The explosion of salty and sour, to sweet and spicy flavors with every bite makes pickles a mouthwatering addition to a lot of human foods.
Pickles are also low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals, which make them a healthy treat for us, humans. But, how about our canine buddies? Are pickles good or bad for dogs? Can dogs eat pickles?
If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s safe or not to give your pooch even a small amount of pickle, the answer is a relative yes and no.
In other words, there are still some gray areas surrounding pickles and dogs. And in this article, we’ll try our best to answer all the questions lying inside your mind once and for all.
What Are Pickles?
When we hear about pickles, we automatically think of pickled cucumbers or cucumbers that have been preserved in salt-water brine along with vinegar and other herbs and spices.
However, the truth is, you can pickle almost all fruits, vegetables, and even meat out there. For this article, however, our focus is on the conventional pickle, which is none other than the pickled cucumber.
Pickles come in different flavors, and there are different ways to pickle a cucumber. So, some are sweet, while others are hotter and zestier.
And there’s no single standard recipe being followed in making pickles. So, if you are planning to give a pickle slice to your dog, be sure to read the label as some pickle spears may have been exposed to flavoring and ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Pickles can be or cannot be safe for dogs to eat depending on how they were prepared. However, in general, pickles are not toxic to dogs, so, you can feed your dog some pickles.
But then, here’s the catch – your dog can still be healthy and happy even without ever tasting a pickle in his lifetime.
And if you are going to ask your vet about it, chances are he would not recommend it, as well because of the risks that come along with it.
However, if your pup sneaked into the kitchen while you are preparing dinner and accidentally ingested a pickle, he will just be fine.
Nonetheless, feel free to observe your pooch for adverse reactions. Some dogs may be allergic to pickles, while some may have an extremely sensitive stomach and they may experience gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting and diarrhea.
So, keep an eye on your pup, and if you may, just skip pickles and give your pooch his favorite dog food or treat, instead. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.
When Can Dogs Have Pickles?
If it’s your first time to give a pickle to your dog, introduce it as you would with any human food and that’s by giving it in moderation.
Of course, you should not give him the entire pickle at once. Try slicing it into pieces, or adding the bits as toppings on his favorite food.
With the strong scent and flavor of pickled cucumbers, you can expect that your dog may deter from even licking these tasty treats.
But if he shows inclination towards it, and doesn’t exhibit untoward reactions after, then, you can continue feeding him what you’ve prepared.
Just like us humans, dogs can also enjoy several health benefits from eating pickles once in a while. Pickled cucumbers are a rich source of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamins C and K, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. And because of how they were prepared, pickles also have high sodium content.
Now, a dog’s sodium intake may get complicated, since we all know that too much sodium is bad for dogs – it can cause high blood pressure, salt poisoning, and several other health issues.
However, we can’t deny the fact that sodium is still an important nutrient in a dog’s diet. A little bit of sodium is necessary for your dog’s normal body functioning.
When the sodium level in your dog’s system drops too low, his body and brain functions may also be compromised. A medium-sized dog should consume 100 milligrams of sodium per day.
And in considering this percentage, you should also take into account that most commercial dry dog foods have sodium content already.
Moreover, the magnesium in pickles can also be quite helpful to your pooch. According to studies, the lack of magnesium inside the body can weaken a dog’s heart, which can then, give way to heart attack and several other heart complications in the future.
In counting the positive sides of pickles to your dog, you should also consider the health benefits that he may get from the accompanying ingredients.
Some of the spices used in making pickles are dill, cinnamon, and clove. Dill pickle, in particular, contains antioxidants and it can reduce gas, as well as relieve other GI issues.
When Are Pickles Bad for Dogs?
Several pickle recipes are made with ingredients that are bad for dogs, especially the sweet bread-and-butter homemade variety. This type of pickled cucumbers has a distinct taste and is made with garlic, onion, brine, peppers, sugar, and spices.
For pet owners, it’s common knowledge that we can’t give dog onions and garlic because these veggies are toxic to them.
Garlic and onions can wreak havoc on their red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. A dog’s red blood cells may also die quicker than usual, and this can lead to a specific type of blood disorder called hemolytic anemia.
Hemolytic anemia in dogs has been the subject of several studies for many years. And the good news is that it isn’t fatal unless you give your dog onion regularly for several years.
And while pickles don’t have that much onion and garlic in them to cause a major problem, it’s still not worth risking your dog’s health.
Another popular type of pickles is the hot and spicy ones, which obviously is not something that dogs are fond of. Also, spicy foods, combined with other potentially harmful ingredients, can cause health issues to your pup, including stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.
And once again, since pickles are high in sodium, it goes without saying that you should only give these treats to your dog in small amounts.
Consuming large quantities of sodium-rich foods in a short time can cause additional side effects such as excessive drinking, ataxia or loss of balance, seizures, and stomach upsets.
Can Dogs Eat Dill Pickles?
The dill pickle is one of the most popular varieties that dogs can eat. This tart and savory type of pickle is a cucumber that has been soaked in vinegar, salt, water, and mixed with dill – an herb that is packed with antioxidants.
Just like with other varieties of pickles, you need to watch out for their sodium content before giving it to your pup. One medium slice of dill pickle contains about 700 to 1,500 milligrams of sodium, and as mentioned earlier, a dog’s daily sodium intake should not exceed 100 mg.
This means that one slice of dill pickle is more than enough to meet your dog’s daily sodium requirement. And again, remember that you dog’s kibbles already contain a certain amount of sodium.
So, you also need to put that into consideration when giving dill pickles to your dog.
Can You Give Pickle Juice to Your Dog?
Pickle juice is basically vinegar mixed with salt, water, and other ingredients. So, it’s just the same as letting your dog drink vinegar as if it’s just plain water.
Even if apple cider vinegar was used in making the pickles, it’s still not safe to give it to your dog. There is still no research that supports the alleged benefits of apple cider vinegar to humans, let alone to dogs.
Also, even plain vinegar can be harmful to dogs. Its acidic nature can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and can even put added stress on the kidneys. Vinegar can also disrupt the pH balance of a dog’s skin, and make his coat appear dull and lifeless.
So, due to the vinegar content of pickle juice, it’s not advisable to give it to your dog. This is especially true if your dog has an underlying health problem. If you have more concerns about this, feel free to ask for help from your veterinarian.
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Pickles?
As mentioned earlier, the sweet type of pickles is also made with other ingredients that can be harmful to dogs such as garlic and onion.
Considering the dangers of these veggies to your dog, coupled with the added risk of sugar in your dog’s diet, sweet pickles are certainly not something that you may want to give your dog.
Moreover, sugar can cause weight gain and may put your pup at risk for diabetes. Expectedly, for sweet pickles to get their distinct sweet flavor, a good deal of sugar is needed.
Depending on the products, the sugar content in one serving of bread and butter pickles may fall between 7 grams to 30 grams.
Keep in mind, as well that sweet pickles without sugar and other sugar-free products are not typically safe for dogs to eat. These foods contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
So, it always pays to read the label and be an inquisitive or even paranoid dog owner if it comes to that.
Will a pickle hurt my dog?
Pickles have very low nutritional value and are high in sodium, though they are safe for dogs to consume. While an occasional pickle slice will not harm them, there is no benefit in your dog ingesting extra sodium.
What if my dog ate a pickle?
Pickles are not toxic to dogs. So, if your dog happens to gobble up a pickle that falls off of your plate, there is generally no need to worry. A couple of small pieces of pickle here and there are probably not a problem either.
Why don't dogs eat pickles?
Pickles are very unhealthy for dogs due to their high sodium content. Consider that your dog's store-bought food already has sodium in it thus by adding pickles to his diet, you overload his body with sodium.
Is it normal for dogs to like pickles?
Actually, no. Dogs dislike the smell of bitter and acidic foods, such as lemons and pickles. In fact, because dogs are so put off by these smells, some dog products such as those intended to prevent fur biting are laced with these scents.