There are plenty of foods that people eat that are also safe for dogs. There’s usually nothing wrong with giving your dog the occasional strawberry or a little bite of banana. Things become a little less clear when your dog is showing interest in things like processed or preserved foods.
If your dog is begging for a pickle, here’s what you need to know about when you can and can’t share pickles with your dog.
The Nutritional Benefits of Pickles
Pickles are marinated and preserved cucumbers, which means they possess the same nutritional value as cucumbers. Cucumbers are a very healthy vegetable. They’re loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C, vitamin A to promote skin health and eye health, and vitamin K for bone and blood health. They’re also rich in a ton of trace minerals and electrolytes.
Cucumbers have a high water content and a high fiber content. In addition to filling your tummy, they also help to keep you hydrated and promote digestive health.
You can give your dog a few slices of plain cucumber whenever they’d like them. Their low-calorie content and extremely low sugar content make them an excellent choice for dogs that like crunchy snacks, and the seeds are safe for your dog to consume in small amounts (i.e. they’re okay to eat with cucumber, just don’t let your pup get into any cucumber seeds alone).
When cucumbers become pickles, the situation changes. Pickles contain all of the same vitamins, minerals, and fiber that cucumbers have, but they also contain the nutritional content of the other ingredients used to make them.
While pickles still remain a decent snack, there are other considerations you need to make before you feed pickles to your dog.
What’s in a Pickle?
All pickles are made with vinegar and salt, and this is what makes them a less ideal snack for dogs than cucumbers alone. Vinegar is highly acidic, and salt is something that humans and animals should only consume in modest amounts. Even moderate amounts of vinegar can cause significant digestive upset, while moderate amounts of salt can have a negative impact on heart health.
Pickles made with apple cider vinegar are slightly different. Apple cider vinegar is made with a bacterial fermentation process that gives the vinegar probiotic properties. While these probiotics give apple cider vinegar a slight digestive advantage, it’s still highly acidic. Dogs aren’t more likely to tolerate apple cider vinegar than any other type of vinegar.
Traditional Dill Pickles
Traditional dill pickles are made with salt, vinegar, and dill. Dill itself is perfectly safe for dogs to eat. If your dog likes dill, you can even give them raw dill from your garden. Dog owners use fresh raw dill to help freshen stinky breath, and find that it works effectively (although it isn’t an alternative to proper canine dental hygiene!).
Take note that the dill in dill pickles doesn’t have the same nutritional benefits as fresh dill, and there’s only a very small amount of dill in the jar. If your dog really likes the flavor of dill pickles, you’re probably better off giving your dog cucumbers and fresh dill.
Sweet pickles, like bread and butter varieties of pickles, contain substantial amounts of sugar in the brine. You’re better off not giving your dog foods made with added sugars. Sugar and vinegar are a bad combination for oral health, and the two can work together in unison to cause tooth decay. Feeding your dog sweet pickles has too many potential consequences, so it’s best to avoid them overall.
Savory pickles are often made with ingredients like garlic and onion (called alliums), neither of which are safe for dogs to consume. Alliums are toxic to your dogs. They also shouldn’t have leeks or chives. Always check the ingredients list on your pickles to make sure there are no allium ingredients.
Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Plain dill pickles are safe for dogs in small amounts as long as they don’t contain any allium ingredients. If your dog is adamant about trying your pickle, giving them one sliced pickle or a small slice of a whole pickle likely won’t be harmful.
Should Dogs Eat Pickles?
The occasional small piece of pickle is unlikely to harm your dog, but it’s not a good idea to make a habit of it. Pickles aren’t the ideal daily snack for animals, so save them for special events like family burger cookouts.
Even though dogs can technically eat pickles, it’s probably not a good idea to feed them pickles. It’s much safer to give your dog small pieces of raw cucumber or some freshly clipped raw dill, both of which pose a much smaller risk for causing digestive upset and don’t contain any salt.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Pickles?
If your dog only had a few pieces of pickle, things are probably fine. Just keep an eye on your dog to assure they’re tolerating the pickles well. If they aren’t, make sure your dog never gets a hold of pickles again. If everything goes well, you can give your dog a piece or two on rare occasions if they really enjoy them.
Contact Your Vet
If your dog is vomiting or experiencing severe diarrhea, call your vet. If it’s after hours, it’s better to call or take your dog to an emergency veterinary care center than it is to wait until your vet is available. Frequent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration. It’s better to intervene as early as possible.
Make Sure Your Dog Has Water
Water can help to dilute the acidity in your dog’s stomach and mitigate some of the effects of the salt. Make sure your dog has a full bowl of water and encourage them to drink. If your dog is more interested in their water dish when you place a few ice cubes in it, it might be a good idea to do so.
Watch for Signs of an Upset Tummy
If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, this is a sign that they aren’t tolerating pickles well. If the incident is isolated and isn’t severe, it will likely pass. Keep a close eye on your dog’s symptoms to assure they don’t worsen. Make sure everyone in the house knows that your dog can’t have pickles anymore to avoid accidentally repeating the scenario.
The Final Verdict on Dogs and Pickles
While most dogs can technically eat plain pickles occasionally without experiencing any unwanted side effects, it’s probably wise to avoid pickles altogether. There are so many whole fruits and vegetables that dogs can safely enjoy. It’s a better idea to stick to a safer option and give your dog a few fresh green beans or half a dozen blueberries.
If your dog does get into some pickles, keep a watchful eye. Things will probably be fine, but it’s always better to remain vigilant when it comes to the health of your animal. You should always monitor your dog after introducing new foods or new snacks into their diet to assure that they’re well-tolerated, and never hesitate to call your vet if you see something concerning like vomiting or diarrhea.
VETCBD Hemp is committed to holistic pet wellness. Our blog is full of useful tips regarding your dog’s diet and healthy snacks they can safely enjoy.