Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Can I Feed My Dog Pickles?
Recently at Rangersdog, we’ve been researching healthy and fresh options for dog treats; but a common question asked is ‘can dogs eat pickles’?
We thought we had better take a look ourselves, and also ask – are pickles safe for dogs to eat? Do pickles make a healthy dog treat?
What are Pickles?
When I think of a pickle, I think of pickled onions, eggs or gherkins. What pickles do you think of?
Firstly, I think it depends on where you live!
If like me, you are resident in the UK, you might think of ‘pickle’ as a type of chutney that you spread into a sandwich, which is a spreadable mix of pickled vegetables.
If you live in the US, ‘pickle’ refers to a pickled cucumber – which in the UK is called a gherkin.
So, let’s focus on the pickled cucumber, and find out whether these can be eaten by dogs.
How are Pickles Made?
Pickles are preserves, which means that their normal shelf life is extended through a means of submerging them in brine (salt water). Usually, a mixture of spices are also added.
This is the traditional pickling process, though sometimes vinegar is also used.
The fermentation process occurs due to natural bacteria on the outside of the cucumber. If this is not present, other bacteria cultures can be added.
It is the brine which gives the pickles their sour flavour, and how concentrated the brine is will affect the level of sourness.
Some pickles may be pickled differently, for example in a solution of vinegar and sugar (‘bread and butter pickles’).
Gherkins are specifically made using baby cucumbers.
What do Pickles Contain?
- Salt – The salt content of pickles will vary depending on the concentration of the brine used for pickling.
However, generally speaking, pickles are HIGH in sodium and therefore not good for those who suffer problems with high blood pressure, for example.
- Probiotics – Pickles which have undergone the natural fermentation process, contain probiotics – ‘good bacteria’ that are well known to aid with a healthy digestive system.
- Pickles are low in calories and fat free. Pickles preserved with sugar however, will contain higher calories.
- Pickles contain a source of vitamins A and K.
- Pickles are also a source of antioxidants, which have numerous benefits upon the body including boosting the immune system
The nutritional content of pickles therefore will vary depending upon what type of pickling process it undergoes, so check the labels too.
Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
The short answer is that yes, dogs can eat pickles.
However, we wouldn’t recommend that pickles make a healthy treat, due to the high amount of salt that pickles contain, compared to the relatively low amount of other beneficial nutrients.
The other thing to note which is very important, is that it DEPENDS upon the type of pickle you buy.
As aforementioned, there are different spices that are often added to a pickle to affect their flavour. Some added ingredients may include onions and garlic. These are toxic to dogs, so do check the product label before giving your dog a pickle treat.
In summary, although pickles are generally safe for a dog to try, it wouldn’t make a healthy, regular dog treat and some pickles containing garlic or onions could even be harmful to your dog.