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Can Dogs Eat Relish? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on June 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Relish

Can Dogs Eat Relish? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

BVM BVS MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Most dogs are not picky when it comes to what they are eating. They’ll scarf down almost anything that a human companion offers them, and they love rummaging through the garbage for scraps or snatching a piece of food found on the ground at the park. 

Relish is something that your pup might seem interested in when you’re cooking burgers and hotdogs during a backyard barbecue on a warm summer day. Eating relish is similar to eating a pickle. Both products are made of cucumbers, which happen to be healthy snacks for dogs. However, both relish and pickles have added ingredients that aren’t the healthiest for canines. 

So, can dogs eat relish? Yes, they technically can, and a tiny amount of relish occasionally is unlikely to do any harm. However, the regular consumption of relish is not a good idea for a dog. Here are frequently asked questions about the topic and their factual answers.

Why Isn’t Relish a Great Food Option for Dogs?

The main ingredient in relish is cucumbers, which are not bad for dogs on their own. However, the other ingredients typically found in relish, especially the store-bought kind, shouldn’t be a part of your dog’s diet. Most types of relish found on grocery store shelves include a variety of spices and herbs that may not be suitable for your pup. 

For example, onion and garlic (even the powdered kinds) are toxic to dogs and are included in most home-made recipes.  These ingredients can cause the breakdown of a dog’s red blood cells causing anemia and weakness and so should be avoided at all costs. Also, most relish recipes have a high salt content, which can disagree with your pup’s system. 

Sweet relish is full of sugar, which can cause problems like weight gain in dogs. So, unless you scour the ingredients list and ensure that no added sugars, preservatives, salt, garlic, or onion are in the relish (which is unlikely), it’s best to keep relish away from your dog. A small amount of relish licked off the floor or table shouldn’t be a problem (unless it contains garlic or onion) but it isn’t useful for your dog’s overall health.

If your dog has eaten any relish that you know contains onion and/or garlic, it is important to make an appointment to see your vet immediately.

Homemade Sweet Pickle Relish in a Bowl
Image By: Liudmyla Chuhunova, Shutterstock

Are Any Types of Relish Okay for Dogs to Enjoy?

No types of relish are necessary or beneficial for a dog’s diet so it’s best to simply keep this condiment away from your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Pickles?

Pickles are prepared much in the same way that relish is. They start as cucumbers, but then many spices, seasonings, herbs, salts, and other ingredients are added, and these don’t have a healthy place in any canine’s diet. Therefore, while there is no need to panic if your pup eats a pickle off the floor, pickles should be treated like relish and kept away from your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Cucumbers?

Unlike relish and pickles, cucumbers can be healthy additions to your dog’s diet when served occasionally as snacks and/or treats. For one thing, cucumbers are hydrating, which is great on warm days. They also have various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help contribute to your dog’s overall good health. The fiber found in cucumbers can even help keep the digestive tract moving in the right direction. 

To serve a cucumber to your pup, wash it well, and then cut it into thin slices or small bite-sized chunks. If your pup likes cucumber, you can consider using cucumber slices for training instead of commercial treats.  They are much less calorific and the water in them will help to hydrate your dog during training.

relish with pickled gherkins, bell pepper and onion, Swedish cuisine
Image By: Chatham172, Shutterstock


Relish is not the best food choice for your dog, but the main ingredient (cucumber) is an okay option as a snack or treat. If your pup eats a bit of relish that gets dropped on the kitchen floor, no problems should arise as long as the relish doesn’t contain onions or garlic.

If onions or garlic feature on the ingredients list of your relish, call your vet immediately.  If your dog eats a whole jar of relish (free of onion or garlic), it’s a good idea to call your vet for advice and keep an eye out for signs of distress.

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Featured Image Credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock

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