Dogs Can Eat Cucumbers, But Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Crunchy, sour, sweet, salty, spicy–pickles are everything a savory snack lover could ever want! Add them to a charcuterie board, enjoy them on a sandwich, or just eat straight out of the jar. Pickles are so popular there are entire festivals dedicated to them, and people from every part of the world enjoy pickles with their traditional dishes.
But, of course, as dog lovers, we’re wondering: can dogs eat pickles?
Are Pickles Safe for Dogs?
Pickles are typically made from cucumbers in vinegar and salt brine, often with other ingredients to add extra flavor. While none of these base ingredients are toxic to dogs, pickles aren’t a good treat to give your dog because of their high sodium content, and the potential stomach ache they could cause. With the addition of extra flavoring ingredients like mustard and garlic, pickles become even more potentially irritating to your dog’s stomach, and in general, should be avoided.
So, yes, pickles are safe for dogs in that they won’t cause toxicity or extreme illness (unless some extraordinary or extreme ingredient has been included) but no, pickles are not safe for dogs in that they can make them feel pretty sick.
If you’re still looking for a straightforward answer to “can dogs eat pickles?” the answer is: It’s better if they don’t, but one won’t hurt them!
Common Pickle Ingredients
When determining whether or not something is safe for your dog, it’s important to look beyond the visible ingredients to the hidden ingredients like spices and seasonings. Many spices are toxic to dogs and should be avoided to protect your pet from stomach upset or more serious health issues.
While there are a number of common ingredients in pickles that are considered toxic or harmful to dogs, none of them will cause serious issues if your dog ingests a small amount in the form of a slice of pickle, or even a whole pickle.
|Ingredient||Is it safe for dogs?||Quick Facts|
|Celery Seed||Yes!||Celery seed is sometimes recommended as a healthy source of antioxidants for dogs!|
|Cucumbers||Yes!||Cucumbers are a healthy, low-calorie, hydrating snack for dogs who like to crunch.|
|Dill||Yes!||Like celery seed, dill is a safe source of antioxidants for dogs in small quantities.|
|Garlic||NO!||Garlic, like all members of the allium genus, is toxic to dogs in moderate quantities, and gastrointestinally disruptive in small quantities.|
|Mustard Seed||NO!||Mustard seeds contain isothiocyanate, an irritant used by plants to repel pests. While it’s unlikely to cause toxicosis in small amounts, mustard can still upset your dog’s stomach.|
|Red Pepper Flakes||NO!||Red pepper flakes contain capsaicin, the compound responsible for the “burning” sensation you get after eating a hot pepper. Dogs have a very low tolerance to capsaicin, and spicy foods in any amount can cause gastrointestinal issues.|
|Salt||Sort of||Dogs need sodium for proper cellular function, but they only need a very small amount. Dogs get all of their salt needs from their regular diet, and added salt in human foods is way too much for the canine diet. |
In general, avoid giving your dog salty foods, since too much salt can make them sick, and cause long-term issues if it becomes habitual.
|Sugar||Sort of||The natural sugars found in fresh fruits won’t hurt your dog in moderation, but processed sugars (like granular sugar and brown sugar) aren’t good for them. |
While a small amount of processed sugar every now and then is okay for your pup, don’t allow it to become a habit, and avoid giving them extremely sugary foods like candy, cake, or cookies.
|White/Apple Cider Vinegar||Sort of||A very small amount of vinegar is totally safe for your dog, which is why it’s a common choice for natural household cleaners in homes with pets. However, if your dog eats or drinks a moderate to large amount of vinegar, they will likely experience vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, etc. |
Some dog owners add very small amounts of vinegar to their dog’s food as a health supplement, but this is something you should discuss with your vet first.
Spicy and hot pickles are by far the most important to avoid since they can have immediate effects on your dog’s comfort, and lingering effects during potty breaks, if you know what we mean.
What About Other Kinds of Pickles?
There are so many pickles out there from so many different cultures that it would be nearly impossible for us to include them all, so we’re listing the pickles you’ll commonly find on your grocery store shelves, or are popular enough to warrant a mention.
|Type of Pickle||Safe for Dogs?||Potentially Harmful Ingredients|
|Dill Pickles||No, but not toxic||Garlic, Mustard, Red Pepper Flake, Salt, Sugar, Vinegar|
|Bread & Butter Pickles||No, but not toxic||Onion, Salt, Sugar, Vinegar|
|Gherkins/Cornichons||No, but not toxic||Garlic, Mustard, Salt, Vinegar|
|Hot Pickles||No, but not toxic||Chili, Garlic, Mustard, Red Pepper Flake, Salt, Sugar, Vinegar|
|Kool-Aid Pickles||No, but not toxic||Garlic, Mustard, Kool-Aid, Red Pepper Flake, Salt, Sugar, Vinegar|
|Kosher Pickles||No, but not toxic||Garlic, Kosher Salt, Vinegar|
|Lime Pickles||NO!||Pickling lime/hydrated lime–a chemical used in place of vinegar. May be toxic and dangerous to dogs in moderate quantities.|
|Olives||No, but not toxic||Olive Pits, Salt, Vinegar|
|Pickled Beets||No, but not toxic||Clove, Mustard, Vinegar|
|Pickled Eggs||No, but not toxic||Garlic, Salt, Vinegar|
|Pickled Onion||NO!||Onion is part of the same genus as garlic and is toxic to dogs.|
|Sauerkraut||In moderation||Mustard, Salt|
|Sour Pickles||No, but not toxic||Garlic, Mustard, Pickling Salt, Red Pepper Flake, Sugar|
Most vinegar-based pickles aren’t going to send your dog to the vet, but they could send them to the bathroom a couple of times in a row. It’s also important to remember that while these ingredients aren’t toxic in small quantities, feeding your dog pickles regularly could impact their overall health, especially with the additional salt and sugar.
Nutritional Value of Pickles
The nutritional value humans get from eating pickled foods is mostly lost on dogs, and the potential issues with the majority of the seasoning ingredients would negate those benefits, anyway. If you’re looking for a reason to feed your dog pickles, you won’t find it in their nutritional needs.
If you want to feed your dog a crunchy vegetable treat every once in a while, a plain cucumber piece is a great (and totally healthy) substitute for the salty, vinegary pickle.
Can Dogs Eat Pickles? The FAQ
If all that information is making you feel like you’re pickled, here are some fast facts about dogs and pickles.
Can Dogs Eat Dill Pickles?
Dogs should not eat dill pickles but if they eat one or two on accident, they will be fine. Look out for possible diarrhea or vomiting.
Can Dogs Eat Bread & Butter Pickles?
It’s better to avoid letting dogs eat bread and butter pickles but one or two will not cause serious problems.
Can Dogs Eat Spicy Pickles?
No! Spicy foods of any kind should always be kept away from dogs since they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, serious gastrointestinal distress, and general discomfort.
What Should I Do If My Dog Eats a Pickle?
If your dog eats a regular salty, vinegar brine pickle, they will be totally fine. At worst, they might experience some gastrointestinal issues, but as long as this doesn’t become a habit your dog will be completely fine.