There you are preparing your sandwich, and just after placing your pickles on your toasted slice of bread, someone rings the bell. You leave your half-prepared sandwich on the counter to check who is at the door, but as soon as you return to the kitchen, it is gone. There is no one else in the house; only you and your pup, and from the way he is licking the floor, you can tell he is looking for any crumbs of evidence. As a dog parent, your first concern is the pup’s health, and you question yourself if there is any harm in your dog eating pickles. Here is the well-detailed answer to “can dogs eat pickles?”
Good News- Pickles Can be A Good Snack
The good thing about pickles is they are made from cucumbers, which have been proven perfectly safe for your dog to enjoy as a snack. Most people incorporate vegetable salads into their diets when they want to lose weight, and cucumber is almost always in the diet. The same method can work for your obese dog because cucumbers have low-calorie content, with a slice containing only eight calories, which pales in comparison to the 40 calories the bone biscuits have. Moreover, they have a high water content, which makes them a welcome treat after a long walk in the sun.
Even those cucumber pickled in vinegar alone can also be great for pups. A few tablespoons of vinegar added to your dog’s food or water will help balance the pH levels, which ensures that the urine pH, blood sugar levels, and immunity are kept in check. Vinegar is also an excellent detoxifier facilitating the cleaning of the internal organs, including the liver, kidney, and bladder. It is crucial to remember that most cucumbers are pickled in white distilled vinegar, which Wag Walking opines as not too effective. Instead, it recommends apple cider vinegar as a suitable alternative to help in better nutrient absorption. Caution is necessary because your dog could be allergic; thus, it may start to vomit, itch, and diarrhea in reaction.
Therefore, there is always a need for moderation. Although plain cucumbers are also praised for their low sodium and fat content, your pup only needs a bite of the healthy snack. Too much of it, and your dog will instead have to deal with gastrointestinal issues. Besides, if your furry friend barely chews his food, the risk of choking is high, so feeding him with slices of the vegetable is advised instead of throwing an entire cucumber at him. Additionally, as always, you must check with your veterinarian before introducing any food to your canine. Most vets will vouch for cucumbers, but only if you keep it to a maximum of 10% of the dog’s daily diet; therefore, the amount you feed a small-sized dog is much smaller than what you can give your larger sized canines.
Bad News- Pickles Can be Toxic for Dogs
Some people like to flavor their pickles with onion and garlic, which is toxic to pets. According to Pet Poison Helpline, garlic is five times more toxic than onions and leeks, although they belong to the same allium family. Although the sensitivity depends on the breed of your dog, the outcome is always the same. Garlic and onion toxicity results in anemia because they cause the red blood cells to rupture. Garlic poisoning symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea can take time to show; therefore, even if a little amount is said to be safe, you cannot be sure how sensitive your dog is until maybe after a few days.
The amount of salt used in the brine depends on one’s preference. While the recommended amount is 6 grams to a cup of water, some will use 7 grams per cup of water for stronger brine. Milder brine means you can comfortably drink it, but the stronger it gets, consuming the brine water may not be the right choice. Of course, since the cucumbers are soaked in the brine, even that small sliced pickle you give your dog to snack on still contains some salt. American Kennel Club informs us that too much saltwater in a dog can be fatal.
A single pickle contains 283mg, which is 20% higher than the recommended amount for a human and almost triple the amount recommended for dogs; dogs should consume 100mg per day. As the dog chews on the pickle, he draws out the saltwater, so if it was strong brine, the excess salt will draw water the pup’s blood causing dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea. The more you keep feeding the pickles to the dog, the lower the chances of him living his full life; salt toxicity reduces the mortality by 50%, regardless of the treatment. By then, you will have exposed your furry friend to brain cells loss, seizures, and damaged kidneys.
Other Pickle Ingredients to be Wary of
If you like your pickles spicy, then one ingredient you must add is the red pepper flakes. They are not toxic to dogs but can result in diarrhea and vomiting after upsetting the stomach. Additionally, the damage can worsen if it leads to the burning of the esophagus, intestines, and stomach lining, so if you have a counter surfer, restrict access to your pickles for the dog’s own good. It is also important to note that although not as hot as chili, black pepper can still cause an upset stomach in your dog. However, it is also not toxic.
If you are going for store-bought pickles and they have artificial color, you might want to reconsider and make your pickles at home. Artificial food colors have been linked with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in children. In dogs, 4-Legger says that we should avoid any artificial colors that go in or on our dogs because they are known to cause allergies and cancer.