We love our canine buddies and want to share everything with them, so naturally when it comes to our food and they give us their adorable puppy-dog eyes, we tend to relent and give a bite to those greedy little beggars.
However, not all food is safe, or healthy for dogs to eat, like pickles! Pickles are popular for a variety of reasons. First, they are a great way to add flavor to a meal. Whether you’re eating a sandwich or a piece of pizza, pickles can add a nice zesty kick. In addition, pickles are very versatile. They can be used as a side dish, added to salads, or even eaten by themselves.
While pickles are a relatively healthy food for humans, they are not the best things to feed your dog. In this blog post, we’ll look at why we should avoid feeding dogs commercially available pickles.
How Are Pickles Made?
Pickles are most commonly cucumbers but can be made with other types of vegetable. These cucumbers are cut and preserved in a pickling solution of your making which normally contains vinegar, salt, and whatever ingredients you want to achieve your ideal flavor.
The pickling process has been around for thousands of years with documented usage dating back to ancient Egyptians and Greeks some 4,000 years ago. Today, pickles remain an immensely popular food, both on its own or served as a side.
Making pickles is relatively easy. You’ll have to first make a pickling mixture by using vinegar, salt, sugar, water, and your choice of spices. Then, pack the cucumber or vegetable of choice with the mixture, and seal it. In 24 hours or so, your pickles will be ready.
Check out this interesting article on good health: Dogs Twitching in Their Sleep: What Does it Mean?
Why Are Pickles Not Recommended For Dogs?
While pickles are not toxic to dogs, there are several reasons why pickles are not recommended by veterinarians and animal nutritionists.
Whether they are commercially produced pickles or homemade ones, chances are that there is a significant amount of salt that is in the pickling mixture. While some salt in a dog’s diet is beneficial, too much sodium can lead to a whole host of health problems.
When a dog consumes a large amount of sodium, it can cause serious side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
A dog’s diet should only consist of 0.3% sodium, which equates to roughly about 100 mg of sodium a day for a dog weighing about 60 lbs. In contrast, the maximum amount recommended for adult humans is 2,300 mg and between 1,400 mg and 2,000 mg for children.
Commercial dog food has about 0.3% sodium in the kibble, so salt is already part of a dog’s diet plan to prevent dehydration and maintain a healthy electrolyte balance.
One small spear of pickled cucumber can contain 283 grams of sodium, which severely raises your dog’s sodium levels.
2. Toxic Ingredients
Many common human ingredients are toxic to dogs, especially in high amounts. Members of the allium family like garlic, chives, leeks, and onion, are all a big no-no for dogs.
If you have homemade pickles, you’ll be able to control the ingredients and ensure that none of these are used, but commercially available pickles often contain some of these ingredients.
Though a small amount of garlic is not likely to cause serious harm, it can still be dangerous for dogs. The allium family of plants contain n-propyl-disulfide, an organic compound that can damage red blood cells and cause anemia.
In addition, garlic and onion can irritate a dog’s digestive system, leading to nausea and vomiting. Some other symptoms of food toxicity include lethargy, pale gums, and shortness of breath.
Are Pickles Safe For Dogs?
If you’ve dropped a pickle and your dog snatches it up faster than you can say “leave it!”, don’t worry. It is unlikely that your dog will have adverse side effects just from eating one pickle.
However, prolonged intake of excessive amounts of sodium can build in your dog’s system and cause a host of problems.
While sodium is an essential nutrient that helps to regulate blood pressure and fluid levels in the body, too much sodium can be detrimental to health. Excess sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Additionally, too much sodium can cause water retention, which can lead to swelling and bloating.
Sodium is found in many foods, including processed foods, canned soups, and salted snacks, which is also why you should limit your dog’s intake of human food.
To limit sodium intake, choose fresh or frozen foods instead of processed foods and cook at home using fresh herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt.
What About Sweet Pickles?
Sugar is another compound that should be eaten sparingly, both by humans and dogs. Dogs love sugar just as much as people do, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them. Just like people, dogs can suffer from tooth decay and diabetes if they consume too much sugar.
In fact, sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity in dogs. While carrying a few extra pounds may not seem like a big deal, obesity can lead to a host of health problems in dogs, including joint pain, diabetes, and respiratory problems.
In addition, obese dogs are more likely to suffer from heat stroke and be less able to exercise effectively. While a little bit of sugar here and there won’t hurt your dog, it’s important to limit their intake to prevent health problems down the road. There are plenty of healthy and delicious dog treats on the market that don’t rely on sugar for flavor.
Dogs should not eat pickles because they are high in sodium, which can cause health problems for dogs. In addition, commercially produced pickles can also contain ingredients like garlic and onions that are toxic to dogs.
If you want to give your dog a treat, there are plenty of healthier and safer options than pickles. It isn’t worth the risk!