Can Dogs Eat Pickled Food?

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Introduction

Before you pop open the pickle jar and split a sliver of something salty with your pup, we suggest backing up and considering the ingredients. Pickles and other types of pickled snacks can be a delicious treat for people, but unfortunately, they can potentially harm your dog. 

It's often less about the pickle or the pickled treat itself, and more about what made those pickled things pickled, to begin with. Often, pickling a snack can include using tons of salt (something that's a definite no-go for your dog), peppers, heavy spices, and onions and garlic. 

All of these things are incredibly dangerous for dogs and can even be toxic, depending on the ingredient. Your pup could face issues ranging from mild dehydration to hemolytic anemia, a very serious issue dealing with your dog's red blood cells. 

So, if you're considering giving your pup a pickled something, we suggest taking a step back, checking the ingredients, and likely, avoiding the whole situation all together. 

Introduction of Can Dogs Eat Pickled Food?

Signs Your Dog has had too Much of Your Pickled Food

There are tons of different signs to look out for if you think your dog accidentally got into your pickled treats. We suggest taking a look at the jar that you think your pup got into to get a better guess on what he or she ingested, but there's likely to be a few common signs and negative reactions from ingesting pickled products. 

For starters, you can definitely expect your dog to be excessively thirsty. Pickled products typically contain huge amounts of sodium in order to preserve them, and sodium absorbs the water in your dog's body. Too much and they'll be begging for some water and passing it quickly, leaving their bodies struggling to keep up with digesting the salt. 

You can also expect upset stomachs due to the salt, vinegar, and other ingredients in the pickled product, so look out for diarrhea, constipation, loose stool, and vomiting. If your dog ingested pickled products that contain garlic or onions, you'll likely have a more serious issue on your hands. Look for signs of anemia like dark colored urine, vomiting, breathing issues, seizures, loss of consciousness, collapse, and extreme fatigue.

Body Language

There are definite signs to look out for if your dog has had too much pickled food. Look for things like:
  • Alert
  • Lip licking
  • Drooling
  • Lack of focus
  • Tail tucking
  • Stomach flip
  • Ears back
  • Pupils dilated

Other Signs

There are more signs to watch out for, too, including:
  • Dark, discolored urine
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypernatremia
  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dehydration

The History of Pickling

History of Can Dogs Eat Pickled Food?
Pickling is the process of preserving or expanding the lifespan of a particular food by brining it, emerging it in vinegar, or using a liquid concoction to keep it fresh longer. The precise origin of pickling isn't known, but it's documented that the ancient Mesopotamian were using the process of pickling around 2400 BC. 

Though a useful tool for preserving food, pickled food is hardly a good treat for your dog. According to the Happy Puppy Site, in severe cases of dogs eating pickled foods that contain garlic and onions, they've required blood transfusions in order to treat their conditions, and in other cases, nothing could be done for dogs who suffered from haemolytic anemia from pickled foods containing garlic or onions.

The Science Behind Pickled Food Hurting Your Dog

Science of Can Dogs Eat Pickled Food?
While small amounts of pickled food might not be too terrible for your dog, it's a different story with every different food. Typically, the pickled food itself (beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc) aren't the culprit behind the issue, instead, it's the ingredient used to pickled the foods. 

For example, pickled foods contain tons of salt, and while a little extra salt here and there won't hurt your pup too bad, it can be potentially very harmful if they ingest too much. Too much salt will dehydrate your dog, stop his or her kidneys and organs from functioning properly, and be painful for your dog's body to digest. 

Additionally, many pickled food contains toxic ingredients like peppers, garlic, and onions. These foods have the potential to cause a condition called haemolytic anaemia in your dog, which affects the red blood cells in your pup's body, causing them to burst.

Training Your Dog to Stay Away from Pickles

Training of Can Dogs Eat Pickled Food?
It's hard to train your dog to stay away from the specific foods that are bad for them like chocolate, coffee, alcohol, pretzels, pickles, and more, so your best bet is to just train your dog to stay away from people food altogether. This can be a hard trick to accomplish. 

Dogs are led by their noses, and with an olfactory cortex that's about 40 times the size of ours, who can really blame them, right? The point is, dogs are going to be drawn to food that smells enticing, and typically, they'll beg you to give them a bit of it. Your best bet is to train your dog not to beg for people food at all. This can be accomplished in a few different ways. 

First, train your dog that he or she is not allowed to approach the table while you're eating. Reward your dog at the end of a meal with a puppy-safe treat if they didn't beg, but punish your dog accordingly if they didn't abide by the rule. Do this until your dog understands that begging at the table will not be tolerated. 

If your pup has a harder time grasping this, or grasping basic obedience commands, teach your dog that they will have to wait in their crate while you're eating in order to avoid begging habits. With this type of training, consistency is going to be key, so it's up to you to let your friends, family, and house guests no that you have a no-begging and no-feeding the dog policy.

How to React if Your Dog has had Too Many Pickled Foods:

  • Continue giving your dog lots of water.
  • Call your vet as soon as possible.
  • If instructed, induce vomiting.
  • Have an ingredient list ready for the pickled product your dog ate.
  • Be prepared to care for your dog while they're dealing with stomach issues.