Cucumbers can help keep human bodies hydrated, while satisfying cravings. The crisp and crunchy green veggie is a great, healthy snack for you and your friends. But are cucumbers just as good for dogs? Some vegetables and fruits that are good for you—like grapes and peppers—can actually cause your pet unnecessary harm. So, where do cucumbers rank on the list? Are they healthy for your pup to munch on, or should you be worried about sharing a slice or two from your salad?
Are Cucumbers Safe for Dogs to Eat?
“There is no downside to giving cucumbers to your pet, that is if they will eat them,” says Dr. Stephanie Liff, medical director of Pure Paws Veterinary Care of Clinton Hill and Hell’s Kitchen. Some dogs may not be interested in the garden vegetable, but if your dog appears to want a bite, know that cucumbers are not only non-toxic to your dog, but may actually benefit his health in some unexpected ways.
Benefits of Cucumbers for Dogs
“Cucumbers are high in water content, so feeding him a few slices can be a good way to provide him with extra hydration,” says Liff. “This can be beneficial if your dog otherwise does not drink much, or needs excess water in his diet.”
A great training snack to take with you on long walks or to have as a treat outside on a hot day, cucumbers can reward your pet with a desirable taste, a boost of hydration, and won’t tack on the calories that other cookies and dog treats have.
How to Feed Your Dog Cucumbers
While they contain a good amount of water, “Cucumbers don’t have a high nutrient content,” explains Liff. “I’d recommend giving them as a snack or as a filler if the pet is on a diet and needs low calorie options to add bulk to his food.” Consider slicing up a cucumber and replacing his usual cookie or training treat with a few fresh slices, or chop up a cucumber and add a handful of pieces to his food bowl.
You may love to treat your pet to little rewards throughout the day, so balance the not-so healthy options with a beneficial, low calorie substitute like cucumbers—you may even find that your dog prefers a cucumber slice to his typical sugar-filled cookie or treat.
Make sure to consult your veterinarian before feeding your dog any new foods.
Caitlin Ultimo is a writer and editor who has been published on PetMD. Her work specializes in pet, family and beauty writing.