Can Dogs Eat Barbacoa

Can Dogs Eat Barbacoa?

When we are enjoying something, it is almost as if our pets can tell– and then there they come with the puppy dog eyes! Surely, you think, sharing a little bit with them won’t hurt. Besides, you weren’t going to be able to finish the entire meal anyway. Generally, that is true. Most things are safe in moderation, though there are others that still should not be risked– even in small doses. So, in this case, what about barbacoa– is it safe for your dog? Read on to find out.

What Is Barbacoa?

First things first, what is barbacoa anyway? Barbacoa is a method of cooking meat that is found in Mexican and Puerto Rican cuisine, and in fact originated in Puerto Rico with the Taino people. The name comes from the word “barbaca”, from which the word barbecue also originates. Typical barbacoa is slowly cooked with different seasonings and then shredded for filling in foods like tacos or burritos. Usually, barbacoa meat is lamb or beef, but other proteins can be used, too.

The slow cooking method for barbacoa is great for enhancing the savoury flavour and silky texture of the meat. It gets its texture from collagen, as barbacoa is usually made from the head or tongue, both of which have high collagen levels. Using these less popular parts of the beast also makes barbacoa an inexpensive food option. It may also be made using other cuts of beef, like beef chuck, but using prime cuts of meat for this particular cooking method is unnecessary. 

Barbacoa Ingredients

There are many different ingredients in barbacoa that really make it stand out. Often, barbaco is served as taco or burrito filling with some additives, such as a sprinkling of cilantro on top. Some, but not all, of these ingredients can be harmful to your pet, though they are not harmful to us humans! Below, we discuss some of these ingredients. 


Onions can be very dangerous to dogs, and should not be fed to your four-legged friend, whether the onion is on its own or is an ingredient in a dish. This is because all types of onion, from yellow to green, can lead to onion toxicosis in your pet. The onion can be cooked or raw and will still be a danger to your dog, so watch out for this!


Cilantro is the center of the age old debate– many people stand very firmly on whether or not they like it. So, where do dogs fall on this spectrum? While your dog may not like the taste of cilantro, that is up to personal preference. It is not an ingredient that should be a cause for concern, as it is actually healthy for your dog to eat in small portions. 


Chile peppers are not necessarily toxic to dogs or poisonous. That being said, they may not be totally benign, either. That’s because chile peppers contain something called capsaicin, which is a compound that can act as an irritant to dogs. Due to this, consumption of too many chile peppers can still be dangerous to your dog. The buildup of capsaicin in your dog can lead to several different digestive issues.

Can My Dog Eat Barbacoa?

While some of the ingredients in barbacoa can be dangerous to your dog, they will also likely be more diluted in barbacoa than they would be on their own, so are thus less likely to be dangerous. However, this is still not something that you should risk, so it is recommended that you do not feed your dog barbacoa– no matter how much they might beg! It is not worth the potential health issues that could then arise, such as digestive issues or even, in a worst case scenario, onion toxicosis. 

We have to remember that just because it’s ok for humans to eat it’s not always ok for dogs to eat. There are lots of human foods that are ok for dogs, and lots that are not ok.

Related – Human foods Havanese Dogs Can Eat

Digestive Issues

Digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea– or increased flatulence– are some of the most common symptoms when your dog eats something that it shouldn’t. This can occur if your dog eats barbacoa, especially because of ingredients such as chili peppers and other flavorings. 


Vomiting is another symptom that your pet may experience if it eats barbacoa, especially if it eats a good amount of it. Ingredients like chili peppers can cause digestive issues and upset stomachs, which can lead to vomiting in order to expunge the food from your dog’s system. 

Onion Toxicosis

Onion toxicosis is a very serious condition that is caused by onions, which dogs cannot process properly. The onions contain a compound that causes a breakdown of red blood cells in your dog’s body, which then leads to anemia and oxidative damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat Mexican food?

Mexican food has lots of delicious ingredients, like cheese, salsa, ond flavorings like onion and different spice blends. When combined, these could cause issues for your dog with digestion and could lead to diarrhea and vomiting. In fact, certain included ingredients, like onions, can be toxic to your dog. 

What kind of meat can dogs eat?

Dogs can eat plain meat, like chicken, turkey, crab, steak, or ground beef. You should make sure that these meats are lean and do not have too high of a fat content, as this could cause indigestion. Also, do not flavor the meat with rubs or any other ingredients, as these could cause issues as well. 

What meat should dogs avoid?

Your dog should avoid eating ham, bacon, and fat trimmings. While these have a lot of flavor, they also contain lots of salt and fat, which can cause indigestion or worse symptoms, like vomiting or even pancreatitis. 

Can dogs eat BBQ meat?

Some barbecue meats are okay for your dog to eat, but it is important that you do not just feed them anything off the grill. Meats like steak, ribs, fish, or grilled chicken are safe for your dog to eat, but you should be sure that they are not being fed meat with special marinades or rubs that have ingredients in them that could bother your pet’s stomach. 

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