Pickles aren’t something dogs are very fond of, in general, but you do have the exceptional dog that sniffs around and wants to have some. And, pickles don’t exactly have the most positive of reputations in the dog owner community, for reason’s we’ll be discussing in this article.
So, you might be asking yourself, can dogs eat pickles? And are pickles good for dogs to eat?
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Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
So, can dogs eat pickles or not? After all, pickles are just cucumbers, and we all know that cucumbers are good for dogs to eat, so pickles must also be good for dogs to eat as well, right? Wrong.
The answer to this question is, it depends on how often and on the pickle itself.
One type of pickle fed in the right amounts can be a very safe addition to your dog’s diet, while another type of pickle fed in any amount can be a very bad addition to your dog’s diet.
Pickles in and of themselves are not poisonous or toxic to dogs, but they are known to be very high in sodium content, vinegar and spices, all of which have the potential to be very harmful to dogs.
Where does all the sodium come from? Well, that’s what “pickled” means, it means to soak something in salty water along with other stuff like vinegar and spices for a certain period of time.
But, there is good news nonetheless, and there are some form of pickles you can go ahead and give to your dog.
How Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
When it comes to feeding your dog pickles, there are many pickled cucumber options and varieties for you to choose from – and out of all of those options and varieties, unsalted, unsweetened and unspiced pickles are best.
The best route to go with when feeding your dog occasional pieces of pickle is to feed your dog unsalted pickles, as this way you’ll be ensuring that they aren’t getting more sodium than their bodies can handle.
You should also go with sweet pickles instead of salty, sour pickles, which are usually prepared with much less concentrated brine solution.
If you can search around for sweet pickle jars with very low levels of sodium and don’t have any spices added to them, then you’re set!
The question of feeding dogs dill pickles also gets asked often, but the problem is (again) with the high sodium levels and spices found in dill pickles, so we’d have to say no to that as well.
How Much Pickles Can Dogs Eat?
As we already established, the main problem with pickles is the high content of salt, which in enough quantities can be fatal do dogs.
So, feeding your dog a couple of pickle slices that are cut into small pieces around 1-2 times a week at most is fine, but don’t feed your dog any more than that.
(You want to make sure to cut any pickle you want to feed to your dog into small slices, and then give your dog a couple of these slices.
Never give your dog a whole pickle to eat all at once, as it’s too big for them to handle all at once and there’s a very big risk that they’ll choke trying to eat it).
If you were to make a frequent habit out of giving your dog pickles, this will lead to the build up of sodium levels in their bodies to dangerous amounts and will develop a tendency in your dog where they now expect to be fed pickles on a frequent basis.
Your dog is already getting all the sodium their body needs and all the sodium their body can handle from the dog food you buy from them, any human food you choose to feed your dog on the side has to be very low in sodium levels.
Pickles are by no means a type of food that should be a staple in your dog’s diet, nor does your dog need to be eating any amount of pickles at all, so always remember that.
And, you should also know that feeding your dog something like pickles leads to a much higher chance of them having digestive issues/an upset stomach, which is a very normal reaction that the bodies of dogs do when “unusual” foods that they aren’t used to eating enter their system.
When Are Pickles Bad For Dogs?
To start off, pickles that have been cooked with onions and garlic should never be given to dogs. Onions can lead to anemia in dogs, so check out this article about onions and this article about garlic to learn more about those two subjects.
You should also note that if your dog has been placed on a very low-sodium diet, then you should NOT under any circumstance feed them any pickles, because that would just throw them off their diet, and lead to very serious problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Are Pickles Good For Dogs?
While not necessarily the most nutritious of foods, pickles do nevertheless have some benefits to offer:
- They can be high in fiber
- They contain a good amount of vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin K
- They contain a decent amount of minerals, such as potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium
However, when compared to high quality dog food that you should be feeding your dog and other human foods that dogs can be eating as a treat every now and then, the health benefits that pickles have to offer your dog are very negligible.
If the only reason you’re considering feeding your dog pickles is to give them a treat, there are much better options you could go with, ones that are much healthier for your dog and ones that your dog will enjoy eating much more than a pickle.
Even then, why not consider giving your dog just a plain cucumber?
Cucumbers are much better for dogs than pickles, as the nutrients that are found in cucumbers are often lost by the time the cucumber becomes a pickle.
And, if you’re worried about your dog not liking a cucumber as much as they’ll like a pickle, only us humans are able to tell the difference between the two, and most of us would much rather eat pickles than cucumbers because pickles are much tastier with other food, but for dogs they both mean the same thing – a nice treat to have from time to time!
Can Dogs Drink Pickle Juice?
What about the pickle juice that remains in the jar after the process of turning cucumbers into pickles has been completed? Is that safe for dogs to drink?
The answer to that is a huge NO, because this is just water with large amounts of salt, vinegar and/or spices all mixed together, and why would you ever want to have these ingredients enter your dog’s body if all they’ll cause is an upset stomach and health hazards?
So what you should do is get rid of any pickle juice that remains and absolutely never let your dog get anywhere near it, as this is one of the last things they should ever be drinking.