Mustard Matters: Harmful to Canine Companions?
Mustard can be found in many forms and is used in many different culinary dishes. It offers tons of health benefits for humans such as vitamins, and minerals, and it is loaded with antioxidants. Make no mistake though, the good gifts humans can reap from eating mustard are harmful to dogs.
It is important to note that this is referring to mustard condiments and not mustard greens. Dogs can eat mustard greens as long as it does not have the seed pods attached. Mustard greens are the plant that all brassica vegetables stem from. Broccoli, Kale, Collard Greens, Brussels Sprouts all have the same mustard plant ancestor.
Dogs can’t eat mustard safely. Mustard is toxic to dogs in pretty much any form. It is generally accepted that if your dog scavenges a little bit of mustard from something like a soft pretzel or a sandwich it typically will not be enough to harm the dog. If the dog is able to eat a larger amount of mustard there can be some serious side effects. Do not leave an open mustard bottle in reach of your dog if it has a tendency to eat things it should not.
Why is mustard unsafe for dogs?
The two main reasons why mustard should not be eaten by dogs is the process that it causes once the seeds are ingested. The polyhydroxyphenols that are present in the mustard bind with thiamine causing it to break down into thiamine disulfide. This form of thiamine is not absorbable by the dog’s digestive system. In turn, this causes a thiamine deficiency in the dog. Without proper levels of thiamine, the dog’s ability to break down carbohydrates is affected along with its central nervous system.
The second more immediate issue that can be a result of a dog eating mustard is gastroenteritis. This is usually what occurs after ingestion of crushed or pulverized mustard seeds. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the dog’s stomach and or intestines. Its first symptoms usually are vomiting or diarrhea. The symptoms usually only last for a few days unless the source of the irritation is not eliminated.
Other reasons mustard is unsafe for dogs
Besides the chemicals that are contained in the seeds, there are also other items in mustard that are not healthy for dogs. Most mustard has added sugar and salts, some may also contain garlic or onions. The added ingredients can be just as bad if not worse for the dog than the actual seeds.
Excessive salt can cause all kinds of issues in a dog such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and even seizures. This is one of the reasons why dogs should never be allowed to have pickle juice. High salt can easily disturb the dog’s internal processes and wreak havoc if left untreated.
Added sugars found in mustard and many other condiments for that matter can lead to GI issues, weight gain, issues with the metabolism, and in extreme cases diabetes. Limit the amount of added sugar that is consumed in the dog’s diet to avoid those issues.