From sandwiches to salads, cucumbers are a healthy and refreshing addition to many human meals. But what about your dog? Can dogs eat cucumbers?
Facts about cucumbers
The cucumber (scientific name Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant that belongs to the same family as zucchini, watermelon and squash (cucurbits).
It contains many nutrients that are useful for both humans and some animals and insects. Humans have been eating cucumbers for over 3000 years and they come in different varieties all over the world.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Cucumber?
Usually yes! Sliced or diced cucumbers are a great treat for your dog and can be for you too, but as is the general rule, give your dog cucumbers in moderation. On hot summer days, they can even help keep your dog hydrated due to their high water content. Your dog may find the satisfying crackle and juicy texture of a perfectly ripe cucumber just as exciting as a cookie or a store-bought treat. So, cucumbers are a great, healthy alternative for workout treats.
However, you should be careful with cucumbers from your own garden. These can contain poisonous cucurbitacins (bitter substances).
Can puppies eat cucumbers?
Puppies can eat cucumbers as long as they are already weaned and able to eat solid foods.
However, keep in mind that their digestive system is still developing. You should only feed them in small portions and only as an occasional treat.
If your puppy is still milking, do not give them cucumbers as this can cause an upset stomach.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers for Dogs
First of all, cucumbers are low in calories. You can combine them with an exercise plan to help your dog lose weight without missing out on rewarding treats.
Second, they're a healthier alternative to traditional dog treats, which often consist of additives and artificial flavors.
They are also made up of 96% water. As such, they're a tasty way for the dog to stay hydrated, especially after a walk on a hot day.
Nutrients in cucumbers for dogs
The nutrients in cucumbers are linked to various health benefits for humans. And it's possible that dogs can reap these benefits too.
Cucumbers provide vitamin K and calcium, which can improve joint health and strengthen bones. They even contain a hormone, Cucurbita ficifolia, that is needed by the cells of the pancreas to produce insulin.
It is said to help lower blood sugar levels and stimulate insulin secretion. The fiber and potassium in cucumbers has been linked to heart health.
They are also commonly used in skin treatments for their anti-inflammatory properties.
While these vitamins and minerals are beneficial to your dog, he should still be getting all of the essential nutrients he needs from his dog food. And, as previously mentioned, dogs need protein and fat as the main components of their diet to meet their nutritional needs.
So, are cucumbers good for dogs? Yes, they can be an occasional, healthy, and hydrating treat. But you should feed them to your dog in moderation and not as a substitute for their regular dog food.
Can eating cucumbers be dangerous for dogs?
As with any other delicacy, overeating cucumbers can cause an upset stomach. The skin and seeds of the cucumber can upset a dog's stomach, so removing these parts can help a sensitive dog enjoy this vegetable.
Chewing whole cucumbers can pose a choking hazard. If your dog likes to gobble his food, chop the veggies into a manageable size.
As with any new food, you should start with a small amount of cucumbers to ensure your dog digests them well.
Be careful with cucumbers from your own garden
If you grow cucumbers yourself in the garden, however, you should be very careful. Since the cucumber belongs to the pumpkin family, it can contain cucurbitacins . These are toxic bitter substances. The bitter substances were bred away from commercially available cucumbers. As a rule, there are no longer any cucurbitacins there.
However, if you grow cucumbers, pumpkins and zucchini in your own garden, you should make sure that you use new seeds from the trade every year. If you keep sowing seeds of your homegrown plants, the original properties can eventually come back. Then the vegetables can contain bitter substances again.
Symptoms of poisoning with cucurbitacin (bitter substances)
After ingesting the bitter substances, the dog salivates profusely, causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. When ingesting larger amounts, the nerves are damaged, resulting in drowsiness, disorientation and movement disorders. If the poisoning is not treated, death can occur from circulatory shock.
Can dogs eat raw cucumbers?
Dogs usually eat cucumbers raw because they love the crunch. In addition, all the nutrients and the essentials that make a cucumber so healthy are retained. Many people cook cucumbers for their four-legged friends, but serving them raw is considered the best way to feed them.
Can dogs eat cucumber peel?
Can cucumbers harm dogs if you feed them with the shell intact?
Like most fruits and vegetables, the skin of a cucumber contains the most vitamins and nutrients. However, dogs can have trouble digesting the peel. When serving a cucumber this way, be sure to slice it as thinly as possible.
Cucumbers can have high levels of pesticides on their peel, and pesticides are dangerous for pets to consume. If you give your dog cucumbers as treats, always wash them thoroughly.
And just to be safe, consider peeling the cucumber.
Can dogs eat cucumber seeds?
In some fruits and vegetables, the seeds are toxic to dogs. But with cucumbers there are no such concerns. It is perfectly safe for dogs to eat cucumber seeds as they are just as healthy and nutritious as the rest of the cucumber.
Can dogs eat pickled cucumbers?
Although dogs and cucumbers generally go well together, you should avoid feeding them pickles or pickles. This form of fermented pickle contains sodium and spices that can be very dangerous for your dog.
Can Cucumbers Relieve Bad Breath in Dogs?
Cucumbers are packed with phytochemicals and phytonutrients that can help freshen dog's breath and destroy odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Although they can help with bad breath, cucumbers are not a substitute for toothpaste. Dogs still need to have their teeth brushed regularly, regardless of whether they nibble on cucumbers or not.
How Much Cucumber Can My Dog Eat?
A common recommendation from veterinarians is to follow the 10% rule. Treats, including raw vegetables, should make up 10% of the calories in your dog's diet.
That can mean you can treat your pup to a thin skewer of cucumber on a hot afternoon, while your German Shepherd can get a big scoop of frozen chunks of cucumber.
Fresh cucumbers only contain about 1% sugar by weight, and one cup of chopped cucumbers has about 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 16 calories. This makes cucumbers a good treat for dogs who are on a restricted calorie diet or have diabetes.
As a low-calorie food, cucumbers make great training treats and can be used as a topper on your dog's regular dinner.