Last July 4th, my family and I thought it was a good idea to prepare Horseradish sauce for our prime rib dish. As we were grating the Horseradish, we tasted a little bit of it. Boy was it spicy and tears started to swell up in our eyes. Luckily, the reaction only lasted for a minute or two. Our Labrador sitting a few feet away also wanted a taste so my mom asked me if our Horseradish sauce would be safe for our dog to eat, which inspired me to write this blog.
Can dogs eat Horseradish? While dogs can eat Horseradish, we do not recommend feeding it to your pooch. Horseradish is not dangerous to dogs but it can irritate their tongue, throat, nose, digestive system, and even their urinary tract.
Keep in mind that just because dogs can eat something, like Tamales, does not always mean they should. So let’s dive in and see why Horseradish may be more harmful than beneficial for our pooch.
Is Horseradish bad for dogs?
Horseradish is not necessarily bad for dogs but its spicy mustard-like oil and volatile taste can negatively affect your canine’s digestive system and cause gastrointestinal problems, making him very sick.
Spicy food is made to satisfy and challenge the human taste buds and it is not ideal to feed your four-legged friends food with spice in it.
No matter how you prepared the Horseradish – whether with cheese, as a sauce, or in mustards – you should avoid feeding it to your pooch.
Some dogs may be allergic to Horseradish and have negative reactions to it. This spicy root vegetable can make your pooch sick and result in an expensive emergency vet bill.
Is Horseradish safe for dogs?
Horseradish is not really safe for dogs to ingest. Accidentally eating Horseradish or eating even a little bit of it can cause the following negative symptoms:
- Passing gas constantly.
- Painful and upset stomach.
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What is Horseradish?
A prepared Horseradish usually comes in the popular form of a sauce or condiment. Some Horseradish sauces are creamy while others are just grated Horseradish doused in vinegar. Horseradish is special in that it can be used as an ingredient in dressings and sauces or by itself.
When used as an ingredient with other condiments, you can expect the grated roots of the Horseradish plant to come in three forms: powdered, dried, or fresh. In some eastern European countries, the root of this vegetable is grated and consumed raw with mustard. It goes well with smoked meat or added on top of deviled eggs.
Most people love to mix the Horseradish sauce with other condiments such as mayonnaise and mustard for that extra kick of flavor. Popular food that taste well with Horseradish sauce includes:
- Beef tenderloin.
- Prime rib.
- Pork tenderloin.
- Deviled eggs.
- Sushi (replaces wasabi).
- Steak sandwiches.
In some sushi restaurants, the Japanese condiment, wasabi is replaced with horseradish. Many diners can’t tell that the wasabi is made with horseradish. The chef may add a little bit of green food coloring to make it look like wasabi.
Fun Fact: Both deviled eggs and Egg salad uses the same following ingredients: mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard.
Where does the name Horseradish come from?
Horseradish grows near the water so people in Germany called it sea radish or meerrettich in German. It is believed that the word meer was mispronounced to mare in English and this root vegetable was known as mareradish.
Somehow, mareradish became Horseradish because the long and large size and coarseness of this root vegetable denote a horse since horses are tall and broody.
Where does Horseradish come from?
Horseradish comes from the large, white, and long root of a Horseradish plant. It originated from Hungary and Russia. While Horseradish is a cousin of Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli, it actually shares the same family as radish, wasabi, cabbage, and mustard.
What is Horseradish made of?
Prepared Horseradish can be by itself and includes these three main ingredients:
- Grated horseradish root.
Horseradish contains a compound called isothiocyanate, which releases heat when the Horseradish is consumed or crushed. This is why vinegar comes in handy because it will stabilize the spicy flavor and neutralize the teary and spicy reaction.
When vinegar is added to freshly grated Horseradish, you’ll notice a milder taste.
You can also store grated Horseradish in a tightly sealed jar so that it remains crispy.
When making Horseradish sauce, it also contains the three main ingredients mentioned above along with Sour cream, mayonnaise, and cream to make the sauce creamier and milder.
Let’s discuss these ingredients or mixture in more details:
Grated Horseradish root
Since Horseradish contains sodium, ingesting this can raise the salt level in your dog’s daily diet and cause sodium poisoning in dogs. There are also irritation-causing compounds in this root vegetable that makes it unhealthy and unsafe for dogs to eat.
In addition to the natural sodium that Horseradish already contains, some people like to add more salt into the grated Horseradish or Horseradish sauce. As mentioned, too much salt in your pup’s diet can cause salt toxicity in dogs.
If you added vinegar to the grated Horseradish in order to neutralize and stabilize the spice, then try not to feed this to your pooch. Some canines may have stomach sensitivity or have kidney disease and the vinegar may cause them pain.
If your pooch does not react well to the vinegar, you can expect a gastrointestinal upset.
Sour cream and Cream
Many canines are lactose-intolerant so they are not able to digest dairy products like Sour cream properly. If you know that your furry friend is lactose-intolerant, avoid giving Horseradish with sour cream to your precious pooch.
Mayonnaise is generally safe for dogs as it is mostly oil with egg yolks. As long as your pooch does not have any allergic reactions to eggs, he should be fine ingesting a bit of mayonnaise.
However, some store-bought mayonnaise may contain lemon juice, vinegar, or mustard for flavor so be sure to double-check the ingredients before you hand over the mayonnaise to your pup.
Can dogs eat Horseradish mustard or Horseradish sauce?
No, dogs should not eat Horseradish mustard. Horseradish sauce with or in mustard is expected to be a lot hotter and spicier than the horseradish leaves or horseradish plants.
Dogs do not digest spicy or hot food well and as a result, they can react by vomiting or have diarrhea. Due to this, we recommend that you do not give Horseradish mustard to your canine friends.
When my family and I had the Horseradish sauce in mustard form, some of us rushed to drink water or rinse our tongue under the faucet. If we as humans are reacting this way, we realized it doesn’t make sense to let our dog ingest this.
My brother actually pulled out his phone and read to us about how Horseradish sauce and Horseradish mustard can even cause health problems in humans including, but not limited to:
- Upset stomach for a few hours.
- Miscarriages if the woman was pregnant.
Can dogs eat Horseradish plants and leaves?
While the Horseradish leaves are very tasty and edible when they are cooked, we would still recommend that you do not feed your canine friends any Horseradish plant or Horseradish leaves.
That’s because there might still be some spiciness in the Horseradish leaves and plants. Many will say that you can feed the leaves and plants to your furry friends since they are not entirely poisonous.
However, with many safer and healthier vegetables out there for canine consumption, it is best that you avoid feeding your pup Horseradish plants or Horseradish leaves and give them Brussel sprouts or actual dog food instead.
Health benefits of Horseradish
Many of the health benefits of Horseradish pertains to how it helps humans, mainly that Horseradish helps with the following:
- Contains antibacterial properties.
- Fight against cancer.
- Improve one’s respiratory health.
The article states that a small amount of Horseradish can provide humans with:
- Other micronutrients.
The small amount they gave is the measurement of 1 tablespoon which will provide:
- Protein (gram): less than 1
- Fiber (gram): 0.5
- Carbs (gram): 2
- Fat (gram): less than 1
- Calories: 7
From this information, it only tells us how it benefits humans and not really how it helps our canines. On top of that, this root vegetable has spicy elements. Therefore, it’s best that we avoid giving Horseradish sauce or Horseradish leaves to our pooch.
When shouldn’t you feed Horseradish to your dog?
You shouldn’t feed Horseradish to your dog if he already has an upset stomach or gastrointestinal upset. Avoid feeding Horseradish to your pups if they may have allergic reactions to it or are suffering from diarrhea.
If you know your furry friends do not like spicy food, avoid feeding Horseradish to them. For many dogs, the spicy taste does not sit well with them.
What if my dog accidentally eats a lot of Horseradish?
If your pooch accidentally eats a tiny bit of Horseradish, most likely he will be fine. Luckily this root vegetable isn’t toxic like chocolate. However, if he chomps on a lot of Horseradish, you should take him to the vet immediately.
Symptoms to watch for
In the meantime, keep an eye on him and see if he is experiencing the following symptoms:
- Gastrointestinal issues or discomfort.
- Allergic reactions.
- Passing gas.
- Very thirsty.
- Itchy skin.
- Swelling (eyelids, lips, ears, earflaps, face, sneezing constantly)
- Irritation in the mouth, tongue, and nose.
Be sure to visit your vet right away if your pooch accidentally eats a lot of Horseradish.
Fun Fact: Another human food that can cause bloating and gas in dogs is Lasagna so it’s best to keep this food away from your canine friends as well.
Can a dog go blind after eating Horseradish sauce?
No, dogs will not go blind after eating Horseradish sauce. To date, there are no recorded cases of a canine going blind after ingesting the Horseradish sauce, either with cheese or mustard.
You may be asking this question because you’ve probably read or heard of a case where people who ate chili peppers became blind from the burning sensation.
This is true because chili peppers do contain a dangerous component called capsaicin. If you are exposed to this chemical in its pure form, your eyes can water from the burning sensation and you can, unfortunately, become blind.
Since Horseradish is also spicy, many thought that the spicy and hot ingredients in this root vegetable can also cause blindness in dogs. Fortunately, Horseradish does not contain capsaicin so that is unlikely to happen.
Does Horseradish work for a dog’s cough?
This is an interesting question and one that intrigued me enough to ask my dog’s veterinarian. She explained that this question stemmed from people learning that Horseradish can help with their cough so they thought Horseradish could work for their dog’s cough as well.
My dog’s vet advised not to use Horseradish to treat a dog’s cough. She said the common practice is that veterinarians do not use this root vegetable to treat dogs in any way, shape, or form. She actually pointed me to WebMD.com that explains how it can help humans but there’s no research yet on how it helps dogs.
“Some people take horseradish by mouth for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, fluid retention, infections of the respiratory tract, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), gallbladder disorders, sciatic nerve pain, gout, colic, and intestinal worms in children.”
This article also states that this root vegetable may help in combating bacteria, but there was no proof to back up this statement.
Therefore, we do not recommend that you use Horseradish to treat your canine’s cough. Doing so can be risky and this could hurt your dog more than it would help soothe their cough.
There are also much safer alternatives out there that work better for our canine companion so we highly recommend that you go with dog-friendly methods to help with their coughs instead.
Will Horseradish get rid of worms in a dog?
We’ve read through many research papers and even asked our dog’s vet and we did not find any evidence of Horseradish being able to get rid of worms in a dog. Instead of Horseradish, we did find other ways that are more natural such as apple cider vinegar or coconut if your dog has worms.
We recommend that you schedule a visit to your dog’s vet if you suspect your pooch as parasites. Your vet will properly diagnose your pup and provide the appropriate treatment so your pooch can live a healthy life.
What are some dog-friendly and safe non-toxic Horseradish alternatives?
Instead of giving your pooch Horseradish, you can provide healthier vegetable options like oranges, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, cucumber, beets, avocado, and celery.
My dogs love these treats and we often give in:
This fruit and vegetable dog treat is 100% all-natural and the sweet potato chew is vegan, grain-free, and gluten-free.
The vegan, grain-free, and low-calorie crunchy dog treat has three flavors in one bag: sweet potato, carrot, and quinoa. It is sustainably sourced and made in the USA.
The superfood blend natural dog treats come in several flavors including veggies, greens, and berries. Crated in the USA, this dog treat is gluten-free and rich in antioxidants.
So, can dogs eat Horseradish?
Since your pooch may not react well to Horseradish, it is best not to feed your dog Horseradish. Instead, opt for healthier vegetables or regular dog food that will give him the nutrients and calories he needs.
No, dogs should not eat plain Horseradish. No matter if it’s plain Horseradish or it’s in the form of Horseradish sauce, try to keep it away from your pooch. They may have allergic reactions to it and their mouth and nose may get irritated. Additionally, they may have an upset stomach or gastrointestinal upset.
If your pooch doesn’t enjoy spicy food, avoid feeding them Horseradish. Some canines are lactose-intolerant. If your pooch is one, avoid feeding him cheese with Horseradish. Either one of these two foods can cause your pup to vomit or have diarrhea.
In the worst-case scenario, your pooch may suffer from gastrointestinal upset, bloating, gas, and upset stomach.
While many studies show that Horseradish root provides many health benefits to humans such as protecting the human body from cellular damage or preventing lunch and stomach cancer, there’s not much studies about how the Horseradish root can benefit our canines.
With that said, it’s best that dogs stay away from Horseradish altogether.
Garlic is toxic to dogs. Ingesting garlic is very dangerous to dog as the compound in garlic is capable of damaging red blood cells in dogs. As a result, your pooch may suffer from anemia. It is wise to never feed your pooch any food that contains either garlic or onion. These two seasonings are toxic to dogs.
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I’m a pet lover who has years of pet sitting and grooming experience. I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with all pet owners so they can also keep their canine companions healthy, happy, and clean!