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Can dogs eat pickles? Healthy or Danger?

Can dogs eat pickles? Healthy or Danger?

We know them: the small, spicy pickles in a jar - perfect for a snack or a barbecue party. We know that dogs can eat raw cucumbers, but have you ever wondered: Can dogs eat pickles?

The short answer is: Yes, if a cucumber falls off your plate while grilling and your dog eats it, the cucumber will not have a catastrophic effect on your dog. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the pros and cons of pickles for dogs and whether they can even be a safe and healthy addition to their diet.

Difference between fresh and pickled cucumbers

The main difference between fresh cucumbers and pickled cucumbers (e.g. pickles) is their sodium content and the manufacturing process. Fresh cucumbers have a lower sodium content than pickled cucumbers because the latter are brined to preserve them. Pickled cucumbers are also often pickled with vinegar and spices to improve flavor and shelf life.

It's important to note that pickles can often also contain sugar and other preservatives that can be unhealthy for dogs. For this reason, dogs should not eat pickles on a regular basis. If you want to give your dog a cucumber, it is best to give him a fresh cucumber without any preservatives or spices. However, pickles also have many health benefits, which we will discuss below.

What is pickling?

Pickling is the process of fermenting or preserving a food using either salt or vinegar. The salty or acidic liquid prevents food from spoiling by killing bacteria, which is why pickling and curing is a centuries-old process. Meat, beets, carrots, cucumbers and peppers are also cured for human food.

Apple cider vinegar, commonly used to ferment pickles, is raw, unpasteurized vinegar that still contains the "mother culture," a probiotic or good bacteria. These healthy bacteria break down sugar and produce a sour taste. This vinegar is more useful than the distilled white vinegar used for most supermarket pickles.

Note that distilled white vinegar has no nutritional value for your dog. It can even put strain on your dog's kidneys and cause stomach upset and diarrhea. But if your dog accidentally devours a dropped cucumber, the chances of something bad happening are very low.

Salt is also used to pickle cucumbers. Large amounts of sodium are not suitable for dogs. And while the cucumber itself—pure, fermented, or brined—provides some nutrients for your dog, certain ingredients used in pickling can pose a problem. Here's why:

Ingredients used in pickling.

Dill is often found in pickle jars, it is very useful for your dog. Fresh dill is better, as pickling can destroy its nutritional value. Dill is an all-rounder, it can naturally freshen your dog's bad breath and contains powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation and reduce the cognitive effects of aging. It can also prevent some types of cancer and help with bloating and digestive problems.

Vinegar is not suitable for dogs with kidney disease, so pickles are an absolute no-no for these dogs.

Many pickle recipes contain salt; one teaspoon contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium. A medium-sized pickle can contain up to 700-1,500 milligrams of sodium.

The recommended daily sodium intake for dogs is 100 milligrams per day. Dogs with heart or kidney disease are therefore not allowed to eat pickles. Salt poisoning is a serious condition that can occur when dogs eat too many pickles preserved with salt. Salt can also lead to high blood pressure and therefore heart attacks.

Onions and garlic are also common ingredients in pickles. They belong to the Allium family and include leeks, shallots and chives. These vegetables contain n-propyl disulfide, an organic compound that damages your dog's red blood cells and can cause hemolytic anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells in dogs.

The organosulfur compound found in allium plants attaches to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the blood, to form Heinz bodies. These damaged red blood cells (Heinz cells) die faster than your dog's body can replace them, putting your dog at risk of anemia.

Symptoms of anemia include extreme fatigue, loss of appetite and kidney damage. It is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.

What about pickles?

Pickles and bread and butter pickles contain a lot of sugar, one pickle can contain 7-30 grams! That depends on the brand. So pay attention to the label if your dog is overweight or has diabetes.

Excessive consumption of sugar can also harm your dog's teeth. Large amounts of sugar cause tooth decay, which leads to periodontal disease and poses health problems for dogs.

Cloves and other common spices in pickles are OK for your dog if the pickle is an occasional treat or if he eats a piece of it. Some recipes include cinnamon and nutmeg, which contain myristicin. Myristicin is toxic when consumed in large quantities. The small amount found in spices is often not toxic, but it can cause stomach upset or worse if your dog is allergic to the substance.

Dogs with diabetes, kidney disease, or weight problems should not eat sweet pickles because of the high sugar content. Alternatively, you can purchase sugar-free pickles, but make sure they do not contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs.

Different types of spices for pickles

Dill pickles

The dill-containing pickle is one of the most popular pickles that is soaked in brine and dill is added. Although dill is an herb and contains antioxidants, you should not feed your dog too many dill pickles.

Dill is safe for your dog's health, but other preservatives like brine and vinegar make dill pickles toxic to your dog. If you want your dog to eat dill with its many beneficial properties, you should try feeding him fresh dill.

Bread and butter pickles

These pickles are generally sweeter. They are made from cucumbers, brine, peppers, sugar, onions, garlic and spices. The ingredients in these pickles are toxic to your dog. Garlic and onions, for example, damage your dog's red blood cells and can lead to anemia.

Even though these ingredients aren't present in excessive amounts, it's best to avoid them for the sake of your dog's health.

Hot and spicy pickles

As the name suggests, this pickle is particularly spicy and contains cucumbers, brine, chili peppers and other hot spices. All of these ingredients can upset your dog's stomach and lead to gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, etc.

It's best to avoid them for your dog, especially dogs with sensitive stomachs.

Do pickles have any health benefits?

The nutritional value of pickles can vary greatly, as it depends heavily on the pickle, when it is pickled, how it is pickled, and the ingredients used. The “average” cucumber only contains 4 calories, making it a great low-calorie snack. It contains a small amount of sugar and carbohydrates, some fiber and some protein. It also has a high content of vitamins A and K. However, cucumber is mainly made up of water.

The salt content is very high at 283 mg per cucumber. That's about 20% of the recommended daily dose for a person! This is also a high amount for dogs, most veterinarians recommend that your dog should not consume more than 100 mg of sodium per day, and a single cucumber is three times that amount.

Some people believe that fermented pickles (and keep in mind that not all pickles are fermented) have some health benefits. This is because the bacteria that cause fermentation are known as human probiotics. However, there is no evidence that this fact is also beneficial for dogs, and it is likely that it is not the case in dogs because their digestion works differently.

Some people also claim that the vinegar used on the pickles is healthy. This is probably due to the supposed benefits of apple cider vinegar. However, vinegar made from pickles is white vinegar and has no known health benefits.

Many cucumbers are pickled in dill. Dill is said to be high in vitamins C and B6 and is a good source of calcium. However, feeding pickles is not a good way to provide your dog with these vitamins and minerals. It is better to use fresh cabbage, which has better nutritional value.

Will pickles make my dog ​​sick?

Of course, any food can make your dog sick if he's not used to it, pickles are no exception. If your dog has never eaten pickles before, he may not be able to tolerate them. The smell of vinegar is already quite strong to a dog's sensitive nose; some eat the cucumber first and vomit it as soon as the smell reaches the bridge of the nose. Assuming your dog feels sick immediately after eating a pickle, continue to monitor him and stop feeding him immediately.

It's also important to know that not all pickled vegetables are safe. Pickled cucumbers are safe, but garlic, onions and chili peppers are not. Your dog can become very sick if he eats these types of products. Onions contain a toxin that destroys the dog's red blood cells and causes hemolytic anemia. This anemia is slow and insidious, meaning it is sometimes difficult to detect.

Eating too many pickles can also make dogs sick. Excess salt is usually excreted in the urine, but very high amounts of salt can cause problems including fatal salt poisoning. You should contact your veterinarian if your dog becomes ill after eating pickles.

Can my dog ​​be allergic to pickles?

Any dog ​​can be allergic or intolerant to anything. Still, it is rare for a dog to exhibit an intolerance to pickles. However, older dogs or dogs with heart disease should avoid cucumbers due to the sodium content. Dogs with kidney failure should also not consume pickles, as these dogs are more likely to suffer salt poisoning if they eat too many pickles.

What Types of Pickles Are Good for Dogs?

It's safest if your dog eats regular pickle, dill pickle, or kosher dill pickle. Pickled onions, garlic, pickled peppers, or some spices should not be fed, so it is safest to avoid flavors and spices. Most people recommend sweet pickles because they have a lower salt content and are therefore likely to be less risky.

Cucumbers have the same health benefits but are much less risky - making cucumbers a better snack for your dog. Diced sweet potatoes or diced peppers are also suitable as a reward for training.

Which pickle seasonings are bad?

Many spices used to flavor pickles are safe, but some are not. Remember that onions, garlic, and hot peppers are all ingredients that can make your dog sick. Garlic salt is also often used for seasoning, which contains large amounts of garlic and should also be avoided.

Other spices like cloves and cinnamon can cause problems in dogs if given in large amounts - although the small amounts in pickles should be fine. Nutmeg is sometimes used to flavor pickles, but since nutmeg can be toxic to dogs, you should not feed it to your dog.

Can my dog ​​drink pickle juice?

The question “Can dogs eat pickles?” we answered with a yes. But what about the juice of a pickle? Can dogs drink pickle juice? No! Pickle juice only contains salt, sugar and vinegar, but no nutrients. That much salt is not good for your dog and it makes him sick. Keep the jar of pickles out of your dog's reach. Some people recommend pickle juice to treat dehydration - the salt content can make a dehydrated dog sick very quickly and even dilute. This is absolutely not a suitable drink for your dog

What is the best way to test?

If you still want to feed your dog a cucumber every now and then, a small piece every now and then certainly won't hurt. We recommend giving no more than one or two pieces every few days. However, don't give your dog pickles if he tends to devour his food, as he can choke on them - for most dogs, a real pickle is too much anyway! However, it's better to feed your little dog pieces of cucumber, because it's much healthier!

What happens if my dog ​​eats a pickle?

If your dog steals a pickle, it's unlikely to cause one-time damage. Of course, this assumes that the cucumber does not contain any dangerous ingredients. Keep an eye on your dog for 24 to 48 hours to make sure he doesn't show any ill effects. To prevent this from happening regularly and your dog from consuming too much salt, keep the pickle jar out of reach and watch your sandwiches and snacks.

Conclusion

Can dogs eat pickles? In summary, dogs can basically eat pickles, but they should only be fed in moderation and only as an occasional snack. It's important to make sure that the pickles don't contain too much salt or spices and that your dog doesn't have an allergic reaction to the ingredients. It is also advisable to make pickles yourself to ensure that they do not contain any harmful additives. If you are not sure whether your dog can tolerate pickles, you should consult a veterinarian first.