Cucumbers aren’t known to be one of the most flavorful vegetables out there, but when they’re dressed properly, they can be quite delicious. You can pile them on a sandwich or dip them in your favorite salad dressing for a low-calorie snack that’s actually very filling. If your dog is enticed by your crunching, you can share some without any negative side effects.
Are Cucumbers Safe for Your Dog?
Cucumbers are a good snack option for your dog and a much better choice than the chips or crackers you like to munch on. Cucumbers are mostly made of water, so there isn’t anything in a cucumber that could hurt your dog. The skin is loaded with phytonutrients, powerful nutrients that are only found in plants. Cucumbers also contain phytochemicals which kill the bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath in dogs.
On top of these plant-based nutrients and chemicals, there are plenty of vitamins and minerals, too. Cucumbers contain a perfect balance of potassium, magnesium, and fiber, all of which work to regulate blood pressure. The combination of these are good for treating both high and low blood pressure. The silica found in cucumbers is great for helping encourage joint health by strengthening connective tissues. When cucumbers are mixed with carrot juice, the combination has been shown to help alleviate the pain of gout and arthritis because it lowers the level of uric acid in the body.
Finally, cukes contain antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce the damage done to cells by free radicals, thus lowering the risk of certain diseases like arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. Just keep in mind that all of the nutrition your dog requires is found in their quality dog food. While it never hurts to give them foods that add to their basic nutrition, you shouldn’t turn vegetables into anything more than just a treat.
Feeding Cucumber to Your Dogs
Some dogs find cucumbers absolutely disgusting and won’t eat them no matter what you try. If your dog likes them, though, limit how much you’re giving them. As with anything you feed them, give them small amounts and make sure they’re cut into manageable pieces. If your dog is overweight and your vet has put them on a strict diet, you don’t have to cut out their treats entirely. Replacing their commercial dog treats with cucumbers prevents them feeling like they’re being deprived and still allows you to feel like you’re giving them something special.
Just remember that the high water and fiber content of cucumbers will loosen their stool if they’re eating too many. Start small, and don’t ever give them large portions. Peel the skin off for easier digestion, and stop feeding cucumbers if your dog starts having diarrhea or other signs of stomach upset.
Vegetables aren’t considered a necessary part of a balanced diet for dogs, but fed as a special treat, they won’t harm your dog at all. Just avoid seasoning the cucumbers or dipping them in dressing and your dog can safely snack with you.