Can Dogs Eat Pickles? Are They Healthy for Your Dog to Eat?

Yes, dogs can eat pickles if they only contain cucumber, vinegar, brine, and dill. A small piece of a pickle every now and then is OK for your dog and won’t harm him.

Since pickles are made from cucumbers, they contain a small amount of Vitamin A, iron, K, calcium, and magnesium.

A Golden Retriever with dog food bowl
A cute Goldie wonders if he can eat pickles

However, unlike cucumbers, pickles have been preserved in water with excessive sodium content and spices, making them an unhealthy snack for your dog.

Keep reading to learn more about why you shouldn’t feed your pet pickles.

Why are Pickles Bad for Dogs?

Homemade pickles in a jar
A jar of homemade pickles

A small bite of a pickle once in a while is unlikely to cause immediate, serious harm to your dog.

However, due to their high level of salt content, their nutritional value is far outweighed by their potential to cause health issues.

  • Sodium Poisoning: While cucumbers, vinegar, brine, and dill are not toxic to dogs, the excessive sodium content used to make the pickles could be problematic for your pet’s health. Eating too many salty foods, like pickles, could lead to sodium poisoning in dogs.
  • Gastrointestinal upset: Pickles are often made with chili pepper, spices, and a lot of salt, all of which are very harsh on your dog’s stomach. As your pet isn’t used to eating these spices, pickles can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains.

When are pickles more potentially harmful to your dog?

Pickles contain an excessive amount of sodium, which can pose health risks to your dog.

Pups with existing heart conditions or high blood pressure should not eat pickles at all. Regular intake of high amounts of sodium can lead to stroke or heart attack in dogs.

Dogs with kidney problems should also never be fed pickles, even on rare occasions, as the high salt content can further exacerbate their disease. 

How Many Pickles Can a Dog Have?

Pickle slices
A bowl of pickle slices

While there is no definitive answer, it’s generally safe to give your dog a single pickle once in a while provided that it doesn’t contain toxic ingredients and spices, such as onions, garlic, and chili peppers.

A whole pickle is definitely too much for dogs due to the high level of salt content.

What Types of Pickles are Dangerous For Dogs?

A dog looking at a jar of pickled cucumbers
An adorable doggo looking at a jar of pickled cucumbers – Image source

Most pickles in small amounts are not toxic to dogs. Giving your pet a pickle as a rare treat is okay and would not cause any harm.

However, if pickles are added with toxic ingredients and spiced with herbs, then this can be problematic for your dog’s health. Here are the types of pickles that are bad for dogs.

1. Pickled Beet

Various other dog-friendly vegetables such as beets, carrots, and cauliflower can be pickled.

While these types of vegetables would typically be great for pets if served fresh, pickling them adds salt, vinegar, and spices, negating the many health benefits they offer and making them potentially dangerous for your dog.

2. Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger, like what typically comes with your sushi, is safe for dogs to eat as it doesn’t normally contain any toxic ingredients. 

Ginger has a range of health benefits from being full of antioxidants, as well as a great source of vitamins B and C, potassium, and copper.

That said pickled ginger should only be given to your pet on rare occasions due to the high added salt and sugar content, making it an unhealthy snack for your dog

3. Pickled Okra

Okra is a green, pepper-shaped vegetable that is packed full of nutrients including protein, fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats.

While dogs can benefit from eating okra, pickling okra can be very dangerous for your canine as toxic ingredients like onion and garlic are typically included in this process.

4. Pickled Onion

You should never feed your dog onions of any kind, including pickled onions.

Onions cause something known as Heinz anemia by damaging the hemoglobin in your pet’s red blood cells. This is a condition that can be fatal.

Symptoms of onion toxicity include fainting, pale gums, weakness, and red-colored urine.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your vet immediately.

5. Pickled Jalapenos

Jalapenos are low in calories and packed full of nutrients like fiber, and Vitamins A, C, K, and B6.

While jalapenos aren’t toxic for dogs, their digestive systems aren’t used to spicy foods and so most dogs struggle to consume them.

Couple that with the high salt content of pickled jalapenos and it’s best to avoid giving your dog these as a treat.

6. Pickled Gherkins

When we refer to pickles, we typically refer to either pickled cucumber or pickled gherkins.

As mentioned, while dogs can eat pickles, the high salt content can make your dog sick.

If you do want to give your dog pickled gherkins, be sure they have been prepared using no onions, garlic, or extra sugar.

7. Pickled Eggs

Eggs are completely safe for canine consumption and are a great source of protein, fatty acids, and vitamins.

For this reason, eggs are also included in commercial dog food recipes.

That said, pickling eggs makes them less healthy for your best friend and so pickled eggs should only be fed to your dog very sparingly and only if they contain no toxic ingredients.

8. Pickled Radish

Radishes are a good source of protein, fiber, Vitamin C, and potassium. The crunchy texture of radish can also help with your dog’s dental health.

However, pickled radishes should be given to your dog with caution because they typically contain additives like garlic or onion, which pose toxicity to your furry friend, as well as unhealthy levels of salt and sugar.

9. Pickled Cucumber

As mentioned, pickled cucumbers are not toxic to dogs and are safe to feed to your pet every now and again.

You just need to watch out for any potentially harmful ingredients and be wary of the high salt content.

If you want your dog to get the many benefits offered by cucumbers, it may be better to serve him fresh cucumbers.

10. Pickle Juice

It is never safe to give your dog pickle juice.

The high sodium content found in pickle juice can lead to salt poisoning, leading to severe stomach cramps, and possibly even death.

If your dog consumes pickle juice be sure to take him to the vet immediately. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Pickles?

A Mini Goldendoodle looking at a pickled cucumber
Stella, a Mini Goldendoodle, wants some pickles – Image source

If your dog accidentally steals or eats a single pickle or two, don’t panic. Check what type of pickle your pet ate.

If the pickles don’t contain ingredients, such as onions, garlic, and other herbs toxic to dogs, it’s unlikely to do any harm as a one-off small treat.

However, if your pet knocks over a jar of pickles or drinks pickle juice and you know it contains toxic ingredients, it’s best to consult your vet or contact Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661, specifically if they show any signs of toxicity.

Do Pickles Have Health Benefits for Dogs?

Three jars of pickles
Jars of pickles

Pickles are low-calorie snacks made from cucumbers. They provide a small amount of Vitamin A, iron, K, calcium, and magnesium.

However, unlike cucumbers, pickles have been soaked in saltwater brine with vinegar and spices that have high salt content, making them an unhealthy snack for your dog.

The potential health benefits of cucumbers have far outweighed the risks.

Safe Alternatives to Pickles for Dogs

Pickles are not the best treat for your dog. There are other healthy options than pickles if you want to share a healthy, low-calorie snack with your dog.

One good example is cucumber because your dog can benefit from its nutrients and it doesn’t contain harmful ingredients.

Here are some healthy pickle alternatives for dogs.

A Corgi eating a strawberry
A cute Corgi enjoying some strawberries
  • Strawberries: Plain fresh or frozen strawberries are a delicious healthy snack for dogs.
  • Watermelon: Giving a few slices of seedless watermelon to your dog will keep him cool and stay hydrated during summer days.
  • Carrots: Rich in beta carotene, carrots promote good vision and eye health and a strong immune system in dogs. 
  • Celery, like cucumber, is high in water content, which makes it a great way to keep your dog hydrated on hot days. It’s low in fat and contains a good amount of fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system

Conclusion: So, Can My Dog Eat Pickles?

Yes, dogs can eat pickles as a rare treat in small amounts. A small piece of a pickle every now and again is fine for your dog and won’t harm him.

While pickles may have some health benefits because they are made from cucumbers, the risks outweigh the nutritional value.

You shouldn’t feed your dog pickles are they have been preserved in water with high levels of sodium content.

This will make it an unhealthy canine treat, particularly for dogs with heart conditions or high blood pressure and who suffer from kidney disease.

Most pickles also contain spices such as chili peppers which can cause gastrointestinal upset and ingredients like onions and garlic that are toxic to dogs.

Has your pet ever eaten pickles? Please share your experiences in the comments below so that we pet owners can learn from each other.

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