Can Dogs Eat Pickles? + What to Do If They Did

Quick Answer

Question Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Answer Not recommended.
More Info
  1. High Sodium Content: Pickles are high in sodium, which is not suitable for dogs and can lead to dehydration and other health issues.
  2. Spices and Seasonings: Many pickles contain garlic, onions, and spices that are toxic to dogs.
  3. Possible Digestive Upset: The vinegar and spices in pickles can cause stomach upset in some dogs.

Pickle jar in a man's hand.  Avoid feeding a dog pickles.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Pickles

  • Step 1: Determine the amount and type of pickle consumed.
    • If it was a small piece of a plain pickle, proceed to Step 2.
    • If a large quantity or pickles with toxic ingredients (like garlic or onions) was consumed, proceed to Step 3.
  • Step 2: Monitor your dog for any signs of digestive upset.
    • Watch for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive thirst.
    • If mild symptoms occur, provide fresh water and monitor closely. Proceed to Step 4 if symptoms persist or worsen.
    • If no symptoms develop within 24 hours, continue normal monitoring.
  • Step 3: Contact your veterinarian immediately.
    • For large quantities or ingestion of pickles with toxic ingredients, professional advice is crucial.
    • Be ready to provide information on what and how much was consumed.
  • Step 4: Follow your veterinarian’s advice.
    • This may include dietary recommendations, hydration tips, or in some cases, bringing your dog in for a check-up.
    • Your vet may advise on specific signs to watch for or suggest administering activated charcoal.
  • Preventive Measure: Secure pickles and other potentially harmful foods out of your dog’s reach in the future to prevent similar incidents.

Is it healthy for a dog to eat pickles?

No, pickles are not a healthy dog treat.

This question should really be tackled from two different points of view.

  1. Has the dog already eaten the pickle?
  2. Are you thinking about giving the dog a pickle?
can dogs eat pickles
The answer to scenario one is if the dog has eaten the pickle already, don’t worry about it. They may get an upset stomach if they’ve eaten a lot. You may wish to skip down in the article to view what sodium can do to a dog. It’s really all about the sodium. Nutritionally speaking, pickles are almost a non-food.
 
If you are holding a pickle in your hand at this moment thinking about giving it to your dog, it’d probably be in your dogs best interest to provide them with some other type of food because…

The sodium in pickles is terrible for a dog

One thing to consider when selecting a food for your dog is the sodium content.  As a source of nutrition pickles are lacking.  In fact, they have almost no calories.  It’s really their sodium that you need to look out for.   The average pickle spear has:
  • 7 calories
  • 785 mg of sodium

That sodium content is 1/3 of the daily value suggested for a human.   Here is a detailed writeup on the nutritional information in a pickle (pun intended):  

is it ok for my dog to eat pickles

What happens when a dog consumes too much sodium

Sodium has some really negative effects on a dog.  A 33-pound dog only needs 100mg a day.  Here are some things that can happen when a dog eats to much sodium.

  • Your dog may become extremely thirsty when they’ve had too much sodium.
  • As dogs process all of the sodium, they will need to urinate more frequently.
  • They may also swell or look puffy.  This is an extreme example.  If you observe this, it may be time to call the veterinarian.
 
It’s definitely OK to give a dog a pickle every now and then. Say you are eating a burger and she won’t stop staring at you with that “what about me look”.  That’s the perfect opportunity to flip your dog that pickle.  But, when it comes to using a pickle as a training treat, it should be avoided.
 
Here’s a good guide that is full of good dog nutrition advice, including sodium by weight:
 
 

Alternatives

You may be here because your dog really likes pickles.  What are some lower sodium alternatives?  Green peppers when appropriately cooked are a fine choice. They have the same mouth feel as a pickle but none of the sodium.
 
You could also try carrots.  I’ve known many dogs that love them so much you’d swear that they were getting meat.
 

Wrapping up

A pickle isn’t going to kill your dog, but it isn’t the healthiest food. If you found your way here because your dog has already consumed a pickle, don’t panic. Be prepared to let your best friend out overnight. It may be a shock to their system.