Are pickles bad for dogs? Can dogs eat pickles? These are questions you may not expect to come up, but things might change the next time your dog eyes you while you’re eating a juicy burger. While your dog may be begging for a bit of that burger, you may wonder if pickles are safe for dogs.
A pickle is basically just a brined cucumber, but it’s important to remember there are many things that can be pickled or considered a pickle. You can consider peppers, carrots, and many other vegetables, fruits, or meats as pickled.
However, to make things simpler, this article will only talk about the pickled cucumber or what is considered a traditional pickle. So, can you feed your dog pickles? What we actually need to consider is how pickles are made.
Pickles and Dogs
The most important thing to remember is there are several many ways you can pickle a vegetable. Some pickles are sweet while others are fermented, and others can be combined with onion or other vegetables. The main thing to remember is that there is a high amount of salt in some pickles.
Sodium is one of the factors you really should pay attention to before you give your dog a pickle (1). As far as the pickling, if you don’t count the additives, will not harm your dog. However, a lot of dogs won’t particularly like the smell or taste of brine or vinegar. Many dogs won’t be interested in eating the pickle even when it’s offered to them.
Typically, many foods humans eat are fine to share with your dog, but they should only be given in moderation. However, it can be beneficial to just test your dog with new food to ensure that it won’t cause an allergic reaction or hurt their stomach.
So, When is a Pickle Bad for a Dog?
When you think about specific pickle recipes, particularly the bread and butter pickle ones, you will notice that they use a lot of onions. Yellow and white onion are both known to cause an issue with anemia in dogs (2). They are also harmful by contributing to the formation of Heinz bodies, which are clumps of red blood cells that can’t carry oxygen and die faster than usual causing hemolytic anemia.
After intense study, hemolytic anemia is very rarely fatal, but it can be if a dog has been feed onions regularly over many years. But, the anemia can cause intolerance to exercise, fatigue, and poor appetite. All of this can easily be prevented with a healthy appetite that avoids garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, and scallions.
Are Pickles Actually Good For a Dog?
The cucumbers that pickles are made of can be another issue as well as some spices used in the pickling. There is some positive news though since cucumbers can provide many health benefits as well as vitamins like phosphorous, Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamin K, magnesium, and Vitamin A.
Dogs do need a variety of nutrients and vitamins, and the magnesium in cucumber is helpful to a dog. Studies have shown that a magnesium deficiency can cause your dog’s heart to become weak and contribute to the risk of heart attacks.
The spices used to make pickles can also offer some health benefits like clove, dill, and cinnamon, however not all pickling spices do. Dill assists in digestive discomfort and reducing gas while nutmeg is a toxic spice that can cause myristicin.
When deciding to give you dog pickles, it’s very important to look at all the ingredients and make sure that nutmeg, onions, and onion powder are not on the list. A little bit of garlic is fine, but you should avoid pickles with a lot of garlic unless your vet tells you otherwise.
Can your Dog Eat a Sweet Pickle?
While cucumbers are a healthy food featuring low calories, they could be considered a good low-fat treat for a dog. since cucumbers are made mostly of water, they are pretty tasteless, so it’s common to add other ingredients like sugar to create a sweet pickle.
Sugar is not a good choice for a dog since it can cause cavities, diabetes, and weight gain. Sugar-free pickles are also not a good choice for dogs since they contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener toxic to a dog.
Can You Feed Your Dog a Dill Pickle?
So, if your dog can’t eat a sweet pickle, can he eat savory and tart dill pickles? Sugar is not something you need to concern yourself with when eating a savory and tart dill pickle. A long as you find a non-garlic option, then you will have a tasty and safe treat for your dog.
Just make sure that you look out for the salt that is in the pickles. Just one regular-sized dill pick may contain 700 to 1,500 mg of sodium. For comparison, one teaspoon full of salt contains 2,300 mg of salt, and only one teaspoon of salt is suggested as the upper limit of a human’s daily sodium consumption.
While you may notice that there is salt in your pet’s commercial dog food, which is added for a taste like human food, dogs are really not supposed to be given that much salt. A dog needs to eat a lot less salt than a human, so if you look at a dog’s daily requirement of sodium, you will see that they should only have 100 mg is suggested. That means that just one dill pickle slice can be more than what the daily sodium requirement is for your dog.
You always find a low sodium dill pickle for your dog that will taste just as good. Still, be careful, because even a low sodium dill pickle can contain more than 100 mg of sodium per spear.
Can pickles kill dogs?
It depends. The cucumber that the pickle is made out of will not harm your dog and is actually quite healthy. It’s the other ingredients that are used to make a pickle that can cause issues for your dog.
So, when you are thinking of feeding your dog a pickle, look at the ingredients to determine if it is a safe type of pickle to feed him. There are a few ingredients that you really want to avoid. Basically, any sweet pickle is going to contain either sugar or a sugar substitute, both of which can be harmful to your dog. Sugar can cause all sorts of long-term issues while the sugar substitute can be toxic if given to your dog.
Tart pickles are safe for a dog to ingest, as long as it doesn’t contain a high amount of salt. Sodium is the other ingredient that you want to avoid large quantities of when feeding your dog. However, an occasional pickle spear that is low in sodium should be fine.
Can a single grape kill a dog?
While a grape may be pretty small, this tiny fruit is pretty toxic to a dog that eating just one or two can put your dog in some danger. It’s hard to tell how many grapes can hurt your dog since no one really understands what makes a grape so deadly to a dog. Plus, the risk your dog faces really depends on the size of your dog, his age, his health, and how many grapes he has eaten.
However, a single grape won’t be as harmful to a larger dog as it is to a tiny dog like a Chihuahua. Just make sure your dog isn’t snacking a lot of grapes or raisins. If you find that he has, contact your vet to discuss the best way to deal with the situation.
Will pickle juice hurt my dog?
While apple cider vinegar may be healthy for a dog, there is no evidence that vinegar itself is. So, it is unclear if vinegar can hurt your dog or not.
We do know that vinegar has been used in the past as a flea repellent, and it has been reported to disrupt the pH balance of a dog’s skin as well as make a dog’s coat look dull. It is not known to be a great choice as a topical agent for your dog, and it has also been known to cause diarrhea and stomach upset in some dogs.
Older dogs may also notice that the acid from the vinegar can put stress on a dog’s kidneys, and it can also cause the kidneys to not process or handle as much acid as they once did. This can cause anyone to question whether they should be feeding their dog pickles knowing the vinegar content in them. If you are thinking of feeding your dog pickles, make sure you speak with your vet first.
Can dogs eat vinegar?
Absolutely! Dogs can safely eat vinegar. Plus, the healthiest vinegar option for a dog is unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Supporting a dog’s digestion, apple cider vinegar also contains iron, magnesium, and potassium.