaloid.
Capsaicin’s Effects on Dogs
Put simply, dogs do not experience the same effect as humans when they eat something containing capsaicin. This can be attributed to their lack of functional vanilloid receptor 1 ( VR1 ) which is needed for detecting noxious stimuli and initiating a response in the sensory system. In contrast, humans have intact VR1s that contribute to their ability to sense heat through chili peppers.
Capsaicin does not affect dogs when they eat food with it because aside from lacking the specific receptor, their oral mucosa does not contain enough nerve endings needed to detect it. Despite this lack of reaction, capsaicin is still not recommended for use as an ingredient in dog foods because its strong irritant qualities might make your pet sick if consumed in large amounts.