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Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Dogs are very curious in nature. They’d always want to snuff out or taste anything around them, food is inclusive.
Therefore it’s not surprising that they are always wagging their tail around you whenever you’re eating. Or giving you doughy eyes so you can bless them with good for their cuteness.
However, as a dog parent, you shouldn’t always fall for that trick. You should have restrictions as to whether to feed your dog or not.
Dogs don’t have the same gastrointestinal tract as us humans, they can’t eat everything we can. Some are even poisonous.
Today, you see pickles everywhere. Both in fast foods and homemade meals. It has become a staple food. So it is no wonder if one asks whether dogs can eat pickles.
Before we delve into that, let’s talk a bit about pickle and how it is made.
What Are Pickles?
When you ask what pickle is, most people will refer to pickled cucumber. It has become so normal that we eat it on sandwiches, burgers, or homemade meals. It indeed is deliciously sweet, sour, and juicy.
Although, pickles are much more than cucumber. Pickling is just a method of preservation, therefore other vegetables can also be pickled. There are pickled carrots, fruits, etc.
So how are pickles made?
Today, many people don’t even know the process as you can easily walk into a store and buy a jar of pickles. However, some others like preparing pickles themselves.
To give a summary of the process, pickles are made by soaking vegetables such as cucumber in a brine solution. This brine solution usually consists of vinegar, salt, and spices. Vinegar is responsible for the sour taste in pickles.
To get a sweet-sour taste, sugars or other sweeteners can be added to the brine. For those who want their pickle with a unique flavor, ingredients such as dill weed or cinnamon can be added.
Pickles are one of that food you either love or hate, no in-betweens. Therefore if you love them, should you feed them to your dog?
Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
The answer to this isn’t straightforward. It depends on the type of pickle, in this case, pickled cucumber, we’re talking about.
Many pickles are spiced with ingredients and herbs to give them a unique flavor. And as you already know, many of these spices or herbs can be very toxic to your pup.
If you’re talking about plain pickles, then yeah, your pooch can have that. It is relatively safer than others since it doesn’t contain those extra spices or herbs.
So in essence, pickles are safe for your dog to consume, however, there are special considerations. Your dog shouldn’t have too many pickles or eat flavored ones.
Pickles are safe for your dog to consume in moderation once they’re plain and your dog is healthy. Besides satisfying the ever-curious appetite of your pup, do pickles benefit your dog in any way?
Let’s find out!
Do Pickles Have Health Benefits?
With the wide array of techniques and variety of cucumbers to use, pickles can differ significantly in their nutritional value. This is to say that the health value of pickles will depend on the type of cucumber used, when it was pickled, how it was pickled, and what it was pickled with.
A lot of variables come into play. However, the average pickle is known to be low-calorie since it contains only about 4 calories. The amount of sugar, fiber, and carbohydrate found in pickles is pretty low too.
On the other hand, pickles are filled with water, vitamins, and micronutrients. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, and calcium.
Cucumbers are not a danger to dogs, since they’re hydrating and low-calorie. However, pickles aren’t just plain cucumbers anymore. At the very least, pickled cucumbers have been soaked in vinegar.
Nevertheless, many people claim that the vinegar used for pickling cucumber is safe. Apple cider vinegar is used in pickling and is claimed to keep your dog’s gastrointestinal tract healthy. It is healthier than white vinegar used in most store-bought pickles.
Dill is added as an extra ingredient when pickling cucumbers. It is said to contain several vitamins. However, this is not an efficient way of giving your pup these vitamins. Additionally, dill makes your dog’s breath fresh and contains antioxidants that can inhibit the actions of superoxides.
Some pickles undergo a fermentation process and are believed to have health benefits. This is probably because of the bacteria used in the process. These are good bacteria (probiotics).
A plain pickle can be a good snack for your pup since it’s low-calorie and contains lots of water and micronutrients. Although remember, moderation is the key.
Are Some Pickles Bad For Dogs?
As I’ve said earlier, most people just buy their pickles from the store. And store-bought pickles are known to contain all sorts of spices and herbs.
To get a unique flavor and taste, some pickles contain hot pepper. Giving this type of pickle to your pup isn’t advised. It can lead to stomach upset and you wouldn’t want that.
Onion and garlic are other popular ingredients added to pickles to generate a unique flavor. These spices are known to be toxic to dogs as they can cause a dangerous form of anemia. This can be very dangerous if not treated early enough.
Several other spices and herbs can be added to pickles that do not agree with dogs. They can cause stomach upset, worsen an already existing health problem or even create a new one.
When buying pickles from the store that you would likely share with your pup, spend time reading the label. This is to make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredient that can harm your pooch.
Alternatively, you can make your own pickles by yourself if you want to give them you your pup. This way you’re sure of the content of the pickle.
Due to the preservation process, pickles contain a high amount of salt. An average pickle contains about 280mg of sodium. That’s almost 3 times the daily requirements for a dog (100mg per day). That’s a very high amount and can cause several health conditions in the long run.
Can Pickles Make My Dog Sick?
Well, of course.
Almost every food can make a dog sick, depending on whether they’re used to it or not. Therefore if you’re introducing pickles to your dog for the first time, there’s a possibility that it might make him sick.
The stench of vinegar is very strong in pickles. Therefore some dogs can vomit after gobbling up pickles. This is because when swallowing the strong smell of vinegar reached the back of their nose. In this case, just stop feeding pickles to your pup.
And also remember that most store-bought pickles do not only contain cucumber and vinegar. Chilli pepper, onion, and garlic can be added. These herbs contain organic compounds that break down the red blood cells in dogs.
Many times this process can be slow and is usually late by the time you notice. And you bet, your dog will become very ill after eating a pickle containing these herbs. So you should be wary of the pickles you feed your dog.
Salt toxicity is real and pickles contain a lot of salt. Even though salt is lost through urine, feeding excess to your dog can lead to salt poisoning and that can be fatal.
Too much of everything is bad. Therefore if you feed your dog too much pickle he is bound to get sick. This is probably due to stomach upset and overstretched tummy.
Can My Dog Be Allergic?
Well, dogs can be allergic to anything from corn to wheat, etc, therefore pickles are no different. However, it is very rare for a dog to react to pickles.
Can Every Dog Eat Pickles?
That’s a no.
Pickles can be well tolerated by healthy dogs when fed in moderation. However, pickle is not to be given to dogs with health conditions.
For instance, dogs with kidney disease should not be given pickles. This is because the vinegar used in pickling can further worsen the kidney status. And they can even be predisposed to salt poisoning.
Older dogs and those with heart conditions should also not be fed pickles. The high sodium content can be devastating to such dogs.
What Type Of Pickles Should I Feed My Dog?
At this point, you’ve probably gotten the gist of it. Your pup should only be fed regular plain pickles or dill pickles since they don’t contain any toxic ingredients.
On the other hand, you should never feed your dog pickles that contain onions, garlic, or chili. Therefore it is best to thoroughly read the label of store-bought pickles or better still make yours at home.
Some people recommend sweet pickles since they have less salt content. However, they also pose a bit of a problem since they contain an increased level of sugars and sweeteners. These are not in the best interest of your pooch.
Ultimately, cucumber contains all the health benefits of pickles but without the risk. Therefore giving your pup plain cucumber is a better and safer snack.
Can My Dog Have Pickle Juice?
This is a hard NO!
Pickle juice isn’t something you want to feed your dog. It contains all the salt, spices, and vinegar without any actual nutritional value. Its salt content is just too high for a dog to consume.
The salt content can make a dog very ill. Therefore you should always keep pickle jars in places your dog cannot reach. Just for safety.
What To Do If My Dog Eats Pickle
Well, if your dog steals one or two slices of pickle, it doesn’t really cause any harm. Of course, this is assuming it doesn’t contain any of the toxic ingredients or spices we’ve talked about.
The best course of action is to carefully watch your dog for a day or two, to make sure he doesn’t develop any symptoms. If he does, then it’s best to contact your vet for advice.
To prevent accidental consumption of pickles, make sure you keep the pickle jar out of reach of your pup. This will reduce the occurrence of accidents happen.
So in essence, a few slices of pickle won’t do your dog any harm. However, observe them for a while.
How To Feed Pickles To Your Dog
Okay, so you’ve made up your find to give your pup pickles. How do you go about it?
First off, you should never feed pickles to your dog whole. Especially when your dog is large and eager to gobble up their food. This can easily cause choking and lead to health deterioration.
You should always slice up the pickles into tiny pieces before feeding them to your pooch. This is better for digestion and prevents choking.
Pickles can be given with meals as supplements or as treats. However, it’s best to only give your pup one or two slices every few days.
While pickles can serve as a good snack, plain cucumber can still be a better alternative. It offers your dog all the nutritional value without the risk associated with the pickling process.
Nevertheless, if you want to feed your pup pickles, make sure to do it right. Cut it into bite-sized pieces and only feed it to them every few days. While plain pickles might not seem harmful to a healthy dog, excessive consumption isn’t advised.
Final Thoughts – Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
As I said, that depends.
Dogs can safely eat plain or dill pickles without any problems. However, pickles with herbs and spices such as onions are harmful to dogs. They can cause life-threatening problems.
Pickles are quite nutritious and are low-calorie in nature. They contain lots of water and vitamins. However, that is not the most efficient way to give your dog these nutrients. There are better and healthier alternatives.
If your dog licks up pickles that fell off your plate, you shouldn’t worry. It likely won’t cause harm. However, if you want to feed pickles to your pup, be careful of the ones with toxic ingredients.
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