Wasabi is a popular condiment in some types of Asian cuisine and has grown more popular in the United States as well. If you have a dog, they have probably tried to sneak a bite from your plate at one point or another!
Dogs are notorious food thieves, so every dog owner needs to know what foods could cause them distress or even make them seriously ill. In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know about dogs and wasabi!
Can Dogs Eat Wasabi?
The good news is that wasabi is not highly toxic to dogs. Despite this, it is still not a good idea to feed it to your canine friend intentionally. Its spiciness can cause stomach upset, vomiting, skin irritation, diarrhea, and gas.
Wasabi has quite a few health benefits for humans, but unfortunately, that doesn’t hold up for dogs. The spiciness may cause them some real discomfort, so don’t be surprised if they take a taste and then immediately begin coughing, spitting, licking, and doing other things to get the taste out of their mouth.
Wasabi might also cause your dog to go into a sneezing fit, and don’t be startled if you notice their nose and eyes running. With time and water, the symptoms should subside.
Dogs do not like spicy foods, so don’t be surprised if your dog starts acting distressed or anxious. Dogs who have eaten spicy food such as wasabi may:
- Pace back and forth
- Sniff excessively
- Drop their ears
- Have sneezing fits
- Rub the face with paws or on the floor
- Run in circles
- Drink to excess
Can Dogs Eat Horseradish?
As we mentioned above, a lot of wasabi is not truly made from the real thing. Instead, it is a dupe that is close but not identical. One issue with these fake wasabi substitutes is that they are significantly spicier than true wasabi and can cause your dog a lot more discomfort for a longer period.
Can Dogs Eat Mustard?
Spicy mustard is another common ingredient in wasabi substitutes. It can cause the same kind of gastrointestinal distress due to its spice level. But more concerningly, mustard itself can be toxic to dogs. In large enough amounts, it can lead to gastroenteritis. This is a condition where the stomach or intestinal lining becomes inflamed.
The good news is that a single lick of mustard or wasabi substitute containing mustard is unlikely to cause your dog any severe symptoms. But if they have stolen some of either condiment and you notice the following symptoms (or if you know they have eaten a large amount, even if they are not yet displaying symptoms), contact your veterinarian right away.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis in dogs include:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Vomiting of yellow or green bile
- Continuing to gag or dry intermittently
- Foaming at the mouth while vomiting
- Tenderness and swelling in the abdomen
- Abdominal discomfort (may be apparent if you try to pick your dog up)
- Lack of appetite
What Is Wasabi?
Wasabi, also called Japanese horseradish, is a root related to horseradish and mustard. It has a slightly smoother, fresher taste than horseradish. It is also reasonably spicy. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family and usually served as a bright green paste, which you might eat with sushi or other fish dishes.
However, you might be surprised to know that the wasabi you are eating most of the time is not wasabi at all. True, wasabi is very expensive. In much of the world, what is marketed as wasabi is a mix of horseradish and mustard tinted green with food coloring.
So to answer the question of whether a dog can eat wasabi, we have to answer two questions: whether your canine friend can eat real wasabi and whether they can eat what is normally marketed as wasabi.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Wasabi?
If your dog eats true wasabi, check the ingredient list to ensure there is nothing in the paste that will cause them more serious harm. If it is just wasabi, it is unlikely that they’ll have any serious symptoms. In this case, it is most likely that they will just have some gastrointestinal distress.
If your dog seems distressed or uncomfortable because of the spicy taste, wash its mouth out with water and a cloth. Make sure to provide them with plenty of water. Your dog will probably drink a lot to soothe the burn in its mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.
If they show signs of needing to vomit or use the bathroom, you might want to put them in the yard or garage for a few hours. Try to keep them comfortable in a place where they can relieve themselves without making a mess. Place newspaper on the floor if necessary. If keeping your dog contained, make sure they have consistent access to water.
Check on them regularly to ensure that they do not have an allergic reaction. If the vomiting, diarrhea, or discomfort lasts for more than 24 hours, contact your vet. They will be able to direct you on what to do or prescribe something to combat dehydration and help your dog stay comfortable.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats a Wasabi Substitute?
Since most types of wasabi paste that you find in the grocery store aren’t going to be real wasabi, it is worth exploring the difference and how it can affect your dog if they get a taste. The Washington Post estimates that 99 percent of the condiments sold as wasabi in the United States are various substitutes.
False wasabi is generally much hotter and has a longer burn than true wasabi. This might end up being a good thing since dogs are not likely to eat much of it. Its spicy taste isn’t pleasant to canine taste buds, so they are unlikely to have more than a taste.
The biggest problem with wasabi substitutes might not be what you think. Dogs are less likely to have an issue with food coloring, horseradish, or spicy mustard, even if they are uncomfortable. Much more worrying is citric acid, which is often used to stabilize the ingredients in wasabi substitutes.
Citric acid is hazardous to dogs. In large enough quantities, it can lead to depression of the central nervous system.
A single lick of wasabi substitute probably won’t cause your dog to get extremely sick. However, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Inability to walk or disturbances to gait
- Poor coordination
- Poor reflexes
All these are signs of central nervous system depression. This is a medical emergency. Contact your vet immediately if your dog has eaten a wasabi substitute containing citric acid and develops these symptoms.
Remember that the best diet to feed your dog is quality commercial dog food. While occasional table scraps can be a treat, it is vital to make sure that they are healthy foods that dogs can eat (and stick to keeping treats below 10 percent of your dog’s total diet). This is the best way to ensure your dog lives a long and healthy life without needless health complications.