Can Dogs Eat Pickles? The (Good and Bad Way) Benefits


There are plenty of human foods and treats you can throw in your dog’s direction. You may not necessarily want to get it used to human foods, but dogs tend to beg. You open packaging, you go to the kitchen, you sit down at the table or you start eating on the sofa – chances are your dog will be there staring into your eyes. Is it something your furry friend can eat? Can your pooch have a bite or perhaps finish your meal? You can tell so by looking at its face.

Now, some foods are alright for dogs. Some others should be given as treats. Then, you also have a bunch of tasty foods that should never be fed to dogs. At this point, you might ask yourself – can dogs eat pickles? Are there any restrictions associated with them? At a first glance, pickles seem quite healthy – just a bunch of veggies usually. However, they come with all kinds of condiments and spices that may alter their effects. While healthy in a raw state, they could become quite harmful when pickled.

So, can dogs have pickles? As a treat, a pickle will not kill your dog. It should not become part of your pet’s diet though. Plus, there are potential side effects that may affect your furry friend. Obviously, such effects depend on the breed, as well as the pickles you give your dog. Here is everything you need to know before making a final decision.

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Pickles and their effects on dogs

Pickles are quite diversified. Pretty much any food can be pickled, but most people seem to prefer certain vegetables, such as cucumbers. The thing with dogs and pickles is hard to describe because there are more types of pickles out there. There is no such thing as a general rule of thumb, so you need to do a bit of research.

For instance, there are a few different ways to pickle a cucumber. Some of these pickles are fermented. They have a taste that some dogs will find intriguing at first – they find it difficult to decide whether they like them or not. On the other hand, some pickles are quite sweet. Others are mixed altogether, so you can find cucumbers and onions in the same jar. If there is one thing they all have in common, that is the high amount of salt.

These things require a bit of care and attention before you feed your dog pickles. Generally speaking, plain pickles would not be harmful. The actual pickling would be alright, but the taste is not the best. Therefore, most manufacturers (or those who make pickles at home) will add a series of additives. To help you get an idea, most dogs dislike the strong aroma of vinegar. They usually hate brine too. Therefore, these dogs will turn around and walk away even if you throw pickles at them.

There are a few things to keep in mind and just like with most other foods you share with your dog, pickles can be given with moderation in mind. Always try out a small amount – a few slices or perhaps a tiny piece. Make sure you observe the reactions over the next 12 hours. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs or digestive systems, not to mention allergies.


How dogs can benefit from pickles

So, can dogs eat pickles? They can, but to a certain point. For example, most pickles are based on cucumbers. There are a few concerns regarding the cucumbers, as well as the spices used in the process. However, there are a few good news as well.

A dog will generally benefit from small amounts of cucumbers. For instance, cucumbers are rich in vitamins and nutrients. When it comes to vitamins, your dog will benefit from vitamins A, C and K. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants out there and will boost the immune system and fight disease.

Other than that, cucumbers are also rich in magnesium and phosphorous.

While there are plenty of vitamins and minerals dogs require, the ones in cucumbers are never to be overlooked. Magnesium, for instance, will prevent various weaknesses in your furry friend’s heart, but it will also help against further risks of getting a heart attack.

Some of the spices used in production can also be healthy. For example, dogs will love clove, cinnamon and dill pickles. Not only are they yummy, but they are also healthy. Dill pickles are one of the most important ones because it can prevent digestive discomfort and gases.

Nutmeg is also used to make pickles, but it is not as popular as other spices. If you see nutmeg on the label, try to avoid it. It is rich in myristicin, simply put, to ensure a healthy treat every now and then, double-check the ingredients on the label. Other problematic ingredients include onion powder and onion.

Other than that, tiny amounts of garlic will not cause too much hassle, but normally, you should avoid it. Double check with your vet though.


How pickles can harm dogs

Some ingredients in pickles are healthy, but there are also some dangerous products you need to avoid. For example, some homemade recipes come with various issues. Bread and butter pickles are often made with onions, which are contraindicated. It makes no difference if you have yellow or white onions – they can both cause anemia.

Onions stimulate the formation of Heinz bodies. They have nothing to do with the ketchup though. Instead, these bodies are some small clumps of hemoglobin. Unlike regular hemoglobin, these cells do not carry oxygen. Instead, they die pretty fast too, so in the long run, they are likely to cause hemolytic anemia. The good news about it is that while it may kill a dog, such situations are extremely rare. They only occur if you give your dog onions on a regular basis.

But then, anemia is not to be played with either. It will lower your dog’s appetite, cause fatigue and tiredness and increase the exercise intolerance. You can prevent it without too many issues though – simply keep your pooch on a healthy diet.

It is important to know that onions are not the only veggies that can cause anemia. The list is more diversified. In fact, foods in the allium family have similar effects because they are rich in oxidizing organosulfur elements. Some of the foods to avoid include garlic, chives, shallots or leeks, among others.

If pickles have garlic, do not feed them to your dog. It is not as dangerous as onion, but it is still unsafe for your dog. Tiny amounts will not harm it though – therefore, everything is about moderation.

As for pickle juice, there is no clinical evidence to support its negative effects. Some vets claim it is alright, but others contraindicate it. To be on the safe side, simply avoid it. Can dogs eat pickles that have been sweetened? After all, they come with lots of sugar, as the cucumber itself is not that tasty. Sugar is difficult to process by a dog’s digestive system, so try to stick to the product with the lowest sugar content. Sugar free stuff is not recommended either, as xylitol is toxic to dogs.

Frequently asked questions

So, can dogs eat pickles? There will obviously be a few questions here and there if you are not sure about it.


Can pickles kill dogs?

Indirectly, they can. For example, feeding your dog pickles with onions on a regular basis for a few years could lead to heart related problems. A few pickles for dogs every now and then as a treat will not harm it. Just make sure there are no onions or garlic in their composition. Nutmeg is contraindicated too.


Why don’t dogs eat pickles?

Some dogs love pickles, but others will walk away. It is a matter of personal preferences. Plus, many dogs will be put off by the vinegar.


Can dogs eat cucumbers?

Cucumbers have a bunch of vitamins and nutrients that your pooch will benefit from. In other words, they are actually recommended, but with moderation.


What condiments are bad for dogs?

Some spices and condiments are safe for dogs. Some others can be quite dangerous, so avoid feeding them to your furry friend. Some of the most harmful condiments for dogs include onion, garlic, salt, cocoa powder and nutmeg. On another hand, basil, cinnamon, ginger, parsley and turmeric are safe for your furry friend.


Bottom line, can dogs eat pickles? It depends. Yes and no. Some pickles are safe for dogs. Some others can be harmful. Even if they are safe for your dog, pickles must be given in moderation – mostly as an occasional treat every now and then. They should not become part of your dog’s diet.

Unless you make the pickles yourself, you will have to go through the list of ingredients to determine whether or not your pooch can have pickles.​