Pet owners know that their furry pooch will eat almost anything they can lay their paws on, which means that you need to be on the lookout at all times, as some of the most harmless-seeming foods can be quite toxic for your dog. So, can dogs eat horseradish? Before we answer that question, first let us take a look at what is horseradish?
What Is Horseradish?
A native, spicy root, characterized by its pungent odor and taste, horseradish is mostly found in some parts of Europe, the US and Japan. Belonging to the Brassicaceae family, horseradish is a cruciferous vegetable related to mustard, broccoli, cabbage, wasabi, Brussels sprouts and kale.
The horseradish plant has green leaves and a long white root. When the root of the plant is cut, the compound sinigrin is broken down by an enzyme into a mustard oil, which is known as allyl isothiocyanate. This gives the horseradish its distinct pungent taste and odor that can cause nose, eye and throat irritation.
Typically, the horseradish root is grated and preserved in a mixture of vinegar, sugar and salt to make prepared horseradish, which is used as a condiment. Horseradish is also used to make wasabi in Japan.
In some European countries and the Czech Republic, horseradish is eaten raw along with mustard, sausages and other smoked meats. It is popularly used as a condiment to add a spicy kick to mayonnaise, deviled eggs, steaks, sour cream and other recipes.
What Are the Health Benefits of Horseradish?
Horseradish offers several benefits for humans. It has antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, diuretic, diaphoretic properties and is also a gastrointestinal, as well as cardiovascular agent. In fact, horseradish has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries and may help to enhance respiratory health and also have anti-cancer effects.
Horseradish contains many plant compounds and minerals. It is very low in terms of calories and offers a variety of nutrients. In fact, 15 gm or 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish provides:
- No. of Calories: 7
- Carbohydrates: 2 gm
- Fat: Less than 1 gm
- Protein: Less than 1 gm
- Fiber: 0.5 gm
Horseradish also contains several other beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, folate, potassium and other micronutrients. The spicy horseradish is also rich in different types of plant compounds that are good for health such as glucosinolates that break down into compounds called isothiocyanates and may help to protect from infections, brain diseases and cancer. However, the important questions are, “can dogs eat horseradish?” “Is it beneficial for them?”
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Can Dogs Eat Horseradish?
While horseradish is not harmful to dogs per se; however, just because your dog can eat horseradish does not mean that they should or that it is good for them. Horseradish is not really recommended for dogs because their digestive system can’t handle spicy foods. It can cause problems for your pet and irritate their nose, throat, mouth, digestive system and also upset their gastrointestinal system.
What If My Dog Ate Horseradish Accidentally?
Most dogs do not like spicy foods. And, they don’t really like the taste of horseradish because they find it too spicy. However, if your dog gobbles up a piece of steak or sandwich with some horseradish on it, in most probability, your pet will be fine and will not have any problems, because horseradish is not as toxic as other types of foods such as grapes, chocolates, etc.
However, if your dog does eat some horseradish, he could have allergic reactions such as itchiness, hives, swelling of the ears, lips, face, ears or eyelids sneezing or gastrointestinal upset like gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach ache, excessive thirst and vomiting. Keep a lookout for any of these signs and if you think that there’s a problem, consult your vet immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Horseradish Mustard or Horseradish Sauce?
Horseradish mustard or horseradish sauce is as bad for your pet as the vegetable itself. Eating these can cause your pet’s stomach to overheat and result in vomiting and diarrhea. Also, these condiments contain salt, spices, garlic and onion powders, which can be quite toxic for your pooch and make him seriously ill. If your dog is pregnant, then the horseradish can even cause miscarriage. So, it is best to avoid feeding your pooch horseradish mustard or horseradish sauce.
Can Dogs Eat Horseradish Plants and Leaves?
When they are cooked, horseradish leaves and plants lose the spicy taste and so cooked leaves and plants may be fine for your pet to eat and may not have any harmful or toxic effects, However, despite cooking the horseradish leaves and plants, they may still retain some spiciness and may not really be the best for your pooch.
If you consider the safety of horseradish for your pet, there are several vegetables such as cucumber, kale, sweet potatoes, celery, carrots and beet that you can choose from, which are better, as well as safer for your four-legged pal.
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There are many myths and misconceptions about dogs eating horseradish sauce, mustard or plants and we have discussed some frequently asked questions in this section:
Can Eating Horseradish Poison Dogs?
As we mentioned earlier, horseradish is not toxic or harmful to dogs and if your pet has eaten it, it will not kill your dog; however, it is always a good idea to watch out for symptoms of allergy, vomiting or diarrhea, etc. and seek medical help in case of any adverse reactions.
Can Eating Horseradish Make My Dog Go Blind?
When you eat chili peppers, the active compound capsaicin contained in the chili can create a burning sensation and make your eyes water. However, horseradish does not contain any capsaicin and there have been no instances of dogs being blinded by eating horseradish as a vegetable, cheese, sauce or mustard.
Does Horseradish Cure My Dog’s Cough?
Humans eat horseradish to treat several ailments such as respiratory infections, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, fluid retention, gallbladder disorders, colic, gout, aching joints and worms in kids. While it is believed that horseradish combats bacteria, there is not much scientific proof for this.
The misconception probably started with the fact that since horseradish can be used to treat human ailments like cough, similarly, it can treat dogs for their cough too. However, horseradish should not be fed to your pet in any form and cannot treat a cough and several alternatives are more effective and safer.
Can Horseradish Eliminate Worms in Dogs?
Some of the known natural remedies that can help to eliminate worms are carrots, pumpkin seeds, apple cider vinegar and coconut. There is no scientific evidence that horseradish can help to treat and get rid of worms in dogs. And, if you think that your pet has worms, then it is better to get medical treatment immediately by consulting your vet.
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In conclusion, while horseradish is not toxic for your pet and may even have some health benefits; nevertheless, it is not safe for dogs and it is better to avoid feeding horseradish to your pet in any form, be it the root itself or horseradish mustard, sauce, cheese, plants or leaves. Your pet can have an allergic reaction to horseradish and it can even make your pet very ill.
So, if your pet does eat some horseradish, while it may not harm him adversely, it is still better for you to keep a lookout for any after effects and if you do notice any allergic reaction, vomiting or diarrhea, then it’s a good idea to take your pet to the vet immediately.