Can Dogs Eat Salsa? Is Salsa Safe For Dogs?

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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Caring for a pet dog is a challenging task but as well, rewarding in the life of any pet parent. They always put a smile on our faces and give us daily emotional support to keep going in difficult times. Hence, we must pay attention to what our dog consumes.

Before you start feeding your dog something new, do some research to be sure it’s a healthy choice.

Some human foods are harmful to dogs, while others are safe and beneficial to them. What about your delicious salsa?

Can dogs eat salsa?

Salsa is a big NO for dogs. It is made with onion and garlic, both of which contain thiosulphate, that can destroy your dog’s red blood cells, resulting in anemia. Also, dogs most likely will not enjoy salsa because of its spiciness which is not palatable to them. Spicy foods often cause stomach upset and diarrhea in canines.

Tortilla chips eaten with salsa are a choking hazard for dogs, hence, should also be kept away from them.

You might be interested in Can Dogs Live On Kibble Alone? (4 Benefits & How To Switch)

Why Is Salsa Bad For My Dog

Salsa, though a delectable and healthy diet for humans, is toxic to dogs. The only safe ingredients for dogs in salsa are tomato and cilantro, but in reality, no one actually decides to prepare this tasty Mexican dip without adding other ingredients. Therefore, it is best to just keep your salsa away from your dog and spare yourself a visit to the vet.

Onion, garlic, lime juice and unripe tomato contain toxic culprits that can cause serious health complications in dogs. Hence, even a small amount of salsa is not safe for your dogs. Besides, salsa can stain anything it comes in contact with including your dog’s coat and it’s easy for your dog to make a mess while eating.

Because salsa is made with mainly vegetables, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial to the health and well-being of your dog. However, our furry friend simply can’t safely take the health benefits of this diet.

Some of the symptoms your dog might have if they eat salsa are:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Choking (from eating chips)
  • Bad breath
  • Photosensitivity
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid breathing
  • Anemia
  • Dehydration
  • Tremors

Salsa Ingredients

So, in order to truly understand how dangerous salsa is to dogs, we must first isolate each of the individual ingredients and ascertain their effect on dogs. Here is a list of the common ingredients used in preparing salsa. It should be noted that just like guacamole, some salsa recipes may require few other ingredients to give it a special hint.

Tomato: Can Eat

This is the chief ingredient of any salsa recipe. It has a juicy taste that makes a big difference in your favorite salsa. But guess what? It is also safe and nutritious for your furry, barking friend. However, green, unripe tomatoes can be harmful to dogs and should be avoided at all costs.

Unripe tomatoes as well as the leaves and stems of tomato plants contain two toxic principles, tomatine and solanine, both of which can cause health problems for your dog. But as tomatoes ripen, the amount is greatly reduced making them safe for your pooch.

So, instead of salsa, you are better off serving your dog plain, ripe tomatoes that are free of any toxins. Regardless, ensure that you apply moderation while feeding your dog on tomatoes because they are highly acidic and can upset your pooch stomach when consumed in large quantities.

Onion and Garlic: Can’t Eat

Your salsa recipe is never right until you have added the flavorsome two, onion and garlic. They are part and parcel of any delicious salsa but are they really safe for your dog?

Despite their ability to cause bad breath in dogs, every part of onion and garlic plants is toxic to dogs and only a little amount can make your dog sick. Whether served raw, cooked, or powdered, the toxic components remain intact and ever potent.

Onion and garlic both belong to the allium family, known to contain two toxic chemicals, N-propyl disulfide and thiosulphate, which are safe for humans but can cause serious health complications in dogs. In the bloodstream, these toxins attach to the red blood cells to cause an oxidative breakdown of their membranes, giving rise to hemolytic anemia. If your dog has eaten any food containing onion or garlic, it is best to contact your vet immediately for medical intervention.

Jalapeño: Can’t Eat

While you may enjoy the spicy taste of Jalapeño in your delicious Mexican cuisine, it’s totally not the case for your four-legged companion. They don’t have as many taste buds as humans and hence, may perceive some taste differently.

Jalapeño is just another ingredient that makes salsa bad for your dog. Though it does not contain any toxic property, the dog digestive system is not designed to handle such a high degree of spiciness.

Ingesting a large amount of jalapeños can result in gastrointestinal upset, especially if your dog has a very sensitive stomach. Your dog may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and flatulence.

Cilantro: Can Eat

Not only that cilantro is a safe, non-toxic and dog-friendly vegetable to include in your dog’s diet, it can also confer a lot of health benefits on your dog such as fighting off bad breath, improving gut health, detoxifying the body, and providing antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

However, you definitely should not feed them too much of it, so that what was once presumed safe does not become a recipe for disaster. This holds good for every single food you give to your dog.

Also, Cilantro is richly packed with important nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and iron. All of which will help your dog stay healthy and strong. To make sure your dog isn’t allergic to cilantro, add just a little amount to your dog’s diet and increase gradually upon subsequent meals.

Lime Juice: Can’t Eat

All that amazing lime juice you squeeze into your salsa to give it a desirable tart hint really isn’t safe for your canine friend.

According to ASPCA, lime contains several toxic principles including essential oils and a phototoxic compound called psoralens. These substances are not toxic to humans because their digestive system can easily break down these compounds, but that is not the case for your pooch.

Depending on the amount of lime juice your dog has consumed, your dog may experience mild symptoms (such as stomach upset) to more serious health problems such as photosensitivity, liver failure, seizures and sudden death. Any food containing lime should be kept away from your pooch because after all, it’s better to play safe than sorry.

Salt: Can’t Eat

Salt is used in preparing almost every food humans eat and salsa is not an exemption. You may think any food is tasteless without a good amount of salt but that’s not the case for dogs. Salty food tastes strong to dogs and even makes them induce thirst.

Many food items naturally contain salt and if you are feeding them to your dog you don’t need to add extra salt. Also, sodium toxicity can occur when your dog eats a lot of salty food leading to dehydration, tachycardia and seizures.

Tortilla Chips: Can’t Eat

This is not necessarily an ingredient used in preparing salsa but if you are familiar with this Mexican dip, then you should know it’s almost always eaten together with tortilla chips.

Just like salsa, it is not recommended that you give tortilla chips to your dog. They have a hard and crispy texture, as a result, causing choking especially in smaller dogs

Furthermore, tortilla chips contain corn, which is often associated with food allergies in dogs, as well as a high fat and sodium content, which can put your dog’s health at risk.

Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Salsa?

The short answer is no. Majorly because of the toxicity of the onion and garlic, salsa is considered unsafe for canine consumption. The choking hazard of tortilla chips that often accompany salsa dishes is also a huge turn-off for dogs. However, you can feed your dog ripe tomatoes and cilantro in moderate amounts.

While some vegetables are beneficial to dogs, they should never be used to replace your dog’s regular diet. When first giving any vegetable to your dog, keep a watchful check on him to make sure he doesn’t have any allergic responses.

Finally, before you give any food to your dog, it is important to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risk of potential harm. If otherwise, then it’s best for your dog to stay away from such food.

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.