Have you seen the viral TikTok Dog Hot Sauce Challenge? While this challenge is going viral on TikTok and other social media platforms, it’s not good for dogs.
As the name implies, the “challenge” is to feed dogs hot sauce. Generally, people are giving dogs meat such as chicken smothered in hot sauce, and they record and upload their dog’s response to the internet.
Can dogs eat hot sauce?
It’s clear from the videos that the dogs don’t like the hot sauce. The videos often capture the dogs appearing excited to get a treat before becoming scared and confused when they taste the hot sauce. Is hot sauce dangerous for dogs?
If this challenge sounds like a bad idea to you, you’re right, says Dr. Tory Waxman, Chief Veterinary Officer and co-founder of human-grade dog food brand Sundays for Dogs, Inc. Hot sauce might be tasty to some people, but you don’t want to give it to your dog.
While chances are your dog won’t like the taste of the hot sauce, eating it can also make him sick and uncomfortable. Feeding hot sauce to your dog can “cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract including the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines,” explains Dr. Waxman. Symptoms of gastrointestinal irritation can include vomiting, diarrhea, as well as abdominal pain.
Why is hot sauce dangerous for dogs?
Hot sauce is full of ingredients that aren’t good for dogs to eat. “Capsacin is the active ingredient in chili peppers that gives them their spice. The level of capsacin varies widely depending on the type of pepper in the hot sauce but it is the active ingredient in hot sauce that causes irritation to the gastrointestinal system,” Dr. Waxman explains.
Many hot sauces also contain vinegar, which can also lead to gastrointestinal irritations for dogs.
If your dog ate hot sauce, here are the symptoms you need to watch for
Dr. Waxman advises that milder cases of dogs ingesting hot sauce can irritate the dog’s mouth, stomach, esophagus and intestines. However, in moderate to severe cases eating hot sauce “could result in ulceration of the mouth, esophagus and stomach.” In these more severe cases, symptoms might include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia or refusal to eat, as well as abdominal pain. Dogs who are having these symptoms should be evaluated and treated by their veterinarian.
If your dog accdentally ingests hot sauce, consult with your veterinarian to determine the next steps you should take and if it’s ok to monitor your dog at home or if you need to take your dog to an emergency vet clinic.
Giving your dog hot sauce risks damaging your relationship with your dog
Beyond the risk of making your dog sick, there are other important reasons not to get caught up in the TikTok craze and feed hot sauce to your dog. “Please please, as a veterinarian and dog-lover, I am urging you not to feed your dog hot sauce. In addition to the possible health consequences, your dog eats what you feed them because they trust you – and you never want to hurt that special bond in any way,” says Dr. Waxman.
Dog’s look to us for reassurance, safety and care. We want our dogs to trust us; the last thing we should do is intentionally cause them harm or discomfort simply to get a laugh on social media.