Can Dogs Have Pickles?

Julia Henriques
can dogs have pickles

Pickles are a favorite crunchy treat for many people, whether with sandwiches, or on their own as a tangy snack. 

Their sour and salty flavors may delight our taste buds … but what about our other buds: our canine companions? 

So, you may wonder, can dogs have pickles?

The answer is yes, but there are important things you need to know first … and even some risks to watch out for!

Can Dogs Have Pickles Safely? 

Again, the straightforward answer is yes, most dogs can safely eat pickles in moderation. However, there's more to consider. 

For example, while the main ingredient – the cucumber portion of a pickle – is undeniably safe for dogs, the brine, spices, and other ingredients used in pickling might not be … especially in larger amounts. 

So you need to understand the benefits and potential risks before sharing a slice with your furry friend.

Pickles Risks For Dogs 

As mentioned earlier, cucumbers are fine, but brine (or pickle juice) in large doses could be risky. That's is because, while vinegar is generally safe for dogs, the high salt content in the brine could be dangerous if your dog eats a lot of pickles or drinks the brine. 

Sodium Toxicity In Dogs
Too much salt can lead to a range of health issues for dogs, from increased thirst and urination to more serious conditions like sodium poisoning, also called salt toxicosis or hypernatremia.. 

Sodium toxicity can have very serious consequences, with symptoms that include …

If you suspect sodium toxicity in your dog, contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Your dog may need to be hospitalized for IV fluids and electrolytes.

Some pickle brines also contain sugar or artificial sweeteners to give them a sweet tang. Even natural sugars can contribute to obesity and dental problems in dogs.

Another big concern is that pickle brine might contain  the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs and can be fatal even in small amounts. So always check the ingredient list before sharing any food with your dog, including pickles.

RELATED: Find out where xylitol could be hiding … 

Pickles Benefits For Dogs 

With the risks out of the way, it’s not all bad news! Pickles actually pack plenty of benefits for pups, as long as they’re fed in moderation. 

The raw ingredient in pickles, cucumber, is full of vitamins and nutrients beneficial for dogs. They contain vitamins K and C, potassium, and are low in calories and fats. 

Plus, cucumbers are hydrating due to their high water content (although this effect may be canceled out if the salt content is too high). 

In short: when offered in moderation, the occasional pickle slice can offer benefits, assuming no the pickles you buy have no harmful additives.

RELATED: Can dogs eat cucumber?

What Types Of Pickles Are Best For Dogs?

Not all pickles are created equal. For example, dill pickles are typically safer than other varieties since they use dill for flavoring rather than other spices that dogs may not tolerate as well. 

So the answer to the question  “can dogs have dill pickles?” is yes! 

However, they can still be high in sodium, so it's essential to give them to your dog in moderation and watch out for any adverse reactions.

Here are some other types of pickles we often get asked about:

Can Dogs Have Sweet Pickles? 

Sweet pickles, bread and butter pickles, and other pickles contain added sugars, which, while not toxic, aren't healthy for dogs.

Sugar can lead to many health issues including yeast infections, diabetes, weight gain and dental issues … and it can promote bad gut bacteria that leads to leaky gut, which is at the root of many chronic health issues.. 

So avoiding sweet pickles is the safest choice. 

Can Dogs Have Pickle Juice? 

Pickle juice is a concentrated form of all the spices and salt used in the pickling process. It's best to avoid giving your dog pickle juice because of the high sodium content and potential for harmful ingredients.

Sodium toxicity is a significant risk, as you read earlier …  so if your dog has somehow managed to drink a large amount of pickle juice, it can be dangerous. Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline for help as your dog may need treatment including IV fluids. You can also make sure he drinks plenty of water to help flush the salt out of his system, and watch for the sodium poisoning symptoms we listed above.

Can Dogs Have Pickle Relish? 

Pickle relish, often used as a condiment, contains finely chopped pickles combined with other ingredients, which might include peppers, onions, and spices … and it can also have a lot of sugar.

Due to the mix of ingredients and added seasonings, avoid giving pickle relish to dogs.

Bottom Line | Can Dogs Have Pickles?

It's okay to occasionally share a pickle slice with your canine buddy, but be informed and cautious about the risks. Only feed pickles in moderation, and stick to ones with minimal ingredients, and no added sugars if possible. 

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