Can Dogs Eat Pickles?

by Hannah Roundy

three baskets of pickles at a farmers market

Whether sweet, spicy, or dill, pickles are a love/hate food for humans. But are pickles bad for dogs?

Whether sweet, spicy, or dill, pickles are a love/hate food for humans. But are pickles bad for dogs? Learn the answer before your pup steals a dill spear off the kitchen floor. 

What are pickles?

Believe it or not, pickles are just cucumbers preserved in vinegar and spices – a process called pickling. To become a tangy pickle, cucumbers soak in a brine of vinegar, water, salt, and other seasonings. The cucumbers can soak in the pickle juice anywhere from a few hours to a few days. 


Once soaking time is up, pickles are instantly ready to eat. After cutting them into spears or slices, pickles serve as a savory side dish or snack. Some folks like to blend pickles into a relish to put on hot dogs or hamburgers. The great thing about pickles is their long shelf life – they can stay fresh for 3 months when refrigerated and stored in a jar of brine. 


No matter which serving style you prefer, most people agree pickles are a staple of American cuisine. But can dogs eat pickles just like humans?


Are pickles bad for dogs? 

While pickles aren’t toxic to dogs, they still aren’t the safest snacking choice for your pup. Why are pickles bad for dogs? The risk is dependent on the ingredients used during the pickling process. 


Pickles get their tangy flavor by soaking cucumbers in vinegar, brine, and spices. Salt is a key ingredient in pickle brine and excessive amounts of salt are toxic to dogs. That’s why it’s dangerous to feed your dog potato chips and other salty human foods. 


Garlic, onions, and chives are also quite poisonous to dogs. Consuming these ingredients can cause diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain in dogs. Since most pickles soak in a solution with minced or powdered garlic, avoid feeding them to your pup. 


Can dogs eat pickles in small quantities? Absolutely – your furry friend will have little to no side effects if they accidentally sneak a pickle off your plate. Dogs that eat a large serving of pickles can experience vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and other side effects. 


Can dogs eat dill pickles?

Dill pickles are likely the most popular version of this fruit. Their savory flavor and crunchy texture make dill pickles the perfect addition to a sandwich or burger. Some people even enjoy snacking on dill pickle spears right out of the jar. But can dogs eat dill pickles?


Salt, garlic, mustard seeds, and clove are all seasonings used in dill pickle brine. All these spices are toxic to dogs in small or large quantities. 


Mustard seeds can cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) in dogs. In small doses, clove and salt are safe for dogs to consume. Too much salt or clove can have adverse effects. For these reasons, we recommend keeping your dog away from dill pickles. 


Can dogs eat pickles if they are sweet? Even if you take salt out of the pickling process, there are too many risky ingredients in pickles. Sweet pickles have sugar in them, which isn’t the best thing for your dog either. Avoid feeding all types of pickles to your dog just to be safe. 


Cucumbers vs. Pickles

If pickles aren’t safe for dogs, should they avoid eating cucumbers, too? Quite the contrary – cucumbers are perfectly safe for your dog to eat and they tend to enjoy them.


Dogs love the taste and crunchy texture of cucumbers. They are a nutritious snack with rich levels of magnesium, potassium, vitamin B, and more. Cucumbers have less sugar and calories than other fruits so even dogs on weight loss diets can enjoy them. 


Plus, cucumbers are 96% water which makes them a hydrating snack for dogs. Feeding your dog cucumbers is a great way to make sure your dog is staying hydrated on hot days. 


If you plan on serving cucumbers to your pup, remove the skin and seeds to the best of your abilities. Some dogs have trouble digesting cucumber seeds but they are not toxic in any way. Too many cucumber seeds may cause a slightly upset stomach.

What should I do if my dog eats a pickle? 

Some pups will eat anything that falls off your plate or kitchen counter, even if it’s bad for them. Dogs don’t have the same wariness towards certain foods that humans do. So what should you do if your dog accidentally eats a pickle? 


If it’s just a small bite, there’s no need to freak out. Keep an eye on your dog over the next 24 hours. They may experience a mild upset stomach or, if they’re lucky, no side effects at all. If you notice vomiting or diarrhea in your dog, call your vet and brief them on the situation. 

The more pickles your dog eats, the higher the risk. Eating multiple pickles or even a jar of pickle juice can cause severe dehydration and digestive problems. Call or visit your vet’s office as soon as you can to get ahead of severe side effects.

Try Healthy, Easy Sundays