It is common for dog owners to spoil their pooches with treats now and again. Whether that is sharing the last piece of deli meat or an extra bit of fruit salad, many people assume that because the food is safe for us, it is also safe for dogs. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and there are fruits that are unsafe for dogs.
Dogs have different nutritional requirements and digestive processes than humans. For instance, you would never consider eating a steak raw, though that would be more than fine for a canine. To help you make an educated decision on what you can feed Fido, here is everything you need to know about dogs and cucumbers.
Are Cucumbers Safe for Dogs?
Cucumbers are safe for your dog to eat. They are primarily made up of water and don’t contain any toxic compounds. If anything, you might have a challenging time getting your canine to take a bite of this garden staple.
If you want creative ways to feed your dog cucumbers, you may opt to mix it into other dishes. That way, your pets can get a crunchy element while enjoying their pork, chicken, or dry dog food. You can offer them cucumbers as a chew toy that doubles as something they can eat.
Can Dogs Eat Cucumber-Related Products?
The odds are you are not eating too many dishes with cooked cucumbers. Most people will enjoy cucumbers plain or as part of a salad, sandwich garnish, soup, or hors d’oeuvre. More likely than any of those scenarios is that people will have the cucumber’s aged and processed counterpart: the pickle.
Like the cucumber, the pickle is not harmful for dogs to eat. On the other hand, they also aren’t necessarily a rich source of nutrients. If anything, dog owners may want to be wary of the high salt and vinegar contents of pickles that can be less than ideal for a dog’s diet.
A cucumber is 95 percent water. That makes it one of the most hydrating fruits and vegetables around, coming in with the second-highest percentage of water behind only lettuce. This aspect makes the cucumber an ideal way to give your pet an additional source of water without worrying about potential fats or calories.
As a point of reference, humans get 20 to 30 percent of the fluid they need from meals. Having water-rich foods makes it easier for us to hit that mark. The same applies to dogs, which need 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per ten pounds of body weight.
Cucumbers also contain magnesium and potassium, which are essential parts of the hydration process. That is because these elements work to retain fluid in the body. As a result, dogs with a diet chalked full of magnesium and potassium are less likely to experience cramps.
Studies have also connected the phytonutrients in cucumbers to cancer prevention. According to the Scientific World Journal, cucurbitacins found in the vegetable help block the signal pathways that lead to the proliferation and spread of cancer cells. Additionally, cucurbitacins can mitigate the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.
Scientists have also found connections between cucumbers and benefits to skin, bone, heart, digestive, and brain health. They are also an excellent source of several antioxidants, including vitamin C, manganese, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants serve to preserve the health and immunity of your dog’s body as they fight off free radicals.
The health drawbacks of feeding your dog cucumbers are far and few between. Even the cucumber skin and seeds are of little concern because of how soft and flexible they are. If there is anything to watch out for, it is when serving the vegetable as a pickle.
The primary drawback of feeding pickles to your pup is the high levels of salt. A single cup of pickles comes with 1,251 milligrams of sodium, which is equivalent to about one teaspoon. As a point of reference, a serving of this size would constitute 52 percent of the average person’s daily-recommended intake for sodium. That figure would be much higher for a canine.
Of course, eating this many pickles daily for any dog would be a lot. If you provide them with pickles in moderation, they should be all right. Eating pickles or salty food in excess can lead to hypernatremia, which occurs due to a loss of water or an increase in salt. Symptoms of hypernatremia can include but are not limited to, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and excessive consumption of water.
Summing it Up
Cucumbers are a safe and hydrating snack for canines of all shapes and sizes. While they aren’t overly nutritious, they are non-toxic, low calorie, and chalked full of water. You might even find that your dog prefers a slice of cucumber to the traditional dental chews or treats.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Cherries?