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Can Dogs Eat Bell Peppers (Green, Yellow and Red)?

Bell peppers are a popular vegetable with lots of nutritional value. But can dogs eat bell peppers? Keep reading to find out.

Quick Answer

  • Dogs can safely consume bell peppers, which are both nutritious and low in calories.
  • When offered occasionally, bell peppers can provide various nutrients to canines. These include vitamin C and B6.
  • Ensure peppers are thoroughly washed and the seeds and the core removed before serving to your dog.

Can dogs eat bell peppers? Yes, bell peppers are safe for your dog to eat.  They make a healthy dog treat, as bell peppers are low-calorie, tasty, and packed with vitamins and antioxidants.

However, as with any vegetable, bell peppers should only be given to dogs in moderation. They also shouldn’t be confused with spicy chili peppers, which should never be fed to dogs. While chili peppers aren’t toxic, they contain an irritant called capsaicin This can cause severe discomfort and stomach upsets.

Are Bell Peppers Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Bell peppers and a dog

Bell peppers of all colors (red, yellow and green) are non-toxic and safe for your dog to eat.

In moderation, they provide nutritional benefits, as bell peppers contain lots of vitamins A, C, and other nutrients. Many dogs also love the crunchiness and taste of bell pepper, making it a great occasional treat.

Make sure you only feed plain bell peppers to your dog, as seasonings could be harmful. Garlic and onions, for example, are both toxic to your dog.

“Thankfully, a seasoned bell pepper won’t likely contain enough garlic or onion to cause toxicity in a dog,” says Dr Linda Simon. “However, there is still a small risk, especially if powder was used and the dog is a small puppy. I always ask owners to check in with me, so I can calculate the toxic risk; just in case!”

Even salt can cause health problems, as it can lead to dehydration. According to a study in Companion Animal Medicine, excessive salt is also dangerous for dogs with renal problems and heart disease.

How to Prepare Bell Peppers for a Dog

Steaming bell peppers

Bell peppers can be fed raw to dogs. However, cooked bell peppers are easier for your dog to digest, due to the softened outer skin. Steaming a pepper is a great way to cook it for dogs.

The seeds and stems of bell peppers aren’t toxic, but it’s best to remove them before feeding them to your dog. The tough stem is difficult to digest, while the seeds have a bitter taste that your dog probably won’t enjoy.

As we’ve already mentioned, you should never add salt or other seasonings to a bell pepper (or any other vegetable). Many seasonings are unhealthy or even toxic to dogs.

How Many Bell Peppers Can Dogs Eat?

Colors of bell pepper

While there are lots of vegetables that are safe for dogs, their diet should be made up predominantly of proteins and healthy fats.

This means that bell peppers should only be fed occasionally as a treat. According to WebMD, supplemental foods and treats should only comprise around 10% of your dog’s daily diet.

To be more specific, an occasional treat of half a pepper for large dogs and a quarter pepper for small dogs is plenty.

Introduce Bell Peppers in Small Quantities

Whenever you introduce a new food to your dog’s diet, take it slowly to make sure they don’t suffer any adverse reactions. Try offering one slice and monitor for signs of an allergic reaction or gastrointestinal intolerance.

An allergic reaction often causes skin irritation. Your dog may start to itch more, and they could develop a rash, hot spots, or swelling. Gastrointestinal issues, such as an upset stomach, are also common. In severe cases, allergies can cause respiratory problems.  

Allergic reactions can happen almost instantly, or take longer to manifest. Ideally, you’ll want to wait a few days to ensure there are no negative side effects before you feed more bell peppers.

“While I’ve seen dogs react to a range of foods, bell pepper allergy is not yet one I’ve encountered,” says vet Dr Linda Simon. “Most dogs with food allergies are allergic to protein-rich ingredients such as meats, egg, dairy, and soy.”

Note: If your dog shows any signs of an allergic reaction to bell peppers, you should always seek advice from your vet. If your dog has known food sensitivities, check with your vet before introducing new foods.

Avoid Feeding Too Many

Even if your dog appears to tolerate bell peppers, you shouldn’t go crazy with the amount you feed them.

If you give your dog too many, it could cause an upset stomach and even diarrhea. Peppers aren’t a normal part of your dog’s diet, so their digestive system may not cope.

Plus, these veggies are relatively high in sugar (around 6g of sugar for a medium bell pepper,) which is what gives them a sweet taste. Too much sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to weight gain, dental issues, and more severe problems, like diabetes, according to PetMD.

Nutritional Benefits of Bell Peppers for Dogs – Is It A Healthy Dog Treat?

A dog eating pepper
It’s best to remove the seeds and stem as they can be difficult for your dog to digest

Bell peppers are a low-calorie vegetable, with a medium-size pepper containing just 30 calories. Made up predominantly of water, they’re also a healthy source of carbohydrates.  

Dogs don’t need bell peppers as part of their daily diet though. Providing they are eating a well-balanced commercial dog food or home-cooked diet, they’ll be getting all the nutrients they need.

Eating a small amount of bell peppers as a treat, however, could offer some health benefits for your dog. This popular vegetable contains a host of beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some of these include:

  • Vitamin C. As far as vegetables go, red bell peppers are one of the richest in this essential vitamin. Although dogs produce Vitamin C themselves and it shouldn’t be over-supplemented, getting some extra from bell peppers could help to boost your dog’s immune system.
  • Vitamin B6. A beneficial supplement when treating dry, flaky skin, this vitamin can also help with red blood cell health, regulating hormones and could even have a calming effect on your dog.
  • Potassium. Boosting your dog’s intake of this vitamin could help your dog maintain a healthy heart rate, nerve function, blood pressure and joints.
  • Vitamin E. An essential vitamin for dogs, topping up on Vitamin E with a pepper treat could boost their immune system. Vitamin E may also promote muscle health and a healthy skin and coat.
  • Quercetin. According to Veterinary Place, This antioxidant can be helpful when dealing with allergies, itchy skin, inflammation and cases of cystitis.

All peppers provide beneficial nutrients, but red peppers contain higher quantities of Vitamin E and Vitamin C compared to green peppers or yellow peppers.

Red bell peppers are also higher in beta-carotene. This converts to Vitamin A in the body and can be great for promoting eye health.

What About Other Types of Peppers?

Chili peppers
Never feed dogs chili peppers, as it can cause discomfort, irritation, and GI issues

Spicy chili peppers should never be fed to your dog. Although non-toxic, hot peppers contain capsaicin, which causes the spicy, burning sensation that many of us humans enjoy.

Capsaicin could burn your dog’s mouth, resulting in coughing, discomfort, and irritation. Spicy chilis can also cause your dog to have an upset stomach or diarrhea.

Of course, some peppers are hotter than others. Super-hot chilies, such as Habanero or Scotch Bonnet, will cause more discomfort than a milder variety, although any chili pepper could be problematic for a dog.

If your dog gets hold of a particularly spicy chili, or appears in discomfort, you should always contact your vet for advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

A small amount of bell pepper each day is unlikely to harm your dog. However, dogs don’t need this vegetable in their diet, and too much could risk stomach upset. For this reason, it’s best to limit bell pepper to an occasional dog treat.

Bell pepper isn’t toxic to dogs, so you don’t need to panic if your dog eats a small amount. Monitor your pet for any signs of an allergic reaction or GI upset, including retching, vomiting, itchiness, or diarrhea. Contact a vet if you notice any signs of illness or if you are concerned about your pet.

All colors of bell peppers are safe for dogs to eat. Red bell peppers contain the most nutrients, so they are the best choice for a healthy snack.


Bell peppers are a low-calorie vegetable that’s packed with nutrients. When fed occasionally, they are a healthy and tasty treat for your dog.

As with any vegetable, bell peppers should only be given in moderation to dogs. Too many could cause a stomach upset.

You should also introduce bell peppers slowly, to watch for signs of an allergy or intolerance.


Gemma Johnstone

Gemma is a freelance writer and official dog nut. With 15 years of experience in the pet industry, she is a passionate animal welfare advocate. She has worked for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ran her own specialist dog shop for ten years, has volunteered for her local rescue shelter, and is studying towards completing an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour. Gemma is currently travelling around Europe with her wonderful rescue dog, Annie.
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