Shar Pei Dog looking at a cucumber.

Can Dogs Eat Cucumber? Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 10th January 2024

Fresh Greek salad, creamy tzatziki, or just plain, we love cucumber around here. But should your dog be having this crunchy veggie? Before giving in and sharing a bite, have a look at what the experts have to say about it!  


Can Dogs Eat Cucumbers?

Yes! Cucumbers don’t have any compound that is toxic for dogs. This means that if your pup got into your garden cucumbers or you slipped them a piece at dinner, they should be alright.

Of course, if your dog has never eaten cucumber and they tried it for the first time, it’s important to keep an eye on them.

Related: What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

Although dog food allergies are relatively uncommon, they do happen and sometimes they can be life-threatening. Whenever your dog tries a new food, keep an eye out for mood changes, excessive salivation, digestive discomfort, gas, diarrhoea, vomiting and lethargy. If your dog shows any of these after eating cucumber, take them to the vet. It probably means they are sensitive or allergic, and a vet should asses them ASAP.


Benefits Of Cucumber For Dogs

You might be wondering if cucumbers are as healthy for dogs as they can be for humans. Although dog-specific research on the subject is scarce, we found some interesting studies that show some benefits:

  • Could improve hydration: Keeping your dog hydrated is essential to their health. Especially in summer, only 10 to 12% dehydration can be fatal for your dog [1]. Cucumbers, like melon and watermelon, are primarily water. This makes them a great treat year-round, especially if your dog tends to avoid drinking enough water.
  • Might improve calcium absorption: These veggies are surprisingly rich in vitamin K since a cup provides more than half of your pup’s daily needs! Vitamin K is essential to help your dog’s body absorb calcium and create strong bones. This means that for puppies and older dogs, the little vitamin K boost from cucumbers could help them build sturdy bones.
  • Lower chances of cancer: This vegetable is full of antioxidants and magnesium. According to several recent studies [2], antioxidant-rich foods can significantly reduce your dog’s chances of suffering from chronic conditions like cancer.
  • Help lower diabetes chances: Although researchers aren’t sure about the exact mechanisms, adding cucumbers to mice’s diets was shown to help stabilise blood sugar [3]. This might also apply to dogs! Of course, cucumbers should be considered as a preventative: if your pup has been diagnosed with diabetes, talk to your vet about their medication regime!

Can Eating Cucumbers Be Dangerous To Dogs?

Although cucumbers don’t naturally have compounds toxic to dogs, researchers do recommend caution with these issues:

  • Cucumber skin and peels: Cucumber skin on its own poses no threat to dogs. Nevertheless, the outer past is the one in contact with all the chemicals and pesticides used during growing. If eaten in large quantities, pesticides could be a threat to your dog’s health. To fix this, the easiest option is to either peel before eating or only get organic cucumbers.
  • Loose stools: This veggie is high in cucurbitacin, a compound only found in the Cucurbitaceae family. While not dangerous, this compound is mildly toxic and has a laxative effect. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or eats high amounts of cucumber, it could cause discomfort and diarrhoea. The symptoms will likely subside as soon as you stop giving them cucumber and their regular diet is resumed.

PRO TIP: If your dog has had mild diarrhoea for more than 24 hours without signs of improvement, it’s time to get them to the vet. Although most times diarrhoea will solve itself, more than a few hours with it can put your dog at risk of dehydration.


How To Give Cucumber To A Dog

Step 1. Choose the right one

Only give human-grade cucumbers to your dog. Wild varieties of “bitter cucumbers” (sometimes used for pickling) have a higher cucurbitacin content. This compound is mildly toxic and will likely cause digestive troubles.

If you don’t know whether a cucumber is bitter, just try it: if it has a bitter aftertaste, don’t give it to your dog!

Step 2. Peel & cut

Although cucumber peel is rich in fibre, it’s also in contact with the most pesticides and germs. As a general rule, peeling the cucumber before giving it to your dog is your best option.

If you’d rather not peel it, go with organic cucumbers. Pesticides approved for organic farming are generally safer and used in minimal amounts.

Step 3. Cook

This is an optional step, but it’s worth it if your dog has a sensitive stomach. Raw cucumbers (like most raw veggies) can be hard to digest for many dogs. Lightly cooking cucumbers before giving them to your dog will make them easier to digest and avoid excess gas.

Step 4. Offer small bites

Cooked or not, only offer bite-sized cucumber pieces to your dog. Choking is a constant risk with dogs, so it’s best to keep your bases covered and stick to smaller pieces.

Step 5. Don’t be too insistent

What to do if your dog doesn’t like cucumber? If they are rejecting your little treats, we recommend letting it go. Although they can have some health benefits, cucumbers are by no means a must in your pup’s diet.

Sometimes, dogs refuse human foods that will cause indigestion (not always!). So, if your dog doesn’t want to eat cucumber, don’t insist. They can get their micronutrients elsewhere!

Step 6. Keep it occasional

Even if they are a veggie, plain cucumbers should be considered a treat. Don’t give cucumber pieces more than 2 or 3 times a week, even less often if your dog has a sensitive stomach. Remember that your dog’s nutritional needs should be filled through a consistently balanced diet, and cucumbers (or other treats) should be kept for rewards or to spice up their diet.


Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering if your dog can eat cucumber, go ahead and give them a small piece! This crunchy veggie could be a great low-calorie option for your dog, especially if they like the texture. Of course, always remember that it’s a treat, and cucumber should never replace full meals.

Has your pup ever tried cucumber? Did they like it? Let us know in the comments below!

Are you wondering if your dog can eat other common foods? Check out our full list below:

References

  1. Dogs Health Coach. Dehydration in dogs, https://doghealthcoach.com/health/dehydration-in-dogs/
  2. Lall et al. (2016). Dietary flavonoid fisetin for cancer prevention and treatment. Molecular nutrition & food research, 60(6), 1396–1405. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27059089/
  3. Seung et al. Cucurbitacin B Induces Hypoglycemic Effect in Diabetic Mice by Regulation of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Alpha and Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 via Bitter Taste Receptor Signaling. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.01071/full

Eloisa Thomas


Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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