Can Dogs Have Cucumbers?
Can Dogs Have Cucumbers Dogs, unlike cats, possess omnivorous tendencies that have them licking their chops over almost any human food, whether those foods are good for them or not?
As owners, we tend to assume incorrectly that all fruits and vegetables must be healthy for dogs if they are good for us. This assumption, unfortunately, leads to emergency veterinary visits and very unhappy dogs.
Some fruits and vegetables, however, are safe for dogs and offer a healthy alternative to conventional dog treats. Cucumber is one of these vegetables.
Are Cucumbers Safe for Dogs?
Cucumbers are perfectly safe for dogs to eat, and offer a low-calorie, crunchy snack that many dogs love. Cucumbers only contain about 8 calories per one-half cup of slices, compared to the 40 calories in a single medium Milk-Bone biscuit, and are very low in sodium and fat.
There are two potential risks of feeding cucumbers to dogs: overeating and choking. Feeding your dog too many cucumbers won’t cause serious damage in most cases, but eating too much of any food item can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset in dogs, especially if it is a new food your dog has not eaten before.
To prevent your dog from choking, always cut food down to a manageable size, especially for small dogs or for dogs that wolf down their meals. Feeding a whole cucumber is not advisable.
The best rule of thumb for determining how much cucumber to feed your dog is the 10 percent rule. Veterinarians recommend that treats should only make up 10 percent of your dog’s daily diet. This means that the amount of cucumber you feed your German Shepherd Dog will vary greatly from the amount you feed your Chihuahua. As with any new food, introduce cucumbers slowly into your dog’s diet and keep an eye out for any adverse reactions.
Are Cucumbers Good for Dogs?
Cucumbers are an excellent, healthy treat for dogs. They are especially good for dogs that need to lose weight, as their low-calorie content offers some rewards without the rolls.
Cucumbers also have high water content. This crunchy vegetable is 96 percent water, which makes it a tasty and hydrating summer treat after a vigorous walk.
Combined with exercise and a weight-loss diet plan, cucumbers, and other safe fruits and vegetables can be a great way to help your dog lose weight without cutting out rewards, especially if your weight-loss plan involves training for a fun new dog sport or if your dog needs encouragement to improve her leash manners.
However, leave the pickle jar on the shelf. Pickles contain added spices and salt that can be harmful at worst and unnecessary at best. While a bite of pickle probably won’t hurt your dog, stick with plain cucumbers as a regular treat and avoid feeding pickles of any variety to dogs.
Is Cucumber Healthy for My Dog?
Yes. Fresh cucumbers are about 96% water and are a delightfully crunchy way to stay hydrated on a hot day. They also contain vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium, all important components of a healthy canine diet.
However, pickled cucumbers (and other pickled veggies) are packed with salt and often contain other ingredients that are no-nos for dogs, such as garlic or onion.
So skip the pickles and stick to the fresh veggies.
- Combine peeled, chopped cucumber with chunks of cantaloupe, celery, and pear for a refreshing dog-friendly salad side dish
- Slice cucumbers into rounds and remove the soft seedy center. Stuff cucumber slices with peanut butter or cream cheese (these make fun creepy “eyeball” treats at Halloween)
- Freeze chunks or spears of peeled cucumber for a teething treat for your puppy
- Use small pieces of cucumber as low-calorie training treats
- Top their regular dog food with small pieces of cucumber for a refreshing meal
- Dehydrate slices of cucumber to create a chewy, summery treat
Can Eating Cucumbers Be Dangerous for Dogs?
The only concern with cucumbers is that your dog might love them too much and gobble down too many. This could lead to overeating or choking, both a great ways to ruin a tasty food.
As with any treat, overeating cucumber can lead to an upset belly. The skin and seeds of a cucumber can be upsetting to a dog’s stomach, so removing those items could help a more sensitive dog enjoy this veggie.
Chomping on whole cucumbers can be a choking hazard. If your dog likes to wolf down her food, chop the veggies into a manageable size.
As with any new food, when introducing cucumbers to your dog, start with a little to make sure that your dog digests it well.
How many cucumbers Can My Dog Eat?
A common recommendation from vets is to follow the 10% rule. Treats, including raw veggies, can make up 10% of the calories in your dog’s diet.
This might mean that you can treat your Papillon to a slender cucumber spear on a hot afternoon, while your German shepherd might get a big scoop of frozen cuke chunks.
Fresh cucumbers are only about 1% sugar by weight, and one cup of chopped cucumbers has about 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of dietary fiber, and 16 calories. This can make cucumbers a good treatment option for dogs on a reduced-calorie diet or with diabetes.
As a low-calorie food, cucumbers make great training treats and can be used as a topper on your dog’s regular dinner. Go ahead and share a slice from your salad with your pup.
How to Properly Prepare Cucumber for Your Dog
Some cats don’t like cucumbers (we’re not kidding), but dogs are likely to be curious and adventurous enough to try them out if you’re having them. Luckily, tips for safe cucumber consumption are pretty basic for most healthy dogs.
How many cucumbers can a dog eat? Remember Wismer’s advice. Cucumbers are relatively low-calorie (12 calories in one cup of skinned slices), so it’s not easy to overdo it with a healthy treat. But keep it a treat, and don’t fill up your dog on cucumbers or any other human foods. Many veterinarians recommend feeding 10 percent or less of your dog’s daily calories as treats.
Don’t Give Your Dog the Whole Cucumber
Some dogs who wolf down their food like, well, a hungry wolf, may choke on a whole cucumber or a larger piece. There’s also a risk of larger pieces taking too long to break down. “There’s always a risk of [getting stuck] due to the length of time it would take for the dog’s digestive system to break down the cucumber,” Schmid says. Instead, opt for smaller, thinner slices or pieces.
Skip the Skin and Seeds
The most likely culprits for stomach upset and other gastrointestinal problems come from the least digestible parts: the seeds and skin. So if your dog has a sensitive stomach, remove the seeds and peel the cucumber’s skin before serving. Although many dogs don’t have a problem with either skin or seeds, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious just in case.
Not only can dogs eat cucumbers raw, but it’s also probably a safer bet. Cucumbers wind up in salads and other foods that might be doused (or drizzled) with dressings, oils, and seasonings that might be bad for a dog. Especially beware of artificial sweeteners with xylitol, which is toxic to dogs in even small amounts.
Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
Don’t feed your dog this onion-and-garlic-flavored variety. Though pickles are pickled cucumbers, they can contain ingredients that are bad for dogs like excessive salt.
RELATED: 10 Toxic Foods Dogs & Cats Should Never Eat
Benefits of Cucumbers for Dogs
The main benefit of cucumbers is the amount of water they contain. A cucumber is about 96% water, which makes them an excellent way to get your dog a little extra hydration. They’re also incredibly low on calories, making them a favorite for humans who are trying to get their dog on a consistent weight-loss regimen.
Along with the hydration benefits, cucumbers are also chock full of Vitamin K, which helps strengthen your dog’s bones. This is an especially beneficial health perk to anyone who has an exceptionally active dog — an active dog is going to be putting more wear and tear on their joints, so you’ll want to do what you can to support their sturdy skeletal framework.
However, one of the benefits that you, the dog owner, maybe the most interested in is a cucumber’s tendency to kill bad breath. Cucumbers are filled with phytochemicals and phytonutrients that combat bacteria in a dog’s mouth and leave them with fresher breath. Your dog may not notice this perk, but you definitely will.
Other Healthy Fruits and Vegetables for Dogs
A few notable dog-friendly fruits and vegetables (as long as they’re prepared properly) include:
- Green beans
- Sweet potatoes
Remember, the same advice that goes for cucumbers also goes for many other fruits and vegetables: Get rid of stuff that’s hard to digest, test it out first to make sure your dog doesn’t react poorly, offer it in small amounts, and always check with your veterinarian first before feeding your dog any new foods.
How Many Cucumbers Can Dogs Eat?
If you’re wondering how often can dogs eat cucumbers, veterinarians recommend going by the 10% rule. Cucumber is considered a treat, not a replacement food.
The 10% rule recommends that treats should never make up more than 10% of a dog’s daily diet. If you have different-sized dogs, you will vary how many cucumbers you give to each of them.
Even though cucumbers are deemed harmless to dogs, introduce any new food slowly, and watch for any adverse reactions.
Think about the way you serve them, too. While a smaller pup might benefit from half-moon slices, a larger dog might be able to handle a bigger spear. If you’re unsure, air on the side of caution to alleviate any risk of cucumbers posing as a choking hazard. This is something we also talked about in our can dogs eat bananas article.
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