We are all aware of just how tempting human foods can be for our dogs and we love to share with them. Many fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs to eat but not all, so it’s important to know which ones are okay to give your dog and which ones aren’t. Luckily, cucumbers are safe to give your dog, but there are a few precautions you’ll want to take and some things you’ll need to be aware of. Read on to learn more about giving your dog cucumber as a treat.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers for Dogs
Did you know that cucumbers are technically fruits? They come from the same family as the zucchini, some melons, squash, and pumpkins. Cucumbers grow throughout the world and can be found in the produce section of many supermarkets year-round. The good news is that cucumbers are a healthy food for both humans and our canine companions.
They have a high water content, are low in calories, and offer many wonderful health benefits such as Vitamin C, K, and B Vitamins, and a wide variety of minerals like manganese, copper, potassium, and even calcium. Cucumbers also provide a moderate amount of fiber which makes them an excellent way to protect against gastrointestinal issues. Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits that cucumbers can provide for your dog:
- Low calories: cucumbers are high in water content and low in sugar content, which makes this fruit low-calorie. It has only 8 calories in a half-cup serving.
- Water: Cucumbers are 95% water, which gives them great hydrating abilities for your dog to consume in warm weather.
- Fiber: The skin and the rind of cucumbers supply most of the soluble fiber of the fruit. This means that when consumed, it is ale to soak up water while going through the digestive system. This helps aid in the movement of food throughout your dog’s digestive tract and can help improve its stool quality.
- Vitamin C: This is a powerful antioxidant that searches out and eliminates free radicals that could be circulating in your dog’s system. Free radicals can do damage to your dog’s cells if left unchecked. Vitamin C also helps support the immune system by reducing inflammation in the body, fighting off some cancers, and reducing the effects of cognitive aging.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): This regulates your dog’s energy and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Vitamin K: This vitamin aids in blood clotting and coagulation.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): This supports red blood cell generation, hormone regulation, nervous system functioning, and immune response.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): This helps aid in energy production.
- Molybdenum: This is a micro-nutrient that is required for normal cell function. It works to metabolize carbohydrates and helps protect the body against excess copper.
- Manganese: This is a micro-mineral that helps support the metabolizing of both proteins and fatty acids. It also helps support energy production and the role of ligament and bone maintenance.
- Zinc, Calcium, Iron: Each of these is present in trace amounts in cucumbers. They are all beneficial to bone growth and integrity and help to support the functioning of a healthy immune system.
Since cucumbers are so high in water content, the nutrients it contains are not as dense as some other fruits and vegetables like broccoli, strawberries, pumpkin, or blueberries. However, they still offer great health benefits to your dog when consumed in moderation.
Cucumbers Make Natural Breath Fresheners for Your Dog
Did you know that cucumbers may actually help freshen your dog’s breath? They contain phytonutrients and phytochemicals that both work to help freshen your dog’s breath. These work by destroying the odor-causing bacteria that are present in a dog’s mouth. Though cucumbers can make a great natural breath freshener, it’s important to note that they do not make a good substitute for a consistent oral hygiene routine that includes dog-friendly toothpaste.
Are There Any Risks to Feeding My Dog Cucumbers?
There are very few risks when it comes to serving cucumbers to your dog as a treat. The seeds and the skin of the cucumber are both non-toxic to dogs, but there are still a few precautions on how much you should offer them. Any human food that is not a normal part of your dog’s daily diet should not comprise of more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric needs. This includes fruits and vegetables that are low in calories. Your dog’s regular healthy food is specifically formulated to provide your dog with everything he needs nutritionally on a regular basis. Any human snacks you give your dog like cucumbers should only be looked at as an occasional treat to supplement an already healthy, balanced diet.
One thing you’ll want to be aware of is that commercially bought cucumbers are generally coated in wax on the skin. Before serving cucumbers to your dog, you want to wash the cucumber well to remove as much of this wax as possible—that way it is safer for your dog to consume.
Another thing to point out is that because of the high water and fiber content cucumbers have, they may cause gastrointestinal upsets like gas or diarrhea if you give your dog too much at once. If your dog is known for having a sensitive stomach, you might want to steer clear of giving your dog cucumbers as a snack. Or, you can at least be sure to keep an eye on your dog and give him only a small piece to see how he handles it before giving any more.
Dogs that consume milk or dairy products before having a taste of cucumbers may also experience an upset stomach or tummy issues. Many dogs will not have a reaction or intolerance to foods like cucumber, but whenever offering your dog something new, it is always best to start off slow and only feed your dog in small increments. Special care should be taken to look out for signs of an allergic reaction in your dog, like itching, hives, rash, stomach ache, vomiting, or diarrhea. It’s best to consult your vet before incorporating any new foods into your dog’s diet—especially if they have any underlying health issues such as diabetes, or obesity.
As for puppies, they are still developing their immune systems and therefore should not be fed cucumbers unless they are fully weaned and are already safely eating solid foods. Puppies can be very susceptible to stomach aches so if you plan to feed your puppy cucumbers, start off very slowly and only give very small amounts.
Are Pickles Safe for Dogs to Eat?
No. Pickles are a fermented fruit that contain many ingredients such as salts, spices, garlic, or onions, that are toxic to your dog. In this case, it is best to stay away from them and not give any to your dog as they can cause severe upset stomach or illness. Stick with things like fresh, frozen, steamed, or dehydrated cucumbers as a healthy treat for your dog instead. These are healthy ways for your dog to consume cucumbers and do not involve all of the extra ingredients that are toxic.
What Are Some Ways I Can Offer Cucumbers to My Dog?
Cucumbers are enjoyed by dogs for the same reasons that we like them. They’re crunchy, fresh, and have a mild flavor that offers a refreshing boost of hydration—especially when it’s hot out. They make a great treat alternative for dogs since they do not include all of the extra additives and artificial flavors that many commercial dog treats that are available on the market do. With that said, it is still not a good idea to give a dog an entire cucumber, even for a large dog, because they can pose the risk of a choking hazard if they bite off pieces that are too large for them and then gulp it down—which is a common thing for dogs to do.
Fresh cucumber slices would be the safest choice when it comes to serving your dog cucumbers. Simply wash off the cucumber very well to remove any wax that may be coating the skin, and then slice the cucumber into thin slices and serve just a few pieces at a time to your dog. You could also try cutting the cucumber into small cube-shaped pieces if you’d like.
As a summertime snack, cucumbers make a great way to give your dog an extra boost of hydration when needed. You can cut up bite-sized pieces or slices and pack them up to take along with you whenever you’re out and on the go with your dog in the sun. They make great pop-able treats that help your dog stay hydrated when he’s out in the heat and may not always have access to water. Keep in mind though, that it is still important to make sure that your dog does have access to fresh, clean water in the summertime, as cucumbers will not provide all of the water that your dog needs to avoid dehydration.
Cucumbers make a great, tasty snack for your dog to munch on in moderation. They are great for keeping hydrated in the heat and offer many key nutrients that will help your dog maintain its health and wellness. Before offering them to your dog, be sure to clean the skin off thoroughly to remove any excess wax that may be coating it. Always start off small and only offer your dog a few small pieces at a time. If you have any concerns about whether or not you should feed your dog cucumbers, it’s always best to check with your veterinarian beforehand, as they will be able to advise you on what’s best for your dog’s specific needs.
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