It's common for dogs to eat pickles at some point, as pickles are a common topping on burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs! Also commonly found on cheese boards and barbecue tables. Whether it is your pickle from your barbecue plate or you gave your dog a bite of your burger, it seems your dog enjoys that salty, sour taste of pickles. As pet parents, you may wonder, can my dog eat pickles? What happens if my dog eats pickles? If my dog ate pickles, should I be concerned? Are pickles safe for my dog?
Below, we'll tell you all about if dogs should eat pickles, which pickles are safe, and why you might want to avoid them!
Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Yes, dogs can eat pickles - although only in moderation. Remember, your dog's primary diet should be dog food formulated to have everything your dog needs to stay healthy.
Dogs can only eat plain pickles as an occasional treat, and a small slice or an occasional pickle won't harm them. If your dog has underlying health conditions, it is best to consult your vet before trying any new food.
Health Benefits Of Eating Pickles
Some of the health benefits of pickled cucumbers aren't accessible to a dog's digestive system - such as probiotics from fermentation, which dogs don't appear to benefit from. However, there are many other ways in which pickles are a beneficial addition to a dog's diet!
Low In Calories
The average-sized pickle only contains four calories! This makes it a perfect low-calorie snack and a great option for overweight dogs.
Low In Sugar
Depending on how the cucumber was pickled, most pickles are very low in sugar, with plain dill pickles having less than 1 gram of sugar each.
Vitamins And Minerals
Pickles are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, and folate. Vitamin A is good for eye health and supports healthy cell growth. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting, and vitamin C boosts the immune system.
Cucumber pickles contain a good amount of beta-carotene. This antioxidant lowers the risk of various chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
For the most part, a pickle is a water. On a hot summer day, a pickle can be a cooling and hydrating snack for your dog.
The Downside Of Dogs Eating Pickles
While pickles may seem like a healthy choice for dog treats, there are some situations in which pickles can be bad for dogs to eat.
High In Salt
Pickles are extraordinarily high in salt, and one pickle has an average of 283 milligrams of salt. Most veterinarians suggest that dogs not exceed 100 milligrams of sodium daily, so feeding your dog a single pickle will blow way past that limit! Consuming too much sodium causes dehydration, high blood pressure, and sodium poisoning. Dogs with kidney concerns should avoid pickles altogether.
Salt toxicity can be serious for dogs that eat too many pickles preserved with salt.
To make pickles, fresh cucumbers are packed with vinegar, various spices, and herbs. Some say that vinegar offers additional nutrients to the pickles, but this isn't the case. Apple cider vinegar has health benefits, but pickles are made with white vinegar. Large amounts of white vinegar can irritate a dog's sensitive nose. They might eat the pickle just fine, but as soon as the smell hits their nose, they retch it back up.
Regular pickles made with fresh dill are safe for dogs to eat. However, there are pickling recipes that use garlic, onion, and chili pepper in the pickling process. These ingredients are harmful to dogs and harsh on a dog's stomach. Onions, in particular, are toxic to dogs and harm a dog's red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia.
What Is The Best Way For Dogs To Eat Pickles?
If you want to feed your dog pickles, the two main things to keep in mind are "plain" and "moderation."
A dog can have a slice or two of pickles every couple of days. A whole pickle should never be offered, nor should slices of pickles be a daily treat.
It's important only to offer slices of plain, dill pickle. With so many types and terms on the label of a pickle jar, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out if a particular type of pickle is safe for your dog.
In general, Kosher pickles, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, and sweet pickles are not toxic to dogs and are safe for them to eat. Of those four, sweet pickles and bread and butter pickles have less sodium than kosher pickles and dill pickles. To help and see if the pickle is safe for your dog, read the nutrition label to see how much sodium it contains and what ingredients are used.
Hot and spicy pickles should never be offered, as they contain chili peppers and other hot spices that can seriously harm a dog's digestion. Sweet pickles that have nutmeg among the spices should also be avoided.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Drink Pickle Juice?
No, dogs cannot drink pickle juice! The pickling brine has none of the nutritional value the pickles themselves offer and only contains salt and vinegar. The salt is more concentrated in the juice than in the pickle - so if a pickle has too much salt, pickling brine is absolutely out of the question! Whereas humans sometimes use pickle juice to help with dehydration, a dog's body cannot process so much salt, and it will make a dehydrated dog much sicker.
Can Diabetic Dogs Eat Pickles?
Yes, pickles can be eaten by diabetic dogs - although unpickled cucumbers are an even better choice! Avoid sweet pickles, as they contain higher levels of sugar.
Can Dogs Eat Fried Pickles?
Fried pickles are a popular festival treat and are safe for most dogs to eat. However, remember that your dog should only eat a slice or two. Some dogs are also gluten intolerant, and the breading of fried pickles may cause an issue.