Our pets are like family to us, so we want them to have the best of the best. Dogs, especially, want to be where we are and do the things we do, and sometimes that means they want to share our snacks. That just might include pickles on the side of your sandwich. Before you give this savory snack to your pup, though, you need to check to see if your dog can have pickles.
There are many human foods out there, and keeping track of which ones are safe and which ones are not so safe for our pups requires a good memory.
Here at Spot Pet Insurance, our goal is to help you make sure your furry friend stays healthy and happy. We know how hard it is to resist those begging eyes, but once you know what your pup can eat and what your pup shouldn’t eat, you will be prepared to treat your dog to some delicious snacks.
Pickles can be a pretty healthy snack for us humans, but do they have the same benefits for dogs?
Are pickles safe for my dog to eat?
Pickles are a common food, since many people like them on their burgers or with their sandwiches. Not every house will have them, but many people will. It’s unlikely that your pup will be able to get ahold of a pickle, but it is possible for them to steal a burger with a pickle on it.
If your pup does manage to eat a pickle accidentally, your first concern should be whether pickles are toxic. Can they hurt your dog, and how many pickles will it take?
Pickles aren’t toxic for dogs, but some of the ingredients can be harmful, like salt. On the positive side, pickles might have some benefits for dogs, but that doesn’t mean that you should actively feed your dog pickles.
Your dog’s reaction may also depend on the type of pickle you give to your dog. Some pickles are made with ingredients that are toxic for dogs, so you need to check the ingredients for toxic ones, like onions or garlic.
In general, pickles are a risk that you and your pup probably shouldn’t take.
How are pickles made?
Pickles can be dangerous because of the ingredients used to make them.
The most common pickled food is cucumber. In order to give the cucumbers their distinctive taste, they are soaked in brine, a solution usually made with a mix of ingredients, depending on what kind of flavor you want.
A major ingredient of brine is salt, which can be harmful to dogs in large quantities. The other two necessary ingredients are water and vinegar.
The process of making pickle brine is fairly simple. In order for the brine to do its work, pickles have to be tightly sealed into a can or a jar, which takes quite a bit of skill.
Over a period of time, the cucumbers are turned into pickles, getting their distinctive flavor. The most popular type of pickle is made with dill, an ingredient that can be good for dogs.
What are the dangers of giving my dog pickles?
Some of the ingredients in pickles can have amazing benefits, like cucumbers or dill, but other ingredients can be harmful or even toxic.
For example, some pickles include ingredients like garlic or onions, both of which have toxic elements that can cause your dog’s red blood cells to attack themselves (hemolytic anemia). Depending on the type of onion or garlic used (powdered onion or garlic is more concentrated), it can be less or more harmful.
Another potentially harmful ingredient is nutmeg. It is also toxic to dogs, so if there is any nutmeg in your pickles, you should keep them out of your dog’s reach.
Salt is another potential issue. Too much salt can lead to sodium poisoning for pups. If your dog has certain health issues, a lot of salt can worsen their issues. This doesn’t mean your dog can’t have salt, but kibble usually contains all the salt your pup needs.
Eating too much salt, especially quickly, can cause symptoms like losing balance, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and drinking excessively. Some of these can be signs of hemolytic anemia, so if you notice these symptoms, it’s a good idea to take your pup to the vet.
Spot Pet Insurance also has a 24/7 telehealth service for members powered by VetAccessTM. If you’re unsure about a symptom or if your dog ate a pickle with a potentially harmful ingredient, you access advice in a potential emergency.
Do pickles have any health benefits for dogs?
Since pickles are made with cucumbers and dill, there are plenty of potential health benefits. For example, dill contains a lot of antioxidants, which can help fight off free radicals. Free radicals destroy cells in the body, causing some kinds of cancer.
Cucumbers are low in calories, and they contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your pup.
However, the best way to give your dog access to these benefits is to feed them either cucumbers or dill without the pickling process added. Bite-size cucumbers can make great treats for dogs, and small amounts of dill can work as a garnish on one of your pup’s meals.
How many kinds of pickles are there?
Since a wide range of ingredients can be used to make pickles, there are also many types of pickles. Each kind can have different effects on your dog.
The most common type of pickle is the dill pickle, usually made with only brine and dill. This type of pickle has the least amount of risks for your dog if consumed. However, it is still important to keep an eye on your dog to ensure they don’t have any negative reactions.
Some pickles are sweeter than the dill pickle, like baby gherkins. These pickles usually have sugar or artificial sweeteners, as well as garlic or onions. Small amounts of sugar are ok, but too much sugar can cause problems. Artificial sweeteners can be toxic, as are garlic and onions.
A third type of pickle is hot and spicy. Since they are made with chili pepper and similar spices, they can cause an upset stomach in your pup. Dogs aren’t really used to eating spicy foods, and their stomachs aren’t meant to handle them.
If we were to use a ranking system, sweet pickles are generally the most dangerous since they are more likely to contain poisonous ingredients. However, you should always check the ingredient list for any kind of pickle.
Should I feed my dog pickles?
We know now that, technically speaking, dogs can eat pickles, but just because we can give our dogs something doesn’t mean we should.
Pickles are made in so many different ways, but the one constant is the brine, which is made with salt, water, and vinegar. Although none of these ingredients are very harmful in small amounts, too much salt can cause health problems for your pup.
Some pickles have ingredients like garlic, onion, nutmeg, or other toxic ingredients, so if your dog eats a pickle with any of these ingredients, it’s best to phone a vet and look for potential symptoms.
Other pickles are too spicy for our dogs. Even though some ingredients can have health benefits for dogs, like cucumbers or dill, it’s best to feed your dog those plain ingredients rather than pickles in their entirety.
Essentially, pickles are probably not a human food that your dog should eat. It’s always a good idea to consult a vet before making any changes to your pup’s diet, but make it a plan to avoid feeding your pup pickles.
Your dog may not even like pickles because of the taste, but now you know what the risks are if your dog manages to get their paws on a pickle.
What Other Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?
Though our canine companions cannot enjoy every food we can, there are several veggies that are safe for both dogs and humans. We have compiled a list of all vegetables can dogs eat for you! All vegetables offer different nutritional values and benefits, so it’s always a good idea to introduce your dog to different vegetable types.
Antioxidants: In Depth | NCCIH
Can Dogs Eat Pickles? | AKC
Can Dogs Eat Pickles? The (Good and Bad Way) Benefits | m-dog.org
How Are Pickles Made? | Wonderopolis