Can Dogs Eat Pickles? Are Fermented Foods Good For Dogs?

can dogs eat pickles

Can dogs eat pickles?  What about other kinds of fermented foods?  Are the agents used to cure and process these foods ok for our dogs to digest in the first place?

Hi my name is mike and I’m a dog trainer.  I get a lot of questions about our furry little friends and I decided to create this website to help answer some of them.  Today we will be discussing dogs and fermented foods.  We will be looking at the specific question, “Can dogs eat Pickles?”.  The answers uncovered may surprise you.  Lets get into it.

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Can Dogs Eat Pickles Explained.

In short, no dogs should not eat pickles.  The process by which they are fermented and given flavor can cause your dog quite a bit of indigestion and general stomach upset.  If a stray bit of pickle happens to fall in front of them and they scoop it up, don’t panic.  Small amounts shouldn’t cause any major issues unless your dog is completely intolerant of the food.  I would strongly advise you to keep pickles away from your dog as a common snack however.

Why Are Pickles Bad For Dogs?

The problem with pickles lies in the chemicals and processes used to ferment them.  These processes usually involve things like salt and vinegar.  Salt is ok for your dog to have but only in moderation and associated with their regular diet.  Too much salt can cause organ issues like kidney failure or sodium ion poisoning.  The vinegar used in the fermentation process is usually the culprit when we talk about the short term issues like indigestion and stomach upset.

The interesting thing is that unfermented pickles (AKA cucumbers), are one of the best foods you could give your dog as a snack.  They have a good nutrition profile, are low in calories and have a high water content.  Almost everything a plus for your dog in general!  In short, feel free to feed your dog a few slices of cucumber but keep them away from pickles.

Should Dogs Eat Fermented Foods?

All dogs are different and some animals are able to tolerate certain foods better than others.  In general, I would say keep all fermented foods away from your dog.  The process usually involves chemicals or other compounds that your dog will have trouble breaking down.  This trouble can lead to indigestion at the very least.  In some more serious cases, kidney or other organ damage can occur as well.

Many people will swear by fermented foods like pickles or Kim Chi for the probiotic benefits they contain.  For the most part, your dog shouldn’t need any of that if their diet is proper to begin with.  If they do need some probiotics, a vet will usually prescribe something like Greek yogurt which tends to agree with a dog’s stomach more.

Another important thing to remember is that your dog does not have the same nutritional needs as you do.  Keeping them away from fermented foods or human foods in general is always a good idea.  My advice would be to seek out your local vet and work with them on a well balanced diet for your pup.  They may also point you in the direction of a dog nutritionist.  These professionals specialize in dog diets and making sure your dog’s breed and medical history play a large role in the diet you are feeding them to begin with.  Either is worth the time to talk to.

My Dog Ate Some Pickles.  What Should I Do?

As I stated above, don’t panic.  The odds of your dog having a bad reaction to a slice of pickle are very low unless they are particularly sensitive to that food.  Observation is always going to be key here.  Keep an eye on your dog and watch how they act.  If they are going about everything as normal, I’d let it be and try to keep the situation from happening again in the future.  If they do start to act off, (lethargic, gassy, the runs etc.) contact your vet and get some feedback on the situation.  Most of the time, these minor stomach upset symptoms will resolve themselves fairly quickly.

If your dog somehow eats a whole jar of pickles, I’d probably contact the vet right away.  The odds of them having some indigestion or stomach upset will be much higher in this case but hopefully it is all cleared up in a few hours and no further action is needed.  If you notice that your dog is slow to recover or acting abnormally the next day or two, I might bring the dog in for a visit to the vet just to be sure everything is ok.  The jar of pickles might not have been the only thing they ate and that could cause some confusion in the long run as well.

what foods should my dog eat

What Foods Should My Dog Eat?

First things first, your dog should have their own diet with their own food.  A schedule should be maintained for them and you should try to get them into a feeding routine as soon as possible.  Dogs are creatures of instinct and habit.  They like patterns and a structured life for your dog will help in many ways including temperament and long term health.

What kinds of foods should you be feeding your dog though?  As mentioned above, a vet or dog nutritionist can help you fine tune a plan for your specific pet.  If you’re used to having dogs around though, you may already be aware of their nutritional needs and how to feed them.  In that case, just make sure they are being fed properly and in appropriate amounts for their age and growth cycle.

Lets look at some other common foods dogs can have and why they may be beneficial in the long term.

Dog Kibble

By dog kibble, I’m referring to any of the dry dog food brands that are out there.  Not all dog foods are created equal though.  Some of them have absolutely terrible ingredients that can cause your dog’s long term health to suffer greatly.  The important thing when choosing a dry dog food for your dog is to do your research and select a brand that provides quality ingredients with a proven track record.  I would suggest looking at brands like Fromm and Buffalo Blue to get an idea of the type of nutrient profile I’m referencing.

Another important item is to consider the amount of ingredients in the dog food to begin with.  Every brand has an ingredient list.  If the first 3 or 4 items on this list are unpronounceable or sound like things you would never want to consume yourself, don’t feed it to your dog instead.

Wet Food

Here I’m referring to any kind of prepared food for dogs that isn’t dry kibble.  Many owners I know will mix both dry and wet food together when feeding their animals as well.  This is perfectly fine and dogs generally seem to love this over just plain dry food.  The important thing here once again is to compare the ingredients list and check for feedback on the particular brands in question.

Unfortunately, false or misleading advertising is out there in abundance when it comes to pet foods and one of the worst industries affected is dog foods.  Before giving my dog any new kind of food I’ll conduct research and work with my vet to cross reference the product in question.  I suggest you do the same as well.  Dog nutritionists are also a viable option as I’ve mentioned several times before in this and many other articles.

Natural Diet

This is the current diet I feed my dog now and the premise is very simple,  Feed your dog what it’s ancestors ate many years ago.  Think of it as a paleo diet but for your dog.  In this case, we are looking at things like unadulterated meats (no processing),  with some vegetables and berries on occasion as well.  I like to feed my dog this kind of a diet because we can eat a lot of the same foods this way and I can be more sure of the sourcing of the ingredients in the first place.

With a natural diet, there can be pitfalls as well.  These diets tend to be a bit more expensive as they require fresh ingredients that aren’t massed produced for animal consumption.  The larger the dog, the more expensive it gets as well because cuts of meat don’t come cheap.   Still, it’s a very healthy diet for your dog and I’ve seen many animals thrive on it.  That’s why I decided to make the switch for my dog as well.  If you do decide to give it a shot, don’t switch your dog over cold turkey.  Gradually phase the diet in and give your pet time to adjust.

Should I Feed My Dog Human Food?

I get this question all the time.  Is it ok to give my dog some food from the table?  It depends on what that food is.  If we are talking about processed garbage like a hot pocket or tv dinner, keep it away from your dog.  The amount of chemical additives and sugar in these foods can cause absolute havoc on your dog’s body.  If you’re eating a freshly cooked steak and want to toss your dog a bite, go for it.  These foods are great for your dog to have.

The less processed the food is, the more appropriate it is for your dog in most cases.  You still want to keep an eye on sugar content though.  Dogs love sugary fruits and a moderate amount of them from time to time is not an issue.  If you feed them a few apples every day though, you can be sure your dog will begin to have some type of metabolic issue like diabetes over time.  A few strawberries or apple slices every once in a while is a great treat for your dog though.  Just watch the amount and frequency!

should I feed my dog human food

Snacks And Dog Treats For My Dog

Snacks and dog treats are another question I get asked a lot about for animals.  What’s a good human snack to give a dog?  How often should I give my dog treats?  Are dog treats good for my dog?  Lets take these in series.

My favorite snack to share with my dog is cucumber slices.  They have great values for dogs and humans alike.  A nice trick is to freeze a few slices and toss them to your dog on a hot summer day as well.  This is a great way to keep them cool and hydrated on the go.  You could also give your dog a few slices of apple or some berries.  Just be sure to keep those in moderation as the sugar content adds up quickly.

In terms of frequency of dog treats, keep it light unless you are training them.  I tend to train my dog with a lot of treats when we start out and gradually lower it to almost nothing as the training concludes.  Treats should be kept to a minimal frequency that way they don’t lose their value as well.

Are treats good for my dog?  If you keep them in moderation and have a care for what kind of things you are feeding them, treats are fine.  The problem comes with overindulgence by the owner or using the wrong kinds of treats to begin with.  Moderation and minimal frequency is the key here.

Can Dogs Eat Pickles Concluded

We have covered some decent ground in this article.  We started off answering the, “Can dogs eat pickles?” question.  We ended up talking about some different nutrition options for our pets and why some foods are more beneficial than others.  The important thing to remember is to check ingredient lists or keep your dog to a clean paleo type of diet.  If you can control the source of the foods, you’ll have a better idea of the quality and your dog will be healthier for it in the long run.

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