Can Dogs Eat Cucumbers?
Catch him eyeing your salad? 🥒
Some dogs want nothing to do with vegetables, but others will eat pretty much anything — including your food. If your dog has ever wanted a bit of cucumber from your salad, you may have wondered if it’s OK to give to him.
It turns out cucumbers are actually super healthy for dogs! But there are some things you should know first.
The Dodo spoke to Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance, to find out why cucumbers are healthy for dogs and how to make sure you’re feeding them safely.
Benefits of giving your dog cucumber
There are several reasons why cucumbers are a healthy treat for dogs.
“Dogs can eat cucumbers as a tasty, crunchy and refreshing snack,” Dr. Burch told The Dodo. “Cucumbers are 96 percent water, which, when eaten, can help prevent dehydration.”
Cucumbers are also low in calories, so they’re a great snack for dogs who need to lose a little bit of weight.
“This vegetable is also low in calories, making it a good option for dogs on a restricted or low-calorie diet,” Dr. Burch said.
Eating cucumbers can add vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet as well.
“Dogs can also benefit from cucumbers, as they contain vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium, supporting a healthy diet,” Dr. Burch said.
Basically, there are multiple benefits to giving your dog cucumber as a treat, besides the fact he might really like them!
Dangers of giving your dog cucumber
Cucumbers overall are pretty healthy for your dog, but since they contain so much water, they can cause your dog to have an increased need to urinate if he eats too many.
“Cucumbers eaten in abundance by your dog can cause a diuresis effect with significantly increased urination,” Dr. Burch said. “The diuresis effect is transient and will resolve once your dog stops eating large amounts of cucumbers.”
If you don’t chop up the cucumber into small enough pieces, it can also be a choking hazard or cause abdominal obstruction as well.
“Dogs who eat large pieces of cucumber may suffer from an intestinal obstruction, but this side effect tends to be rare,” Dr. Burch said.
Luckily, these risks can be avoided by not giving your dog too much cucumber and by slicing the cucumber into small pieces that your dog can easily chew.
Can dogs eat cucumber skin and seeds?
Dogs can eat the cucumber skin and seeds, but they’re not as easily digestible as the rest of the cucumber. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or if he eats a lot of cucumber, he could get an upset stomach from the skin or seeds.
This shouldn’t be a problem for most dogs, but if you’re concerned or if your dog has a history of having a super sensitive stomach, you can peel a cucumber and remove the seeds before giving it to your pup.
Can dogs eat pickles?
While you might think that pickles are automatically healthy because they’re made from cucumbers, dogs actually shouldn’t eat pickles.
“Dogs can eat pickles if one accidentally drops to the ground, but I do not recommend making them a daily treat for your pet,” Dr. Burch said. “Pickles are made of nontoxic ingredients, including cucumbers, salt, water, vinegar and other spices. The problem with eating pickles is the high sodium content. Excessive ingestion of sodium can be problematic for dogs with underlying medical conditions and even in the short term for healthy dogs.”
Too much salt is basically poisonous to dogs. If your dog eats too much salt too quickly, he could get hypernatremia, the medical term for too much salt in the blood. This causes cells to release water into the bloodstream to rebalance the salt levels, which can lead to all kinds of problems.
“Consumption of a large amount of salt in one sitting can lead to excessive drinking, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination and seizures,” Dr. Burch said.
Many pickles are also made with ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as garlic and onion.
So if you want to give your dog a cucumber treat, just give him regular, plain cucumber and skip the pickles.
How much cucumber can I give my dog?
While cucumber is healthy for your dog, as with all treats, you shouldn’t give your dog too much.
“Feeding cucumber to your dog is a treat, and I recommend keeping the amount [you] feed in a day within the 10 percent treat rule,” Dr. Burch said. “Your dog should not consume more than 10 percent of their daily caloric needs in the form of treats, including raw fruits and vegetables.”
You can talk to your veterinarian to find out how many calories your dog should eat in a day. You can also use a dog calorie calculator to estimate the total amount of calories your dog should have in his diet based on his weight (just divide the number by 10 to figure out how many calories can come from treats).
How to feed cucumber to your dog
The easiest (and vet-recommended) way to feed your dog cucumber is to give him raw, unpeeled slices, Dr. Burch said.
If you want to give your dog a refreshing treat to help him cool down, you can try freezing some cucumber for your pup too.
“Other options of feeding cucumber to your dog include freezing smaller pieces or slices to provide a summertime treat or help teething puppies with discomfort,” Dr. Burch said.
For an interactive treat, you can put some peanut butter inside a cucumber for your pup.
“The center of the cucumber can also be removed and replaced with peanut butter,” Dr. Burch said.
Cucumbers are healthy for dogs — they contain plenty of water to hydrate your pup, and they have lots of vitamins and minerals. If you want to give your dog a healthy treat, especially if your pup is on a low-calorie diet, they’re a great option!