Can Dogs Eat Pickles? The Sour Truth

The mighty pickle, with its crunchy texture and tangy, salty flavor, is a staple in kitchens everywhere. There’s no wonder why — they’re as versatile as they are delicious, used in everything from sandwiches and salads to burgers and marinades.

If the members of your household are pickle fans and you own a dog, you might be wondering: Can dogs eat pickles? Or are they potentially harmful to our canine friends?

While pickles aren’t outright toxic to dogs, they’re not completely safe, either. So, the answer is: No, dogs should not be fed pickles.

Keep reading to learn more about why our four-legged friends shouldn’t eat pickles and what to do if your dog does accidentally ingest this common human food.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Pickles?

Can dogs eat pickles: person handing a pickle to a dog

To understand why dogs can’t eat pickles, it’s helpful to understand what a pickle is.

A pickle is simply a cucumber that’s been preserved in a saltwater brine, usually with added vinegar and other seasonings. The classic dill pickle, for example, is made with fresh dill. Bread-and-butter pickles are sweeter and are usually made with sugar, onions, and garlic. And hot or spicy pickles are made with chili peppers. It’s these added ingredients, plus the high salt content, that make any type of pickle potentially dangerous for your pooch.

Although sodium is an essential part of your dog’s diet, too much is unhealthy. Eating large amounts of salty foods — pickles included — could lead to your dog experiencing health problems like high blood pressure, excessive thirst, ataxia (abnormal gait), and even seizures if the problem progresses to full-on salt poisoning.

Aside from salt, other ingredients used in the pickling process aren’t good for dogs, either. Onions and garlic, for example, are very bad for dogs — onion toxicity can lead to life-threatening anemia, a condition in which your dog’s red blood cells break down. And the sugar used in sweet pickles like the bread-and-butter variety can cause upset stomach, vomiting, and long-term health problems like arthritis, pancreatitis, and weight gain over time.

What About Pickle Juice or Fried Pickles?

Why are pickles bad for dogs? The high level of sodium and added ingredients. But what about pickle juice and other forms of pickles?

Pickle juice is a definite no-no; the high sodium content of pickles is mostly concentrated in the juice and is likely to cause health issues. Plus, pickle juice contains the other pickling ingredients that could harm your pooch, like onions, garlic, or hot spices.

Are fried pickles safe for dogs? Fried pickles are just what they sound like — pickles dipped in batter and deep-fried in oil. As you can probably guess, they’re not the best choice for your dog, either. Not only do you have all the potentially harmful ingredients of pickles themselves, but a lot of oil and fat is not good for your pup. Too many fried pickles can result in an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.



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