Can Dogs Eat Pickles?

Dog Health Recent April 6, 2024
Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
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Can Dogs Eat Pickles?

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Can Dogs Eat Pickles?


Pickles may be an excellent snack for humans, but are there benefits to giving your dog pickles? Or are there risks involved? The occasional pickle may offer your dog some health benefits, but when given too much, it can cause digestive issues.

It is recommended that your dog be provided with a healthy, protein-rich diet and only given fruits and vegetables as additional snacks. Pickles are not toxic to dogs, but they are incredibly high in sodium and contain ingredients that could be potentially harmful to your dog.

Keep reading to learn more about dogs eating pickles and what alternatives you may offer instead.

What Are Pickles?

Pickles are a cucumber that has been fermented in brine, vinegar, or syrup solution. Pickles can come in various flavors, so choosing the kind of pickle your dog can eat is more complicated. Some pickles contain a low amount of salt and leave out dangerous additives and preservatives.

Do Pickles Have Health Benefits for My Dog?

The veggie cucumber that pickles are made from contains many vitamins and minerals. However, the pickling process destroys many of the cucumbers’ health benefits.

Pickles are a high-fiber, low-fat, and low-calorie snack, but plain cucumbers do not contain high levels of sodium or harmful ingredients.  Offering your dog plain cucumbers is a better option than offering pickles. If the pickles you provide your dog only contain cucumber, brine, vinegar, and dill, it should be okay if they have a small bite on occasion.

Dill pickles contain dill, which can help damaged cells with antioxidants. Dill does have health benefits but offering your dog fresh dill on its own will provide more significant health benefits.

Why Are Pickles Bad For Dogs?

Like kosher dill pickles and bread and butter pickles, most pickles include spices and herbs such as garlic, which is known to be toxic to dogs. Other types of pickles, like spicy or hot pickles, can affect their stomachs because your dog will not be able to handle the spiciness, and that can lead to gastrointestinal issues.

In addition to the spices in pickles, the high sodium content can affect an underlying medical condition and lead to more issues later. Also, eating large amounts of sodium in a short amount of time may cause your dog to vomit, have diarrhea, excessive drinking, have balance issues, or have seizures.

Sodium is an essential nutrient in a dog’s diet, even with warnings and side effects. A small amount is necessary for normal bodily function, and if sodium levels get too low, it can cause the body and brain to be at risk. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) states that commercial dry dog food contains at least 0.3 percent sodium to maintain, grow, and develop in the body.

Because sodium is already a part of your dog’s diet, pickles will only raise those levels. For example, a medium-sized dog should consume no more than 100 milligrams of sodium a day.

What is in Pickles?

Pickles, whether plain, fermented, or brined, can provide nutrients for dogs, but certain ingredients used in the pickling process can pose health risks.

Apple cider vinegar, a raw, unpasteurized vinegar with a probiotic mother culture, is more beneficial than distilled white vinegar, which can cause kidney pressure, stomach upset, and diarrhea.

Sugar is present in large amounts in sweet pickles and bread-and-butter pickles, and large amounts of sodium are unsuitable for dogs.

Onions and garlic, from the allium family of root vegetables, contain n-propyl-disulfide, which can affect red blood cells and lead to anemia.

Cinnamon and nutmeg in sweet pickles can cause stomach upset or worsen if the dog reacts to the compound. Dill, a beneficial ingredient, can be destroyed by the pickling process, but fresh dill is still the better option. It is important to check the label for amounts and avoid consuming large amounts of these ingredients.

Can I Give My Dog Pickle Juice?

Pickle juice isn’t recommended for dogs because it is mostly salt, spices, and vinegar, which doesn’t provide any health benefits to your dog. The high sodium and herbs help preserve the pickles for extended periods of time, but these ingredients aren’t healthy options for dogs. For this reason, it isn’t recommended that you give your dog pickle juice.

What Are Some Alternative Treats to Pickles?

While your pup should avoid pickles, there are several other healthy treats you can offer. A good rule of thumb is to keep your dog’s treat intake to 10 percent or less of their total daily calorie consumption.

Other good healthy treat alternatives to pickles include the following:

  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Unsweetened peanut butter
  • Blueberries
  • Lean chicken
  • Pumpkin
  • Watermelon (seedless)

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats a Pickle?

If your dog manages to get a hold of a pickle when you turn away for a minute, don’t worry. While we state that it is unsafe for dogs to eat pickles, it is not something to lose your cool over unless they eat a whole jar.

Pickles are high in sodium, so be sure your dog has plenty of water. Watch for vomiting and diarrhea, and do not hesitate to call your vet if you notice your dog developing these symptoms. Your vet may suggest coming in for a check-up or offering solutions to help your dog feel better faster.

If your dog consumed store-bought dill pickles, then check the product ingredient label to be sure there are no ingredients that could be dangerous. Some dill pickle products may contain a higher concentration of garlic or onion-based ingredients, making them more dangerous for dogs.

Final Thoughts

So, are pickles safe for dogs to eat? As you can see, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. While most pickles are not harmful to dogs when given in small amounts, there are some exceptions. Before offering your dog a pickle for a snack, consider other healthy options listed in this article. Remember that treats should make up no more than 10 percent of your pup’s daily calories.

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Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
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