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Can Dogs Eat Cucumber? Is Cucumber Safe For Dogs To Eat?

Thinking of throwing some cucumber into your dog's food bowl to add a little more variety to their kibble? In this article, Veterinarian Joanna Woodnutt looks at if Cucumber is Safe for dogs to eat, and how much they should be eating.

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Last Updated: June 28, 2021 | 5 min read

dog eating cucumber

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate cucumber and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Many humans love a cucumber. Whether it’s in a sandwich, a salad, or being dipped into something. Does your dog look at you longingly with those big puppy eyes when you’re slicing up some carrots and cucumber for a salad, leaving you wondering “can dogs eat cucumber, too?”

Maybe you always slip your pup a slice off the end and aren’t sure how much they can safely eat? Dogs are omnivores, which means they eat both animal and plant material. Many fruits and vegetables are safe for our pets to eat in moderation, while others can be harmful to them.

The good news is, cucumber is as good for dogs as it is for us. Most canines will love its crunchy, juicy texture. But there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to offer your pup a slice or two. Read on to learn more!

Cucumber Overview

bowl of cucumbers
Cucumbers are often referred to as a vegetable, however, it is actually a fruit.

Cucumber (scientific name Cucumis sativus) is a widely grown edible plant belonging to the Cucurbitaceae gourd family. It is widely considered to be a vegetable, however, as it grows on from flowers and contains seeds it is actually a fruit.

They’re dark green and can grow to over two feet long, and may have small ‘spikes’ on the outside of the fruit. They’re usually found with the other fresh veggies, and may be wrapped in a thin layer of plastic film. Make sure to remove this before feeding to your pup. Pickles are also a type of small cucumber preserved in brine or vinegar.

Is Cucumber Safe For Dogs?

dog eating a pile of cucumbers
In moderation cucumbers are a healthy snack for dogs.

Cucumber is considered a safe vegetable for dogs, as long as fed in moderation. It’s absolutely fine to share a cucumber snack with your furry friend.

Cucumber is mostly made up of water – in fact 95% of a cucumber is water! This makes it a really great hydrating snack, and particularly refreshing for your pup on a warm day!

Nutrients

Cucumber is also packed full of nutrients such as vitamins B and C which help support a healthy immune system, as well as vitamin K and calcium which help keep your dog’s bones strong. Cucumber also contains other nutrients that help keep your canine companion healthy. These include potassium, manganese, and copper. It also carries a high quantity of fiber. Fiber is good for keeping your pup’s digestive system healthy too!

Calories

Cucumber is really low in calories and fat, as well as low in salt, meaning it can be used as a healthy reward when training, or as a substitute for dog treats if your pooch is trying to shed some pounds! So, if Fido is following a low-calorie diet, a few slices of cucumber will be fine. For dogs suffering from pancreatitis, this is good news, as you can safely give cucumber without worrying that it will cause a flare-up of symptoms.

Health Benefits

Although cucumber is associated with many health benefits in humans such as reducing inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels, there is no scientific evidence to demonstrate the same in dogs, and your pup should be getting all the nutrition they need from their usual balanced diet. However, a few slices of cucumber here and there is certainly a great treat for your pup!

How Much Can My Dog Eat?

dog waiting for cucumber treats
Always start with a small amount when introducing your dog to a new treat.

Dogs love to crunch on a juicy slice of cucumber, but like with all treats and snacks, it should be fed in moderation, and you should always follow the 10% rule when working out how many treats to give your pup.

Only 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake should be treats, which includes any fruit and veg such as cucumber, as well as any other treats they might be getting. So, portion size will depend on the size and breed of dog, but as a rule a few slices here and there is fine ­—especially as it is so low in calories—but no more.

How Should it be Fed to Dogs?

black dog getting a cucumber treat
Feeding your dog raw cucumbers in small pieces is the safest bet.

Cucumber is best fed to dogs raw, just as we eat it. Always wash fruit and vegetables before feeding them to your pup raw. Vegetable skins can be a source of unhealthy pesticides. You can cut it up into small chunks to use as a training treat or freeze slices to offer to your pup as a summer treat on a warm day!

When you first feed cucumber to a dog, simply offer a small slice, then wait 48 hours to observe for any adverse effects. If they seem well, they can have more cucumber next time!

When is Cucumber Bad?

two dogs eating cucumbers on grass
Cucumbers can give you dog an upset tummy so it’s best to ask your vet beforehand.

There are very few risks associated with feeding cucumber to your dog, however they can have too much of a good thing. Just like with many human foods, too much cucumber can give your pup an upset tummy. This is not usually serious, and usually just some diarrhea and gas. But if the symptoms persist, you should speak to your veterinarian for advice.

Some dogs may struggle to digest cucumber skin, and the skin can also be a source of pesticides and other nasty chemicals. There is also a choking risk if the cucumber is fed in large chunks. Always wash the cucumber first to remove any nasties and slice it thinly before offering it to your pet.

It’s also important to remember that because cucumber is mostly made up of water, overfeeding it without feeding your pup a suitable commercially prepared dog food could lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Are there any dogs who shouldn’t eat cucumber?

Cucumber is fine to give to most dogs, however if your furry friend suffers with a sensitive gut, there’s a chance that cucumber won’t agree with them. Try offering them a very small amount to start with, but if it does set off any tummy troubles, don’t give them anymore and contact your veterinarian for advice.

Always speak to your usual veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog’s diet, especially if they are following any specific diets.

What About Pickled Cucumbers?

bowl of pickles
The high salt content and added ingredients in pickles can cause hypernatremia.

If you’ve ever offered your dog a slice of pickle, you may have noticed him spit it straight back out! The flavor of pickles is not so appealing to our four-legged friends, and they can also be bad for dogs.

Most cucumbers are pickled using a mixture of salt, water, and vinegar. However, sometimes additional ingredients (like onion and garlic) are used to add flavor which could be harmful to canines.

Pickled cucumbers have a high salt content compared to raw cucumber. Dogs don’t need to consume as much salt as us, humans. Too much salt can cause a condition called hypernatremia. This is when dangerous levels of salt build up in their bloodstream. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and seizures, and requires urgent veterinary treatment.

It’s best to avoid feeding pickled cucumbers to dogs, and instead opt for the healthy fresh version!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can dogs eat cucumber skin?

    Yes, dogs can eat cucumber skin. However, dogs can find it hard to digest cucumber skin, so slice it very thinly if serving with the skin on. The skin can also carry pesticides and other chemicals, so wash it thoroughly before feeding to your pet.

  • Can a dog eat raw cucumbers?

    Yes, raw is the best way to feed cucumber to a dog. Feeding a dog raw cucumbers is a safe, healthy, and low-calorie snack, as well as being a tasty way to hydrate.

  • How much cucumber can a dog eat a day?

    Treats, including raw vegetables, should only make up 10% of your pup's daily calorie intake. In practice, most small dogs should have one or two slides of cucumber, whilst most large dogs can have up to an inch of cucumber, sliced or chopped, daily. Remember, all dogs are different, and you should adjust this according to your dog’s needs.

  • Can dogs eat pickled cucumber?

    Pickled cucumbers have a high salt content which can cause dehydration and sickness in dogs if eaten in large quantities. Some pickles have ingredients such as onion or garlic that are highly toxic to dogs, so it is best to avoid feeding pickles to a dog.

  • Does it help with bad breath?

    There are some claims that cucumber can help if your dog has bad breath, however there is no scientific evidence to support this, and the best way to treat bad breath in dogs is through speaking to your veterinarian, who may recommend regular teeth cleaning or dental treatment at the clinic. They may also recommend dog food that will freshen their breath.

Final Thoughts

Yes, absolutely dogs can eat cucumber! A few slices of cucumber here and there can be a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat snack for your pup. As with any new food, remember to feed Fido cucumber in moderation. Too much at once can cause an upset tummy. Cucumber can make for a refreshing treat on a warm day, or just a healthy training reward!

Always wash cucumber before feeding it to your dog, then cut it up into thin slices to avoid choking. Remember not to feed them pickles as they can contain toxic ingredients.

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