Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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Dogs Food General Food

Can Dogs Eat Pickles?

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Anna Olson
Jun 17 ·

Can dogs eat pickles? You may have wondered this at summer picnics, or when enjoying a deli sandwich with a pickle on the side. If you offered your dog a pickle, would they enjoy it? Or would it cause problems?

The answer to this question is yes, technically, but it’s not the best option. The pickle itself isn’t the issue. The high sodium content, and potentially toxic seasonings in the brine, are.

Let’s find out more about pickles and what makes them unsafe for your pup.

can dogs eat pickles

What Is A Pickle?

Pickling any vegetable involves soaking it in a brine made of vinegar, salt, sugar, and other seasonings. While different cultures pickle all kinds of different vegetables and fruits, cucumbers are the most popular and widely-found option. They make a popular side and topping for sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs.

Cucumber pickles come in a variety of popular flavors. Each will have different seasonings, herbs, and add-ons in the brine to give them a unique flavor. Make sure to check your pickles’ ingredients list thoroughly before offering them to your pup. We’ll go through some of the most popular cucumber pickle types to see which, if any, are safe for your dog in small amounts.

Bread & Butter

Bread and butter pickles have a unique, sweet flavor and are very popular. The higher sugar content in the brine is what gives a sweet flavor to these pickles. Unfortunately, the brine also has garlic and onions, both of which are toxic to dogs. Though there isn’t a lot of either ingredient in a bread and butter pickle, you’ll still want to avoid giving your dog these pickles. If your dog has eaten a large amount of either garlic or onion, contact your emergency vet right away.

Spicy

Like bread and butter pickles, spicy pickles often have both garlic and onion in the brine. Spicy pickles also feature chili peppers as part of their seasoning. Dogs aren’t used to eating spicy foods like humans are, and chili peppers can easily irritate a dog’s GI tract and their digestive systems. It’s best to avoid giving your dog spicy pickles as well.

Dill

If you really want to share a pickle with your dog, dill pickles are the best option. Most dill pickles are brined in a simple mixture of vinegar, salt, sugar, and the fresh herb dill. Dill is a great, healthy herb with antioxidants that is safe for dogs. You’ll still want to check whether the pickles were also brined with garlic and onion, since this is sometimes the case.

Even though dill has benefits for dogs, most experts recommend mixing the fresh herb with their food instead of offering your pup a dill pickle. This way, you don’t risk feeding your dog any trace amounts of toxic ingredients. Adding dill to your dog’s food also doesn’t add a high amount of sodium. A high sodium content is the main reason why you probably don’t want to give your dog any type of pickle.

can dogs eat pickles

Dogs and Sodium

Sodium is a necessary nutrient for both dogs and humans, and dogs do need a small amount to survive. However, too much sodium in the body can cause immediate health issues. Over time, high sodium levels can make existing health issues worse for your pooch.

If your dog ingests too much salt, they may develop a condition called hypernatremia. This means there is too much sodium in their blood. Symptoms include excessive water drinking, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of balance. If you see any or all of these symptoms, contact your vet right away.

The salt in pickle brine is the main reason why you should avoid giving your dog pickles to eat, no matter the flavor.

What About Fresh Cucumbers?

Without all the salt, sugar, and seasonings involved in brining, fresh cucumbers make a great, healthy snack for a dog. They’re high in water and low in calories, making them perfect for summer hydration. They also have these important nutrients:

  • Dietary Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

If you offer fresh cucumber to your dog, make sure they are cut into bite-size pieces. This will prevent the risk of choking or digestive blockage. As always, ask your vet before offering your dog something new to eat.

Pickles Usually Aren’t A Safe Snack

Now you know the answer to the question, can dogs eat pickles? The answer is they aren’t the safest snack. While the pickled cucumber itself isn’t the problem, there could be toxic seasonings like onion and garlic in the brine. The high sodium levels in pickle brine are also not great for a dog, and could cause health issues.

Cucumbers on their own are a safe snack for dogs, as long as you cut them into manageable pieces. So can dogs eat pickles? Best to avoid.

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WRITTEN BY
Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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