Offering up a crunchy texture and fresh flavor, cucumbers are the perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, and soups. They’re also great simply sliced up and served straight. While they’re low in calories and fat, they tout many important vitamins and minerals, as well as a high water content (95%)! As you munch on this fresh food, you may wonder: Can dogs eat cucumbers?
Short Answer: Yes!
What Are Cucumbers Exactly?
Cucumbers belong to the gourd, or Cucurbitaceae, family. Get this: Since they’re grown from flowers and contain seeds, cucumbers are botanically a fruit. However, in the culinary world, they are referred to as a vegetable. Throughout this article, I refer to them as veggies!
There are many different kinds of cucumbers, but the most popular are classified into two groups: slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers are usually larger and thicker-skinned … they’re cultivated to be eaten fresh. Pickling cucumbers, on the other hand, are smaller and are intended for the brine jar. When giving cucumbers to our dogs, we want the slicing cucumbers. That’s the type we’re chatting about in this Food Facts feature. *Avoid feeding your canine companion cucumbers with added salts and sugars.
Cucumber Nutrition Facts
When feeding fresh veggies and fruits, moderation is key. So, if your dog enjoys cucumbers as a treat, giving a few slices is great. But, to keep things simple as we take a look at the nutritional facts, here is a look at what’s inside 1 cucumber (301 g).
According to the U.S. Department Of Agriculture, this crunchy veggie is packed with:
- Calories – 45
- Protein – 1.96 g
- Fat – 0.33 g
- Carbs – 10.9 g
- Fiber – 1.5 g
- Total sugars – 5.03 g
- Calcium – 48.2 mg
- Iron – 0.843 mg
- Magnesium – 39.1 mg
- Phosphorus – 72.2 mg
- Potassium – 442 mg
- Sodium – 6.02 mg
- Zinc – 0.602 mg
- Manganese – 0.238 mg
- Folate – 21.1 µg
- Beta Carotene – 135 µg
- Vitamin A – 15 µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.12 mg
- Vitamin C – 8.43 mg
- Vitamin K – 49.4 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 69.2 µg
Benefits of Cucumbers
- Helps Fido Hydrate – Cucumbers are a whopping 95% water, making a few bites of this veggie the perfect thirst-quenching, hydrating treat. That’s great on a hot summer day.
- Perfect Treat For An Overweight Canine – According to The Association For Pet Obesity Prevention, as of 2018, approximately 56% of dogs in the United States were either overweight or obese. Since they’re low in calories and virtually fat-free, cucumbers are a great treat swap for overweight or obese dogs.
- Great Addition To An Anti-Cancer Diet – Cucumbers are considered to be a good source of phytonutrients (AKA plant chemicals that help protect against disease). Cucurbitacins are one phytonutrient compound found in cucumbers that experts link to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits!
- Promotes Strong Bones – Cucumber is rich in vitamin K, which may help build strong bones.
- Promotes Healthy Joints – Cucumbers contain a mineral called silica, which can help to strengthen a dog’s joints and connective tissues. It may also assist in alleviating joint pain, swelling, and/or stiffness.
- May Promote Regularity – As I mentioned above, cucumbers are a hydrating bite. Staying hydrated is key for bowel consistency and preventing constipation. Plus, cucumbers contain a small amount of fiber, which aids in healthy digestion.
- May Freshen Breath – Cucumbers contain phytochemicals and phytonutrients that are believed to help freshen breath by fighting odor-producing bacteria. With this said, for optimal oral care, you should still brush your dog’s teeth regularly!
When picking out a cucumber to share with your pooch, it’s best to opt for organic, as they do contain a high level of pesticides. Unless you’re sure that your cucumbers are organic, peel them before serving to your dogs.
Before offering cucumber to your dog, make sure to slice it to avoid a choking hazard.
A few ideas for incorporating cucumber into your dog’s diet:
- Mix a few small slices into their main meal to bump up the nutritional value
- Offer small bites as treats during training sessions
- Cut into a spear and freeze for teething puppies to gnaw on
- Thinly slice into rounds and put into a dehydrator to create a crunchy chip to share with Fido
Overfeeding may result in tummy upset. As with any new food, introduce it slowly into your dog’s diet to see how he handles it. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your veterinarian.
Get More Doggy Food Facts
This feature is part of a weekly web series called Food Facts Friday. Every Friday, we share foods that are great for our canine companions. Check out other foods highlighted in this series HERE!