Crunchy and delicious pickles make a great low-calorie snack and add extra flavor to sandwiches and hamburgers. If your pooch is begging for a bit or leftovers whenever you eat hamburgers, you’re probably curious to learn whether pickles are good or bad for dogs to eat.
So, can dogs eat pickles? Pickles aren’t toxic to dogs, but dogs should eat them. While pickles can offer some health benefits to dogs, they can also make your pooch sick. Pickles are high in sodium, which can cause many health problems. A small piece won’t harm your dog, but you shouldn’t feed them pickles regularly.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about dogs and pickles. Keep on reading to find out what you should do if your dog eats a pickle!
Are Pickles Good for Dogs?
Before we go any further, know that pickles aren’t toxic to dogs. So if your pooch manages to steal and gobble a whole pickle, there’s generally no need for panic.
Technically speaking dogs can eat small amounts of pickles once in a while, or a bite here and there without experiencing any side effects.
However, pickles are extremely high in sodium and might contain other ingredients that can be harmful to your dog’s health and well-being. That’s why most veterinarians don’t recommend feeding pickles to dogs.
Benefits of Pickles for Dogs
Although you shouldn’t feed your dog pickles regularly, eating a pickle once in a while won’t put your dog’s health at risk.
In fact, pickles contain several vitamins and minerals that can offer health benefits to dogs. The main issue is that the risks of eating pickles are far greater than the potential benefits.
Potential benefits of pickles for dogs are:
1. Pickles Are Low in Calories
With around 11 calories per 100 g, pickles make a great low-calorie snack. So, even if your pup manages to steal and eat a whole pickle at least there is comfort in knowing that they didn’t ingest a gazillion calories.
2. Pickles Are Full of Fiber
Pickles are a good source of fiber which is necessary for proper digestion and regular bowel movement (source).
Eating a pickle once in a while might help if your dog suffers from diarrhea or constipation. However, many fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can resolve your dog’s stomach problems without exposing them to any of the risks pickles bring.
3. Pickles Are Low in Fat
Basically fat-free, pickles can be an extremely healthy snack for people who want to lose weight but need something extra to keep them full between meals. And while the same can be true for dogs, the high sodium count makes pickles an unsuitable snack for obese pups.
Risks of Pickles for Dogs
As mentioned earlier, the risks of feeding pickles to dogs are far greater than any potential benefits. Don’t forget that pickles come in a variety of flavors, and certain types of pickles may contain ingredients that are toxic or poisonous to dogs.
Therefore, you must know what type of pickle you are eating, before you decide to share a bite with your dog.
Here are the biggest downsides of feeding pickles to your dog:
1. Pickles Are High in Sodium
As mentioned earlier, pickles contain huge amounts of sodium that can be problematic for dogs for several reasons.
Consuming high amounts of sodium in a short time can lead to excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of balance, and seizures (source). On the other hand, consuming large amounts of sodium over time can cause high blood pressure which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Dogs with high blood pressure and heart problems shouldn’t eat pickles at all! If your pooch has an underlying health condition don’t let them eat pickles no matter how much they beg.
2. Many Pickle Recipes Contain Onion and Garlic
There are many different types of pickles, some such bread and butter pickles are sweeter and made with cucumbers, brine, garlic, onions, pepper, sugar, and spices.
As a dog owner, you probably already know that onions and garlic are toxic to dogs and cause damage to their red blood cells which leads to anemia. It’s possible that these types of pickles won’t have enough onions or garlic to cause serious problems, but do you want to take that risk?
3. Upset Stomach
The hot-and-spicy pickles that are usually made with cucumbers, brine, chili pepper, and other spices can be extremely hard on your pup’s stomach. Dog’s aren’t used to eating spicy and hot food so eating this type of pickle will cause digestive upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How Many Pickles Can a Dog Eat?
There is no need to feed your dog pickles if they are already eating a complete and balanced diet.
Generally speaking, your pooch will be fine if he eats a few small pieces of pickles here and there. Just make sure that the pickles your pup is ingesting contain only cucumber, brine, vinegar, and dill.
If by any chance your dog manages to ingest bread and butter pickles, or kosher dill pickles call your vet for advice or take your pup to the emergency clinic, just in case.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Pickles?
There’s no need to panic if your dog ate only a pickle or two. However, you should check what type of pickle your pup ingested and call your vet for advice.
Depending on how many pickles your dog ate, your vet might want to examine them, to be on the safe side.
On the other hand, if your dog ate a large amount of pickles, especially those that contain onions and garlic, contact your vet or take your pup to the emergency clinic right away.
While pickles aren’t toxic to dogs, you should err on the side of caution and don’t feed them to your pup. Besides being high in sodium which can lead to various health problems, some types of pickles also contain onions and garlic which are toxic to dogs.
While most dogs can eat a few pieces of pickle and be fine, there are no reasons why you would want to feed pickles to your dog regularly.