The next time you open that pickle jar and take a nice big bite into one, I am sure your little (or big) Fido is going to be wondering if you will share with him or her. More importantly, you will most likely be wondering if it is safe to share your crunchy juicy pickle with your dog. The first thing that needs to be understood about what foods are safe for your dog to consume is what exactly is the food and how is it made? Pickles are essentially an older, more experienced and dressed up cucumber. So, are cucumbers fine for dogs to consume? They are when they are just a normal cucumber; pickles do not fall in this realm however.
Now that we have established that the base of the food item is actually safe and somewhat nutritious for your dog to eat in its raw form, it is important to understand why pickles may not be such a good idea. Often times pickles are made using vinegar, preservatives, juices and flavors from other vegetables such as onions. Anything that has to do with onions is unsafe for your dog to eat because it can cause them to develop anemia from excessive clumping of the hemoglobin element of the blood and can be life threatening. Garlic is also commonly utilized in the juice that cucumbers are pickled in to produce a pickle. Garlic can also cause anemia for the same reasons, albeit to a lesser degree; regardless onions or garlic alone or in combination as a part of the juice of the pickle can be harmful to your pup.
Another noteworthy ingredient widely used during the pickling process of cucumbers to make pickles is nutmeg. Nutmeg has a component called myristicin that can be extremely toxic to dogs. The bottom line when it comes to ingredients is to read the jar very closely to ensure that onions, garlic, or any variations of garlic and onions, and nutmeg are not listed because those are the major things to worry about. The next thing to think about is how sweet your pickle tastes. Much like anything else, it takes a good quantity of sugar to sweeten up those cucumbers and keep them sweet while soaking in vinegar all that time. If Fido is on the heavier side and it is a concern for you, then sweet pickles that don’t have the harmful ingredients mentioned still may not be okay to feed your dog.
The last thing to take a closer look at is the amount of sodium that is infused into that cucumber during the pickling process. For pickles that are not of the sweet flavored nature, instead of a large quantity of sugar, there would be a large quantity of sodium. Sodium can cause your dog to have hypertension and an upset stomach which are both significant problems for pups who may have a pre existing heart problem or condition of the heart or circulatory system. In summary, it is best that you do not feed Fido any pickles. If you just can’t resist then be sure to check through the ingredients thoroughly and only give a small bite no more often then a blue moon.