As a dog owner, you strive to provide your companion with proper nutrition vital to its overall health and wellbeing. While a box of biscuits may satisfy your dog’s desire for a treat, you may want to feed your pooch a variety of healthy snacks. Cucumbers are one great natural treat for dogs, especially during hot summer months. It is safe for dogs to eat cucumbers, as cucumbers provide ample benefits for dogs. For instance, cucumbers contain essential nutrients and minerals, they are hydrating, and they are a fun treat.
Nutritional Benefits of Cucumbers for Dogs
Cucumbers are rich in nutrients and minerals that a dog’s body systems need. At the same time, cucumbers are low in calories, sodium, fat, and sugar. A half cup of chopped cucumber contains about 8 calories and half a gram of sugar. This size of serving for a dog also provides half a gram of dietary fiber. Cucumbers are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium, both of which are needed by the heart, nerves, and muscles for proper functioning. Potassium helps the body regulate nerve transmission and aids in muscle contraction. This mineral also helps the heart function correctly and the kidneys work properly. Magnesium is used by the body to help transfer energy required for movement. It is also used by the body to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Additionally, it aids in making protein, DNA, and bone.
Cucumbers also contain two key vitamins: vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for healthy bones. It is also needed when the body must repair a wound via blood clotting. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and maintain a healthy immune system. A dog is one kind of animal that can actually create vitamin C on its own. This process naturally takes place in the liver; however, some circumstances may arise that require supplemental vitamin C. Older dogs (or dogs that have been ill) may benefit from extra vitamin C in their diets. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. While it assists the body by removing free radicals that can be harmful to a dog’s health, vitamin C can help support a normal inflammatory response, promoting comfort and mobility.
A Cool Summer Treat
Summer can be one of the best times to feed your dog cucumbers. When the temperatures climb, it is important to provide your dog with ample fresh, cool water. Giving your dog a snack of cucumbers is another way that you can help your pet stay hydrated. Cucumbers have an extremely high water content. When you chop your own cucumbers for a snack to cool down on a hot day, give your dog some too! You will both benefit from the extra intake of water.
To many dogs, cucumbers are a welcomed treat. They are crunchy and quite different from what your dog may be used to. Served plain, cucumbers make great treats and reinforcements for positive behavior when training. You can also go gourmet: pamper your best friend by removing the seeds from cucumber slices and replacing them with peanut butter!
As with any new treat, introduce cucumbers into your dog’s diet slowly. If you notice any reactions, discontinue feeding cucumber to your dog. Choking is a primary concern that owners have about their dogs eating cucumber. Avoid this by cutting them into safe, manageable pieces, never giving the whole cucumber to your dog. Overeating is also a concern. Treats should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily diet, so half a cup of chopped cucumbers won’t fill a dog up in a day. Overfeeding cucumbers to a dog can fill up its stomach making the dog less likely to eat the other food its body needs. Too many cucumbers can also upset a dog’s stomach. Serve treats in moderation as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.