Can dogs eat pickles? If your pup just gobbled a kosher pickle up off the floor, you might be wondering if they’ll get sick. Don’t panic just yet.
Many pickles contain ingredients that are very harmful to dogs. On the other hand, some types of pickles you can buy at the store are going to be fine for your dog, as long as they don’t eat too much of it.
In fact, pickles contain tons of good vitamins, minerals, and healthy fiber. However, they’re also often full of sodium.
So, can dogs eat pickles? Yes, but with a few important restrictions. Read this article very carefully before feeding your dog pickles!
Sometimes they’re fermented with other foods like onions and garlic. These aren’t great ingredients for our canine companions.
In this article, we will cover all the different types of pickles, as well as which ingredients to watch out for.
Please note: This article is intended for informational purposes, but it is not a replacement for veterinary advice. Please always consult with your vet before feeding your dog something new.
Are Pickles Good for Dogs?
If your dog is one of those pups who actually enjoys pickles, then it’s fine for them to have small amounts once in a while.
A single small pickle or a few pieces of a bigger one is a good serving size to stick to. That said, there are a few health benefits your dog can get from pickles.
Pickles are a calorie low, fiber dense option full of vitamins and minerals.
So, while the salt content might not make this an everyday snack, if your dog likes pickles, there’s no reason they can’t have a little every now and again.
All fruits and vegetables contain some level of antioxidants. Pickles are no exception.
This tangy treat has tons of nutrients that do all kinds of good things for your dog’s body. Pickles are a good source of vitamins C and A.
Chances are you’re familiar with the benefits of vitamin C, but vitamin A works wonders too. This powerful antioxidant helps with everything from good eyesight to healthy lungs.
Certain research suggests it can even help prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
In essence, pickles can help boost your dog’s immune system and keep them wagging for years.
Pickles help your dog with digestion in a few ways. The first is that they’re a low calorie source of fiber.
We tend to think of our dogs as carnivores, but even wolves will snack on berries and grass out in the wild. Domestication has made dogs more omnivorous than ever.
Therefore, they can actually put plant fiber to use. Pickles are also often made with dill and dill can help ease upset stomachs.
Fermented pickles or pickles brined in raw vinegar—like apple cider vinegar with the mother—can add a ton of beneficial bacteria to your dog’s gut.
Vitamins and Minerals
Beyond the more obvious antioxidants, pickles have a ton of vitamins and minerals. They’re often brined with other vegetables and spices, and that means they have lots of nutrients.
Your typical pickle is high in Vitamin K and potassium. They’re also a decent source of calcium and vitamin E.
That means they can help your dog maintain healthy bones. Vitamin K also plays a special role in your dog’s ability to clot their blood.
In essence, all the vitamins and minerals in pickles are great resources for your pup.
Can Pickles Be Bad For Dogs?
When we look at whether or not dogs can eat pickles, there are a few factors we have to take into account.
Yes, all those spices can add a ton of vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet, but some of them are actually harmful.
Dogs metabolize their food in a different way than us humans. That means what’s fine for us can sometimes be terrible for them.
A perfect example of this is the onions and garlic pickles are often brined with. For us, they’re fine, healthy even, but for dogs they can cause anemia over time.
The most dangerous part of pickles for your pooch, however, is salt. Dogs don’t do well with too much sodium and even sweet pickles are full of it.
Too Many Spices
You might be asking how a food could have too many spices. More spices means more vitamins and minerals, but some of the spices in pickles can actually be toxic to your pup.
Too much nutmeg can cause stumbling, salivation, and seizures. The amount in a single pickle isn’t enough to poison your dog, but they shouldn’t have one every day.
Clove is another spice present in some sweet pickles that may pose a risk to your dog’s health.
Too much of it can damage their livers and lead to death. It’s the same story for cinnamon.
In essence, your dog probably shouldn’t have too many pickles or share a pumpkin spice latte with you.
Cooked in Onions
Some pickles contain onions and garlic, which is tasty for us, but terrible for dogs. This one can be a little confusing. Some people say garlic is fine.
There are even garlic tabs made to help dogs combat fleas. The reality is that a dog’s body doesn’t handle onions or garlic well.
Dogs fed too much onion or garlic can develop a dangerous form of anemia called hemolytic anemia.
Basically, if your dog eats too much onion their red blood cells literally explode. This condition is expensive to treat and can be fatal.
You might be able to get around this by making your own pickles without onions or garlic.
(Just as an aside, if you do cook with a lot of onion or garlic, it may be a good idea to invest in a trash can that dogs can’t easily get into.)
Too Much Salt
If you pick up a jar of pickles and read the label, you’ll find your average dill pickle contains around 0.7g of sodium each.
Humans should eat no more than 2g of salt a day/ Dogs should have far less.
In fact, a lethal dose of salt for a dog is 2g per pound. If you have a smaller dog, even a few pickles can be too many.
Bigger dogs might be able to enjoy more, but keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme thirst.
These can be signs your dog is suffering from salt poisoning.
(If this happens, don’t just try and treat it yourself. While diarrhea can be treated in dogs using Metamucil, you should absolutely consult your vet first)
Can Dogs Eat Sweet Pickles?
Can dogs eat sweet pickles? Yes, but they’re not the healthiest option for the pup in your life.
Sweet pickles might have some of the same vitamins and minerals as a sour pickle. They even still contain fiber, but they also have a lot of sugar.
A single ounce of your average sweet pickles has as much as 10g of glucose.
That’s like pouring 2 teaspoons of pure sugar onto a pickle and handing it to your pup!
A box of cookies is bad enough for us, but sugar is worse for our furry companions. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from obesity, and diabetes.
Dogs with too much sugar in their diet show reduced muscle mass, lack of energy, and weight gain.
Sweet pickles are also often made with spices that dogs have trouble with. These include nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.
The amounts you’ll find in a single pickle won’t do too much damage unless it’s a big pickle and your dog is tiny.
However, eating many pickles each day can have a cumulative effect.
Dogs who eat too much of these spices can experience vomiting, diarrhea, and neurological symptoms.
If your dog manages to steal one pickle out of the jar, it’s not a big worry, but sweet pickles aren’t good as a regular snack.
Can Dogs Eat Sour Pickles?
Can dogs eat sour pickles? Yes, but a little goes a long way.
If your dog enjoys sour pickles whether they’re fermented or simply brined, this a treat you should offer in moderation.
Sour pickles are full of healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fermented or unpasteurized pickles can add good bacteria to your dog’s diet.
They also contain a hefty helping of salt. A single medium sized pickle contains over 700mg of sodium on average. That’s way too much for a healthy dog treat.
Dogs who ingest too much sodium may experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive thirst.
A small pickle or a few pieces of a bigger one is usually fine for your pup, but try not to overdo it.
Another factor to consider before giving your pooch dill pickles is onions. Onions can be deadly to dogs over time.
Onions and garlic contain a chemical known as N-propyl disulfide. This tricks your dog’s body into thinking their own red bloods cells are the enemy.
A little onion isn’t going to do much, but too much runs the risk of your dog becoming anemic.
Can Dogs Have Pickle Juice?
If your dog enjoys pickles, getting a bit of the juice on the pickle isn’t a big deal. That said, unless you buy fermented pickles, your pup won’t get the same benefits from the juice alone.
Sweet pickles are are made with body damaging sugar and and dill pickles are often brined in far too much salt.
Even homemade sweet pickles can contain up to a cup of sugar and all that sweetness is in the juice.
If your dog finds sweet pickle juice tasty, it’s still not the best idea to just pour some in a bowl. Dogs have tinier bodies and, therefore, a lot more trouble processing as much sugar as we humans do.
With over so many dogs in the US counting as overweight, it’s probably best to leave the sweet juice out of your pup’s diet.
Sour pickle juice from fermented pickles can offer some benefits to your dog. That said, the risks often outweigh the benefits.
Sour pickles have so much salt a single large pickle can soak up over 1800mg of sodium just from the juice.
The simple fact is, pickle juice has too much salt in it to be healthy for your dog. You also run the risk of adding unnecessary onion and garlic to your pup’s diet.
A little every so often isn’t going to do much, but it’s best not to make a habit of it.
Are Pickles Actually Healthy for Dogs?
So we’ve answered the question “can dogs eat pickles”, but what are the specific health benefits?
Pickles can be healthy for dogs in small quantities. Sodium aside, pickles can help your dog maintain healthy digestion.
They also might block bad breath, and are usually low in calories and fat. If your dog loves pickles and you want to give them a little bit every once and a while for a snack, go for it.
That said, if you do choose to give pickles as a treat, aim for some form of sour pickle. Sweet pickles contain far too much sugar to count as healthy.
Fiber is great at helping our bodies digest effectively and dogs are no different. Pickles are a decent source of fiber and this helps your dog improve their digestion.
Additionally, sour pickles often contain dill and this herb is great for upset tummies. Another way sour pickles could help your dog’s belly is the vinegar they’re made with.
If the vinegar is raw or you buy fermented pickles, your dog already has a leg up. Or a pickle up.
Even a couple pieces of fermented pickle can add good bacteria that helps your dog break down their food.
Pickles made with dill can help your dog combat bad breath. In fact, chewing dill seeds or drinking dill tea is good for us humans to sweeten our breath and aid in digestion.
This trick can work for your dog too. Of course, eating a pickle isn’t a recommended part of your pup’s dental routine.
In fact, it can actually cause a dangerous sodium build up. Treats designed specifically for tooth and gum health are a much better option for daily use with the occasional pickle in between.
Low in Fat and Calories
With estimates putting more than half of American dogs as obese, finding low calorie treats for your pooch to indulge in can be a challenge.
That’s where pickles come in. If your dog is obese and they like pickles, great! Sour pickles are low in calories, carbs, and fat.
Additionally, the bacteria in fermented pickles can can actually help speed their metabolism.
All of this comes together to make sour pickles a healthy snack option your pup can enjoy every now and again. Steer clear of sweet pickles as the sugar negates many of the other health benefits.
How To Safely Feed Your Dog Pickles
You’ve decided that pickles are the perfect snack for your dog. Now what?
Chances are your pouch scooped their first pickle off the floor and decided they loved it.
If you want to add pickles as one of the snack options for your canine companion, you might be wondering what the best way to offer pickles is.
While some would argue there’s no wrong way to eat a pickle, there are a couple guidelines for feeding dogs pickles. Keep the following in mind and you’ll keep your pup safe and healthy.
Depending on the size of your dog and the size of the pickle you want to feed, you may need to cut it into smaller pieces.
Dogs are notorious for wolfing down their favorite snacks without bothering to chew. If that snack happens to be a whole pickle your dog might be in trouble.
Cutting the pickles into small pieces helps prevent choking and gives you an opportunity for a quick training session. That gives you a little bit of time to bond with your pup.
Don’t Overdo It
A cocktail pickle or two for a large dog is probably fine, but the same isn’t true if you’re feeding a Chihuahua.
Pickles are rich in vitamins and minerals, but they also contain a lot of salt and spices your dog can’t process. Sweet pickles are also full of sugar that can negatively impact your dog’s health when given in large quantities.
In essence, it’s best not to overdo it. Often part of a regular pickle chopped into bite sized chunks will do fine. Your dog still gets their snack and you still get a few moments of appreciation while they crunch away.
Can your dog eat pickles? Yes, but will your dog eat pickles and are pickles worth the risk? Most dogs won’t touch pickles, but there are a few other snacks you can try.
The following list has foods with all the health benefits of pickles, but not the risks. Keep in mind that no one snack fits all and some dogs aren’t going to like certain things.
Keep trying new healthy treats with your pup to figure out what they like.
Blueberries aren’t called a superfood for nothing. These sweet little treats have been making dogs happy the world over since the first dog was born.
They’re packed with fiber and are one of the most antioxidant rich fruits in the world. Much like pickles, these berries boast a laundry list of healthy vitamins and minerals.
These include vitamins K, E, and C, copper, and manganese. To top things off, blueberries low in calories and can even slow the growth of cancerous tissue. Most dogs will take blueberries without a second thought.
In fact, blueberries make up as much as ⅔ of the diet of wild wolves in certain areas.
If your dog likes sweet pickles, then a nice sour green apple is a wonderful replacement for that crunch.
A lot of dogs will happily accept apple slices. Apples are high in fiber and offer your dog natural sugars to give them a little boost of energy.
They also have more magnesium than your typical pickle, but be careful not to overdo this snack.
Apples aren’t made with table sugar the same way sweet pickles are, but some dogs might experience tummy troubles if they eat too much.
If this happens to your pooch try a smaller snack next time or go for something different.
There’s little wonder why so many people crack open an egg or two for breakfast. Eggs contain tons of energy rich protein.
When we humans eat protein it keeps us full until it’s time for our next meal.
That’s no different for your dog. A lot of dogs do well on a high protein diet with plenty of healthy fats.
It just so happens that eggs are also full of healthy unsaturated fat. They’re high in vitamin B2, B12, and B5 as well as vitamin E, vitamin A, iron, and phosphorus.
All these amazing nutrients combine to speed your dog’s metabolism and help boost their immune system.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein for your pup. It’s also rich in other nutrients like potassium and vitamins B6 and B12.
These are great for your dog’s bone and brain health. More than that, yogurt has tons of probiotics.
Probiotics are good bacteria that help your dog digest their food. Adding in this natural probiotic is an easy way to make sure your dog is using every bit of nutrients they can.
However, some dogs have sensitivities to milk products and it’s best to start slow.
Pumpkin is a stupendous source of fiber and antioxidants for your pooch.
There are so many ways to feed it from frozen to chunks. You can try adding a bit of pumpkin puree to you dog’s meal or mashing it up with chicken and rice.
Whatever way you serve it, this gourd has plenty of health benefits for your dog. A hefty helping of fiber aids in slowing down digestion.
Adding pumpkin puree to your dog’s food could help ease some of the discomfort that comes with food sensitivities. Pumpkin also happens to be a nutrient dense, calorie low food.
Therefore, it’s a great treat for dogs who might be carrying around a few extra pounds.
Cottage cheese can make an excellent snack for your pooch. Dogs go crazy for it and it has that salty, tangy flavor your dog might be craving from pickles.
Some brands even contain dill. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein. It also contains calcium, selenium, and vitamin B.
Introduce this treat in small doses at first. Of course, if your pup has trouble digesting milk products, you may want to try something else from this list.
Like many other fruits, watermelon can be a great snack for our furry little friends!
Just keep in mind that not all parts of the watermelon are safe for dogs to eat. In general, the pink flesh of the fruit is okay (as long as it is completely seedless. However, avoid feeding your dog watermelon rind.