3 Reasons Mustard is Not Safe for Your Dog to Eat

dog eating greens
© Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com

Written by Heather Ross

Updated: October 4, 2022

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  • You need to be careful with your dog and mustard in all forms.
  • There are some good alternatives if you want to try them, like carrots, basil, and coriander.
  • Mustard can be found in a lot of different types of foods.

You are happier when your canine friend wags their tail because they feel comfortable. One of the ways to keep your pooch happy is by giving them healthy food. But, is mustard a healthy food? Will it give your canine healthy skin or cause vomiting and gastroenteritis? Get to know how safe mustard is for your dog, its benefits, and its possible risks.

What is Mustard?

Mustard is a popular condiment just like mayonnaise and ketchup, and depending on the type, it adds a sweet or tart flavor to your meals. This condiment is made from the seeds of a mustard plant, and you can get it from the three different types of mustard seed: white, brown, and black.

You can also buy mustard in different forms. Some people like it when it’s whole; others prefer the ground or bruised mustard, which can be sold as a mixture of turmeric and wheat flour.

Mustard seeds and flour are great for humans’ health because they promote clear skin and hair growth. The seeds are said to slow cancer cell growth and reduce inflammation. But, some of these seeds are not good for your dog. They can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Mustard is safer for your dog if you mix the pure, unseasoned mustard greens with other approved dog foods. Ensure you steam the leaves to make them tender and easier to digest. But, avoid feeding mustard seeds to your dog as they can cause health issues.

Reasons to Avoid Giving Mustard to Your Dog

Mustard seeds and the mustard condiment are unhealthy foods for your canine. Some of the reasons not to give mustard to your dog are:

1.     Added Ingredients

Human beings like the taste of mustard because of additives like garlic, turmeric, and paprika. You can find mustard in many parts of the world and on many different dishes. Which is why we need to be careful on what food – including human and table food – end up in our dogs’ mouths. Unwatched food or dropped morsels can end up being bad news. Your pooch will also like the smell and taste of these ingredients. However, their bodies do not respond well to these.

Paprika and garlic powder can cause digestive issues for your dog. Some signs your dog needs attention after eating mustard are vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and signs of stomachache, like loud stomach gurgling, refusal to eat food or drink water, panting, and limited physical activity.

2.      High Sugar and Salt Content

Condiments have added sugar and salt, which are unhealthy for your canine. These ingredients increase thirst in your dog, so they need frequent hydration. This causes sodium ion poisoning and a lot of discomfort to your dog.

Some symptoms of sodium poisoning in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, depression, decreased appetite, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination, physical incoordination, and high temperature. Some dogs get tremors or seizures in severe cases. The persistence of these symptoms can lead to a coma or even death.

3.      Mustard Seed Toxicity

Mustard seeds are poisonous to dogs because they contain toxic compounds like isothiocyanate and glucosinolates. The isothiocyanate irritates the mucous membrane in the dog’s stomach, causing ulcers.

Signs that the seeds are affecting your dog are an upset stomach due to the toxic compounds, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some dogs are also allergic to the seeds, and their bodies react immediately after they eat them.

Other Parts of Mustard You Should Not Give to Your Dog

Here are the other types of mustard you should avoid giving your dog.

Wild Mustard Is Not Good for Dogs

Wild mustard, also called field mustard, might be safe for you, but it is not safe for your dog. It contains two compounds, isothiocyanate and goitrogens, which can irritate your dog’s stomach. These cause drying and wounds to the stomach walls, leading to stomachaches and ulcers.

Goitrogens tamper with the normal functioning of the thyroid glands, affecting the release of hormones that regulate the dog’s metabolic rate and digestive functions. Thyroid hormones are also essential for your pet’s brain and bone development.

Why Whole Grain Mustard Is Not Safe for Your Dog

Whole grain mustard is different from other types of mustard. This type of mustard has visible seeds, which are very harmful to your pet. Whole grain mustard comes in varieties like dijon, French, and Chinese hot mustard.

Dogs are cheeky, and yours could secretively lick some mustard if you don’t store it safely. Just a small consumption of whole-grain mustard won’t necessarily always cause adverse effects, but too much consumption can definitely cause continuous diarrhea and vomiting, possibly leading to death.

Mustard Oil

Mustard oil is healthy for humans. It promotes skin and hair health, reduces cancer cell growth, and alleviates pain. But, humans can tolerate foods that dogs can’t. Perhaps consider olive oil for your pup.

Mustard oil won’t lead to a healthy coat or good health for your dog. Instead, it leads to orotic acid toxicity. Dog owners should also avoid using the oil to massage their dog’s skin because your furry friend will lick it.

Are There Any Side Effects of Mustard Powder?

Mustard powder is also not healthy for your dog. It causes vomiting and diarrhea. Keep mustard powder away from your dog is to also avoid them sniffing it. Large amounts of powder can block the dog’s throat and cause choking.

Healthy Types of Mustard for Your Dog

Although mustard seeds and sauce can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and an stomach upset in your dog, there are some safe types of mustard to feed your canine friend. For example:

Mustard Greens

Your canine friend will benefit from mustard greens because of their many nutrients. The greens also have low calories to protect your pet from unhealthy weight gain and heart diseases caused by too much fat in their food.

But, don’t make mustard greens an everyday meal for your dog. Instead, give your dog a little amount of the greens per week only, because increasing the amounts can cause diarrhea and stomachaches. The greens can also cause gut inflammation.

dog eating greens

Mustard greens are the only kind of mustard that is safe for your dog, and they are only safe when fed in small quantities.


Benefits of Mustard Greens for Your Dog

Besides only a small amount of calories, mustard greens provide your dog with fiber, which is an essential compound in dog food that helps with digestion. But, too much fiber is not healthy for the dog. It causes an imbalance leading to diarrhea and vomiting. If you see such signs, stop giving this food to your pet immediately and contact your vet.

Mustard greens contain antioxidants that are important to your dog’s health. They strengthen the canine’s immune system, reduce oxidative stress, and lower the chance of cancer.

The greens provide the dog with essential vitamins like vitamin A, B6, and K. These are vital for the growth of strong bones, teeth, and connective tissues. They also increase the dog’s immunity.

Other ingredients found in mustard leaves are flavonoids and beta carotene, which are essential for the growth and development of your dog. They ensure your pet has strong heart muscles and is in good health.

Ways to Make Mustard Greens Safe

Mustard greens are safe for your dog, but you can make them safer. Cooking the leafy greens makes them easier to chew and digest. But, don’t boil them in too much water. Instead, you can steam the greens to reduce the toughness.

You can even use the steamed greens as a topping on your dog’s usual food.

Be sure that you don’t add garlic and other spices to the greens. Your dog will not notice the absence of these ingredients as you would. The spices cause stomach discomfort and vomiting in your dog, so it’s really important to avoid them.

Alternative Foods to Mustard

Since mustard can do more harm than good for your dog, protect your pet by finding more healthy foods. Some foods to safely feed your canine include:

1.      Carrots

Giving your dog small pieces of carrot to chew strengthens their teeth. The chewing also helps remove plaque from the teeth, promoting your dog’s dental health. Dogs also get vitamin A from carrots, which help grow a healthy coat and skin.

However, don’t feed your dog too many carrots in a week, as it can be unhealthy and cause them to develop carotenemia.

2.      Basil

Basil is healthy for dogs because of its anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties.

However, it can only be fed in very small quantities. Too much can cause sickness because basil is not meant for dogs.

The green leaves also help to prevent diabetes and can be used to relieve pain and inflammation. Another reason to occasionally feed your dog basil is that it offers liver protection and fights free radicals. If your dog suffers from arthritis, basil is a good pain reliever.

3.      Coriander

If your dog is begging for some extra flavor, you can add coriander to their food in small amounts. Coriander helps to alleviate nausea, and it also detoxifies your dog’s body. This is a perfect topping on your dog’s food if they are breastfeeding because it increases milk flow.

The green leaves are also anti-parasitic and ease intestinal gas. But, do not give coriander to a pregnant dog because it stimulates contractions.

Remember, only feed these foods and herbs in small quantities.


Dog owners like sharing food with their dogs, but don’t give your canine friend a bite of your hotdog with mustard sauce. Mustard can cause stomach discomfort and other complications like vomiting and diarrhea. If you do feed your dog mustard, be sure that you are only feeding them mustard greens. Keep in mind that you must keep the number of mustard greens small, so your dog isn’t eating too many of them. Too many mustard greens are bad for their health, so do so with the utmost care.

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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

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