Can Dogs Eat Salsa?

By John Martin - June 10, 2022

Chips and salsa

When you are looking at foods that you can or can’t give your dog, the key is to look at the ingredients. If you think about it, this is no different from when you buy food for yourself.

There’s a lot of packaged food out there that’s easy to eat. It’s quite tempting to pick up one of those.

Salsa is a delicious treat and has a lot of ingredients that deserve a second look. Here’s what happens if you give your dog salsa.

What’s in Salsa?

Salsa is a pretty good pick if you want to pair it with chips, which is just one of the delicious combinations that this dip can be a part of. But that’s only if you are thinking about food for humans.

What does it mean to give salsa to your dog? Is it a good idea? Should you just modify a few things from the salsa recipe for humans or is it a terrible idea altogether? Let’s investigate.


Tomatoes are the biggest item on the list of ingredients in salsa. Fresh tomatoes are an excellent treat for dogs but not if they are a part of this delicious little Mexican dip.

Tomatoes might have a lot of vitamins that come with health benefits but not the way they are in salsa because there is a lot more than just tomatoes in this delicious half of chip-and-dip.

So, instead of salsa, you might want to get tomatoes that are nice and ripe. That last detail is crucial because unripe tomatoes are actually toxic to dogs.

That way, you know exactly what your canine is ingesting and they will be able to reap all the health benefits you want them to. It’s a win-win.

Garlic & Onions

Now, this pair of ingredients is one to pay close attention to. We paired it because dogs are not meant to consume either garlic or onions.

You will find both these items in different forms in the market from raw, powdered, paste or cooked. None of them is a good option for dogs because both these items contain chemicals that are known to break down their red blood cells.

The way it works, this process might eventually lead to anemia in dogs.

And it’s a serious problem if and when it happens. This is one of the things that makes salsa a strict no-no for dogs.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Jicama?


Cilantro is another item that gives salsa the delicious flavor that it has. The good news is that it has antibacterial qualities and also has antioxidants, both of which are considered to be good for your health.

Cilantro also has vitamins A, C and K along with iron and magnesium which makes it a great pick. But that’s for humans and it’s not how things work with dogs.

If you want to give your dog cilantro, and that’s kind of a big if, you can give them just a little bit but in moderation. But you can’t really trust that to be the case, not just with store-bought salsa but also homemade ones. This is another reason that works against salsa if you want to feed it to your furry friend.


If you like tangy and spicy food, this is a terrific ingredient. And it has a place in salsa as well.

Even though you might, your canine buddies don’t like spicy food and you shouldn’t toss a little jalapeno their way. It’s not exactly toxic, but it certainly is hot, which hurts their digestive system and might cause pain.

Your furry friend might experience an upset stomach, cramps or even puking. None of that is good, especially for a little jalapeno.


This is a common ingredient in many foods that humans consume. It’s very hard for us to avoid it.

But when it comes to dog food, you will see that a lot of it has a controlled amount of salt. That’s for a good reason.

A lot of salt is bad even for humans, but in dogs, it creates other problems too. It makes them overly thirsty and might lead to dehydration after a period of time.

Dog food comes with just the right amount of salt already and feeding them foods that have a great deal of salt might cause sodium toxicity. This leads to other problems, like seizures and tachycardia.

Lime Juice

Another great addition to foods if you like tangy dishes. But that’s also the case only with humans.

The chemicals that are in lime juice are fine for us, but to dogs, they can be toxic. Giving them foods with this ingredient could lead to stomach problems like pain and an upset digestive system.

And those are the minor problems caused by the acidity and sourness of lime juice. Dogs also don’t really enjoy the taste, which is another strike against salsa.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Limes?

Tortilla Chips

Not all types of salsa have this ingredient. But if you are going full Mexican, this is what you pair salsa with.

Tortilla chips are yet another item that dogs are not meant to consume because they are difficult to eat and can be a choking hazard. The texture is hard and difficult for dogs to eat, no matter how skillful your furry little friend is.

They also contain corn which is known to have a lot of sodium and high fat. Neither of those is good for dogs.

And to top it all off, corn is also the cause of many allergies among dogs. So, you will be putting them at a lot of risk for no reason.

Don’t share your tortilla chips. In this case, it is not selfish.

All the Grief Salsa Can Bring On

Now you know that in terms of ingredients, we might love salsa but it is no picnic for dogs. There are things in it that dogs don’t appreciate in terms of taste like lime juice.

There are ingredients that can be dicey for their stomach depending on the amount, like salt and cilantro. And there are things that are outright toxic like unripe tomatoes.

So, even if you are making salsa at home, this is not the item you should be generous with when it comes to sharing your snack with your pup. You would be doing them a kindness if you give them something they enjoy and is good for them.

If not, you might end up visiting the vet for something that was totally avoidable. The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to give dogs anything that has onions, garlic, unripe tomatoes and lime juice.

They can cause some very real health issues in dogs which means even a little bit of salsa isn’t good for them. You must also remember not to leave salsa stains on your dog’s coat or any place they can access because that can do damage too.

If they do happen to ingest salsa by accident, here are the signs you must look out for:

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

What Can a Vet Do?

In case things do go south, whether it is because you gave a little salsa to your dog before you read this post or they found some and ingested it when you were not looking, a visit to the vet is pretty much guaranteed.

You know the ingredients that might be causing trouble and you know the symptoms to look out for. The important thing to remember here is that, as is usually the case, the sooner you get to the vet, the better it is.

Once you get there, you can expect the vet to do a few things.

They typically start by giving the dog some hydrogen peroxide. This will make the dog vomit, which takes care of the first step—to get the toxic salsa ingredients out of your dog’s system.

If the food hasn’t been digested, this should work quite well. But that means you don’t have a big window to get your dog to the vet.

If you start to see any of the signs mentioned above, you should see if it has been over an hour since the incident might have taken place. If you don’t think so but the symptoms are there anyway, it’s possible that they ingested a chunk of the dip, which makes the situation even more critical.

While you are on your way to the vet, you should do a mental checklist of all the ingredients in the salsa, depending on the brand you bought or how you made it at home.

This will help you brief the vet better, which aids them in the treatment.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Tamales?


Obviously, at this point, it should be clear that salsa is a no. You can’t give them food with onions or garlic and definitely not food that is spicy or sour.

You also can’t give them jalapenos or too much salt because of the havoc these two sneaky ingredients can wreak. It is nearly impossible to make or get salsa that doesn’t pose a health problem to dogs, which means you should stop entertaining this idea altogether.