Can Cats Eat Pickles? 6 Full Explanations

Cats are safe to eat pickles. Therefore, your cat won’t have an adverse reaction if it steals a slice of pickle from your lunch. Though they may be able to eat pickles, that doesn’t mean they necessarily should.

The amount of salt used in pickling is substantial. This means that pickles contain a lot of salt. Eating too many pickles in a short period of time can cause problems, and this is true even for humans.

It’s the same with cats. However, because of their diminutive size, even a moderate amount can become problematic. However, most people don’t have any problems after being exposed to large amounts of sodium all at once. Long-term exposure is the real concern here.

Pickles may also be harmful to cats due to the presence of other ingredients. Some pickles are simply cucumbers in brine, while others have added flavorings like garlic, which is harmful to cats. If your cat ever eats a pickle by accident, you should check the label carefully for the full list of ingredients.

Can Cats Eat Pickles?

Pickles are not safe for cats to eat.

You’re probably wondering why cats can eat cucumbers but not pickles, since cucumbers are the main ingredient in both. Pickled cucumbers are not the same thing as fresh cucumbers. Pickles add flavor where cucumbers fall short. Pickles have a complex flavor that ranges from salty and sour to sweet.

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Why Is Sodium Dangerous?

The high sodium content of pickles is the main reason why cats shouldn’t eat them. Sodium is harmless and cannot cause any harm to any animal. The higher body mass of humans allows us to consume more food than cats. However, what we consider to be a moderate amount of sodium is actually quite high for cats.

Too much sodium in a cat’s diet can be harmful. Because of its electrolyte status, sodium regulates the body’s fluid balance. Sodium is essential for life because without it, your body would be unable to move water around.

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However, there is a danger in consuming too much sodium. For instance, high blood sodium levels (hypernatremia) are a real possibility.

Increased thirst is one of the first symptoms of this condition. The cat is likely to become severely dehydrated. After that, they might become disoriented because their brain isn’t getting the fuel and hydration it needs. Finally, if the problem is not treated, coma and seizures can develop.

Even if a cat eats a lot of pickles, it probably won’t consume enough sodium to cause this. For this reason, restricting your cat’s access to pickles and pickle juice is crucial.

The good news is that if your cat does contract this illness, it can be easily treated. Seek immediate veterinary attention, and your cat may be stabilized through the administration of fluids. If the condition is caught and treated early on, it rarely has long-lasting consequences.

pickled cucumbers

Other Ingredients

Cucumbers and a pickling solution are not usually all that goes into making pickles. Instead, many use garlic and other ingredients toxic to cats for flavoring.

Though other allium species plants can also cause a reaction, garlic is one of the more dangerous foods a cat can eat.

One gram of garlic per five pounds of body weight is considered toxic. Pickles contain too much garlic for your cat to eat in one sitting. Nonetheless, it’s not impossible.

Furthermore, even trace amounts of garlic can trigger other problems. The effects will be felt more quickly in smaller cats. Kittens, who may weigh less than 5 pounds at birth, are especially vulnerable.

Garlic poisoning commonly begins with gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The body’s attempt at eliminating the poison.

After the garlic has been digested for a while, you may feel tired, have trouble breathing, have a faster breathing rate, and a faster heart rate. Pale gums are a sign of low red blood cell counts, which can be caused by the blood-thinning effects of garlic.

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The cat will eventually go into a coma and collapse due to this issue. If this happens, it’s time to visit the vet.

The severity of garlic poisoning and the time since ingestion affect the course of treatment.

The veterinarian may attempt to induce vomiting in newly-fed cats in order to expel the garlic. A “wash” of the cat’s stomach may be necessary to remove the toxins.

Furthermore, supportive therapy including intravenous fluids and oxygen will be administered. Garlic poisoning can only be treated with time. Instead, the treatment centers on halting the digestive process before the garlic can do any harm.

pickled cucumber in a jar

Are Cucumbers Toxic to Cats?

The cucumber itself is not harmful to felines. A cat could safely consume cucumber. Because they are not pickled in salt, their salt content is not a concern.

Similarly, garlic isn’t a common addition to cucumbers. (Though if they are, the garlic will make the cat sick.)

However, cucumbers still aren’t the healthiest food for a cat. As obligate carnivores, cats can only survive on a diet rich in meat. They have evolved to feed on captured prey, so cucumbers are not in their diet.

Cats can benefit from eating small amounts of certain fruits and vegetables. These are beneficial, but not due to their macronutrient content, but rather due to the high levels of essential vitamins and minerals they contain.

However, unlike tomatoes, cucumbers are low in nutrients and high in water content. Cucumbers do have some nutritional value, but they are not nearly as nutrient-dense as other available foods.

As a result, they shouldn’t be part of a cat’s regular diet. Vegetables with a higher concentration of nutrients are preferable if you want your cat to eat them.

The fact that pickles contain cucumbers is not why cats shouldn’t eat them. It is not advised that cats eat them, but they are safe for consumption.

cucumbers for pickle

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Pickles?

To begin with, it’s highly unlikely that your cat will show any enthusiasm for your pickles. Consequently, pickles probably aren’t a major threat to your cat.

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But if you catch your cat eating pickles behind your back, you should monitor it closely for signs of intoxication like dizziness and nausea. Possible signs of salt poisoning include these.

If you’re unsure whether or not your cat needs emergency care, your vet can help you decide.

What About Homemade Pickles?

Of course, if you make your own pickles and they turn out to be too salty or too garlicky for your cat, you have an out. What do you think?

It might be fine as long as the pickles are made without any added salt, onion, or garlic. Vinegar is safe for cats to ingest, according to research conducted by PetNet.

Your homemade pickles should be safe for your cat to eat as long as you don’t add any salt, garlic, or onion to the pickling liquid.

Can Cats Eat Pickles?

The safety of cucumbers and vinegar has been established; the only remaining concern is the potential danger of the dill. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there, too! The ASPCA classifies dill as “non-toxic” for feline consumption.

Your cat can safely enjoy a few bites of homemade pickles made with cucumbers, vinegar, and salt. However, you might not enjoy pickles if they are unsalted.

The Bottom Line

Cats shouldn’t eat pickles because most of them are toxic. Pickles aren’t generally a cat-safe snack because they contain too much salt for your kitty and often contain garlic and onions for flavor, both of which can be toxic to cats.

However, if you want to spare your cat the anguish of a trip to the vet, you can make homemade pickles without salt, garlic, or onion.

Don’t be offended if your feline family member turns up his or her nose at your handiwork because it contains vinegar or acid.

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