With more and more of us trying to eat healthily nowadays, it makes sense that we’re similarly trying to help our pets get some good nutrition in them.
Of course, the differences between how dogs digest things and how people absorb nutrients means that it can sometimes be confusing knowing what our beloved furry friends can and can’t have.
With that in mind – can dogs eat cucumbers? Let’s find out.
Are cucumbers good for dogs?
Absolutely! Although you are quite right to ask – some of the things that pose a genuine toxic risk to dogs, like grapes and avocados, are foods that we as human beings not only enjoy, but encourage one another to eat.
A conscientious dog owner always does his or her homework, and with that being so, you’ll likely be reassured to know that cucumbers are indeed more than a healthy addition to your dog’s diet.
That being said, they are better approached as a supplement to your pet’s provisions rather than a replacement for anything.
That’s because, as you likely know through munching on them yourself, cucumbers are more or less made up of water for the most part.
They’re especially refreshing on a hot day for this reason, or to top up the reserves of a pooch in desperate need of a drink.
For instance, if you’re out far from home having lunch and your dear sweet dog is looking thirsty, you can alleviate a touch of that by tossing him or her a cucumber slice from your sandwich.
Even the most finicky dog will likely gulp it down gratefully.
Remember though, the cucumber is largely a flavourless and perhaps uninteresting kind of food, certainly in comparison to the kind of meals your dog usually eats.
You’ll certainly have no luck making dinner for your dog with them, not that cucumbers should be used as anything except an addition or supplement to a meal.
But as you likely already know, your dog’s going to be sitting and staring optimistically at you if you’re eating a bacon sandwich rather than a crisp garden salad.
As such, if you’re looking to rather seriously slip some cucumber slices into your dog’s diet, you’re certainly not putting him or her at risk in doing so – but might find it a bit of a tough idea to sell them on.
Health benefits of cucumbers for dogs
As we have already touched on, the water content of cucumbers is very high. This makes them highly hydrating, and adds to their refreshing texture.
That alone already makes them much more appealing and healthy than many other ways to treat your dog to a snack.
However, the slightly tougher outer skin of the cucumber is also a good source of fibre for dogs – not the best compared to some other, more hardy fruit and vegetables, but certainly nothing to overlook.
Likewise, there are vitamins in cucumbers that help boost the immune system and give a lovely glossy glimmer to your dog’s coat.
If you have a dog in need of extra hydration for medical reasons, such as being later in life and finding water no longer does the trick, a few slices of cucumber can do the trick nicely.
Similarly, if your dog simply isn’t as interested in his or her water bowl as you know they really ought to be, cucumber can be a helpful way to boost their hydration.
Likewise, if stored correctly when you’re out and about, cucumber slices can be very refreshing to your dog if you’re training together in very hot weather.
There’s no weight on your conscience either, as there aren’t any calories or sugar levels to worry about.
With all this in mind though, keep in the back of your head that your dog doesn’t derive a great deal of nutritional value from cucumbers overall.
After all, they’re quite light and watery, and while they offer a number of benefits, there are other more robust options to lean on for a longer term solution if you’re looking to supplement your dog’s diet.
However, for those dog owners feeling concerned about their dog’s weight, cucumbers can be a good treat to swap your original snacks out for.
Not only is the calorie value of cucumbers low, but they’re high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities that help your pooch feel shiny and new.
If your dog is somewhat reluctant to eat cucumbers, or keeps leaving them in his or her bowl in favour of something more interesting, consider dicing them very finely, or hiding them in his or her toys to find.
By either smuggling cucumbers into your dog’s diet, or reinforcing the idea that they are treats worth being earned and sought out, you can help to train your dog to view them better, and enjoy them more.
How many cucumbers can a dog eat daily?
Dogs really won’t get anything worthwhile out of eating even the equivalent of a whole cucumber in a day – and definitely wouldn’t find a need for more than one.
Serving dogs whole cucumbers rather than slices of cucumber is generally considered a bad idea, no matter how strong their jaws or teeth might be.
That’s because cucumber chunks are pretty slippery, and could slide down the wrong way and cause a choking hazard to your pet.
Depending on the size of your dog, consider adding no more than five to eight slices of cucumber to their meals if you’re keen on getting this food and its benefits into his or her diet.
That way, fussy dogs won’t feel too put out by this sudden new ingredient in their dinner, and less fussy dogs likely won’t even notice the difference in texture.
And of course, as with any new food, always be patient and supportive with your dog when they’re experiencing cucumber for the first time.
This is especially true of young dogs or puppies – remember, even if a dog had had the chance to encounter a cucumber in the wild, it would be in whole rather than sliced form.
As with anything, there can be too much of a good thing. Feeding your dog cucumbers to excess can make them suffer some nasty feelings in the tummy – intestinal discomfort, and maybe a spot of wind or burps.
Talking of which, one variety of cucumbers that should never be shared with your dog are pickled cucumbers.
These are stored in jars with lots of additives, especially salt – and while not immediately dangerous to your dog, they definitely lose many of their health benefits through this means of preservation.
Stick with fresh and sliced cucumber for your dog, and you can’t go far wrong.
Remember, your furry friend’s digestive system is very different indeed to your own, and what’s good for us in a certain amount is somewhat excessive as far as dogs are concerned.
Luckily, finding the right balance here isn’t hard.
What to do if your dog eats a cucumber
Every dog owner has been through the ordeal of confronting a dog who has got into some food he or she shouldn’t have.
Or perhaps instead, someone well-meaning but less versed in how to look after a dog might be offering things to your pet you’d rather they didn’t.
Maybe instead your dog has simply helped themselves to the rubbish that’s spilled outside? However it’s come about, if your dog is eating cucumber and you haven’t planned for it, there’s nothing to worry about.
After all, as we have just discussed, your dog only stands to gain some hydration, vitamins and a smidgen of fibre from the experience.
The only thing to watch for, if your dog is wrestling with the cucumber whole, is to make sure no errant chunks of it ping down their gullets as they’re gnawing it down.
Cucumbers can be slippery customers, as your dog is no doubt learning throughout this whole process.
Stick by their side in case they run afoul of their own big appetites here, but ideally any cucumbers your dog chances across ought to be cut for their convenience.
Nonetheless, your dog isn’t likely to find much fulfilling about the experience. As we have touched upon, the cheeky pooch isn’t going to find much nutritional fulfilment in a cucumber alone, and it might just cause some tummy ache and not much else.
Many people have come to count on cucumbers as an addition to their meals that promises a burst of quick hydration and a good dose of nutrients and vitamins.
It’s the same story for dogs nowadays too, who can also benefit from the fibre in the outer skin of the cucumber, and the antioxidants present throughout it.
Dogs ought to be fed cucumber in slices or grated in shavings that can be scattered into their regular meals if they’re less keen on trying them for themselves – they don’t offer much nutrition, but are a healthy snack on a hot day.