If you own a dog, you’ve probably been in this scenario before. You are sitting at the table, having your lunch, enjoying your food, only to have two little eyes stare at you like the saddest thing you’ve ever seen.
Your dog gazes at you like you haven’t fed him for years. And he just only had his meal.
Yes, it happens to all of us. And most of us are not strong enough to resist the urge. We share food with our pets.
The question is, how safe is the food we give. Can dogs eat pickles, for example? Well, let’s discuss what is safe for your dog, and what is not.
Are pickles really that bad?
Pickles by themselves are not necessarily the best thing for a dog to eat. Your dog might eat a pickle while you were not looking, and now you start panicking.
You are in desperation, you are ready to call your vet and see if your dog shows any signs of being ill.
And in the meantime, you need information. Can dogs have pickles, you are wondering over and over again.
As a vegetable, pickles are not the healthiest food for dogs. They are vegetables soaked in a saline solution consisting of vinegar, salt, and assorted spices.
While they are not good for your dog, they are not harmful, unless, consumed in large amounts.
However, at the same time, we have to mention that certain pickles are unsuitable for our canine friends. Some dogs should not be given pickles at all due to their specific health issues.
Cooking is the key
The big question about pickles is how they were cooked. Some of them might actually be harmful. As a general rule of thumb, you need to avoid pickles that are heavily spiced, as they contain seasonings that can be toxic to your dog.
You might also risk an upset stomach.
Pickles cooked with onions or pickled onions can be even toxic because they contain an ingredient that can cause Heinz body anemia. The ingredient is called thiosulphate, and the condition affects the red blood cells.
In severe cases, dogs with this condition require a blood transfusion, and the anemia can even be fatal. Symptoms of the Heinz body anemia include the passing of dark-colored urine, vomiting, breathing problems, and diarrhea.
If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Another concern in terms of cooking and ingredients in the pickles is sodium. We know extra sodium can make people obese, but in dogs, it can be fatal. Take a look at any dog’s commercial food, and you will see it has nearly 100% of the daily sodium requirements.
Now, some extra sodium every now and then will not harm your dog. But too much salt in your dog’s system can lead to hypernatremia, a condition that manifests as increased thirst, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, and eventually seizures.
Same as with humans, high levels of salt can cause high blood pressure and trigger a heart attack.
What about sweet pickles?
If you absolutely want to try and give your dog some pickles as a treat, go for sweet pickles. They are a much better choice than heavily spiced pickles.
Sweet pickles still contain some sodium, so be careful, do not give them in large amounts to your dog.
From a nutritious point of view, vegetables can be good for your dog. But stick to vegetables that do not contain sodium, and are much safer for your dog.
For example, cucumbers and carrots.
With that in mind, feeding you’re a couple of pickle slices cut into small pieces once per week is fine. But do not feed them more than that. Never give your dog a whole pickle to eat.
It is too big for them to handle at once. There is also a risk that they will choke as they are trying to eat it.
What about pickle juice?
While occasional pickle slice is not harmful, pickle juice should never be given to dogs. Do not feed your dogs with pickle juice, no matter how many recommendations you read.
Some people would tell you that pickle juice is great for dehydrated dogs. Yes, the juice is full of electrolytes, but it also contains sodium, spices, and vinegar.
All of those are potentially dangerous for your dog. Even when diluted with water, pickle juice should never be an option for your dog.