Dogs are omnivores by nature and will eat pretty much anything given the chance. As humans, we know that fruit and vegetables are good for us and we may be tempted to think that if it’s good for us, it must be good for our dogs, but that’s not always the case. When it comes to cucumbers though, they are completely fine for dogs to eat and, in fact, they offer some positive health benefits for our precious pooches.
The Benefits of Cucumbers for Dogs
- They are low in sodium and fat and one measuring cup of sliced cucumber has just 16 calories, so it’s a great reward/treat alternative for any dog, but particularly those who could do with losing some weight.
- They have a high water content, so cucumber is a good way of getting extra hydration into your dog, particularly in very hot weather.
- Cucumbers are an excellent source of phytonutrients (chemicals that have protective or preventative properties), so eating them offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Vitamin K – cucumbers contain vitamin K which contributes to the building of strong bones, making them a useful snack for very active dog breeds who put stress on their bones.
- Silica – cucumbers also contain silica, which can help strengthen joints and the connective tissues in the body, so may be useful for dogs with arthritis or similar conditions.
- Cucumbers are helpful for making the liver and kidneys function more efficiently.
- They are also a natural breath freshener – the phytochemicals contained in cucumbers will help to kill off the bacteria in your dog’s mouth leaving his breath fresher.
Do not use cucumbers in isolation to treat any problems that your dog may be experiencing, they are merely a useful additional tool in the arsenal for keeping your beloved pet in tip-top condition.
Essentially, if your dog is interested in eating cucumber, it’s perfectly fine to let him do so, bear in mind though that cucumbers don’t have a particularly high nutrient content (although they do have some nutritional benefits – see above), so they should only be used as a treat (10% of your dogs daily food intake can be in treats, so bear this in mind when you’re thinking about how much cucumber to give your dog). It can also be used as a filler to bulk up your dog’s food without adding extra calories.
Dogs may not like cucumber skin, so when you are first introducing it to your dog offer some pieces with the skin on and some pieces that are peeled and be prepared to peel it if your dog regularly spits the skin out.
How to Feed Cucumber to Your Dog
- Cut cucumber into small cubes and add it to your dog’s food bowl
- Slices of cucumber can be used as treats and rewards while training or walking
- Pop small cubes of cucumber into your pet’s puzzle toy so that he receives healthy rewards as he plays.
Is Cucumber Safe for Puppies?
Cucumber is perfectly safe to feed to puppies, and obviously, if your puppy gets used to cucumber as a treat, rather than shop-bought treats which are higher in calories, etc, you will be setting him up for a healthier lifestyle. Be sure to introduce cucumber slowly to your puppy, observing his reaction. If he has an adverse reaction, seek medical advice immediately. Remember to cut up the cucumber into small pieces to prevent choking.
Dangers To Be Aware Of
- If a dog eats too much cucumber he could suffer from gastrointestinal upsets, these shouldn’t cause any long-term problems, but when introducing cucumber to your dog for the first time, do so slowly and keep an eye out for any unusual reactions. If your dog does display any unusual or extreme reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
- It is possible for dogs to choke on pieces of cucumber, so cut it into manageable pieces (especially if you have a small dog or a dog who has a tendency to gobble his food down without really chewing).
DO NOT feed dogs pickled cucumbers, as they contain added acid, salt and spices that are unnecessary and also potentially harmful to your dog.
It is clear that the benefits of cucumber to dogs make them an excellent alternative to shop-bought treats – particularly for dogs who are active, would benefit from a boost of hydration, or need to lose weight. They are also relatively cheap and easily available. Cucumber is well worth introducing to your dog as soon as possible.