If the pickle you’re enjoying with your hamburger falls off your plate, it’s likely that your dog will snatch it up pretty quickly. Does this warrant a call to your vet?
Dog bodies work differently than human bodies do, so what is safe for us may not be safe for them.
Pickles are a staple in many households, and especially at summer barbeques, but can dogs eat pickles too?
Can dogs eat pickles?
The answer to this question is yes...but no. It’s too complicated to give a definitive answer, so we will break it down for you below.
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.
However, pickles are extremely high in sodium and contain other potentially harmful ingredients. For this reason, veterinarians do not recommend feeding pickles to your dog.
Why are pickles potentially harmful for my dog?
Pickles contain a large amount of sodium, which can pose health risks to your dog for several reasons. High amounts of sodium over time can lead to a variety of health problems, such as high blood pressure which can lead to stroke or heart attack. Having too much sodium in a short amount of time can lead to excessive drinking, vomiting/diarrhea, loss of balance, and seizures. (1)
If your dog displays any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Dogs with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or other sodium-related health conditions should not eat pickles at all. For other dogs, it’s best to contact your veterinarian, as is the case when trying any new food.
Unlike standard fruits and vegetables, pickles are made with a variety of vinegars, spices, and other ingredients. So, it can be difficult to know exactly what is in a pickle and whether or not those ingredients are safe.
Many pickle recipes contain onions and/or garlic, both of which are toxic for dogs. Onions and garlic can cause damage to your dog’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.
Spicy pickle varieties can also cause digestive upset to your dog, since their systems are not used to, or made to, digest these foods.
Do pickles have any health benefits for my dog?
Pickles are high in fiber and are low in fat and calories. Dill pickles contain dill, which is an herb that contains antioxidants, which can help damage to cells. While dill does have health benefits, it is likely more beneficial to your dog’s health to give him fresh dill rather than give him dill pickles in order to obtain health benefits.
Cucumbers, which pickles are made from, contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. The pickling process destroys many of the health benefits that cucumbers provide.
Since plain cucumbers don’t contain high levels of sodium and the potentially harmful ingredients, giving your dog plain cucumbers is a better option than giving her pickles.
The Bottom Line
While a few small pieces of pickle here and there will probably not be harmful for your dog, plain cucumbers are probably a better option.
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- Anastasio, A. (2019). Can Dog’s Eat Pickles? Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/can-dogs-eat-pickles/
- O’Callaghan, A. (2017). Can Dogs Have Pickles? Retrieved from https://thehappypuppysite.com/can-dogs-have-pickles/
- Vicory-Rosenquest, T. Can My Dog Eat Pickles? Retrieved from https://www.rover.com/blog/can-my-dog-eat-pickles/