While fruit may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of healthy treats for your dog, some are safe with a few modifications. Others should be avoided. Here, our Wisconsin Dells vets share which types of fruits are safe to feed your pooch.
Fruit: A Dog's Sweet Treat
As omnivores, dogs need a combination of meat and veggies in their diets. Fortunately, you'll find all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive in modern dog food, which means you usually won't need to worry about supplementing their diets. That said, it's worth considering offering fruit to your dog as a treat.
Always keep in mind that no more than 10% of any dog's diet should consist of treats. If you plan on adding fruit to the mix, this means you may have to cut back on other treats so you don't end up with a pooch that's inadvertently overfed.
How to Introduce New Foods
Introduce any new food gradually to find out whether your dog will tolerate the food well, or if she'll experience any gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. We recommend introducing just one kind of fruit at a time, giving them just a piece or two a day to watch for any negative reactions.
Cut any fruit into small pieces and remove rinds, seeds or pits before giving your pup a bite, as these fruit components often contain toxins that can make dogs feel unwell, or in some cases trigger a health issue that needs emergency veterinary care.
What Fruit Can Dogs Eat?
Your dog may enjoy these fruits as a great option for a treat on a summer (or any other) day:
- Strawberries: Numerous dog owners have asked us, 'Can dogs eat strawberries?' Fresh or frozen strawberries make an excellent treat. Plus, they're great for the immune system.
- Blueberries: Many dog parents also wonder, 'Can dogs eat blueberries?' A good source of fiber and Vitamin C, this fruit is also rich in antioxidants. Frozen blueberries can make for a delicious summer snack.
- Apples: This fiber-rich fruit is low and fat and may be a great option for overweight or geriatric pets whose metabolisms have slowed down. They also contain Vitamins A and C to help maintain healthy bones and tissue. Remember to offer apples in moderation and be sure to remove cores and seeds first, as these are toxic for dogs.
- Pineapple: Folate, zinc and other minerals and vitamins in pineapples can support a robust immune system and aid digestion. While your dog shouldn't eat this sugar-rich fruit every day, pineapple is a good occasional treat as long as the spiky skin and hard core are removed before they chow down.
- Watermelon: Since they consist of mostly water, watermelon is a great option to keep your pet hydrated through the hotter months. They also have the added benefit of being vitamin-rich.
- Mango: This vitamin-packed fruit is a great treat for dogs - as long as it's cut into small pieces and the skin and core are removed.
- Pear: Rich in vitamin C and fiber, pears should have their seeds and core removed before they're fed to your dog.
- Cantaloupe: This fruit may help to alleviate any inflammatory issues your dog may be experiencing. Cut the fruit into small, manageable pieces and remove the seeds and skin before serving it to your pup.
- Apricots: With their fleshy fruit, apricots can make a great treat for dogs. They are rich in potassium and contain beta-carotene, which can help fight cancer. Make sure to remove the leaves, stem and pit.
Can Dogs Eat Fruit Snacks?
While fruit snacks can be an occasional yummy treat for our children, dogs should never eat them as they are packed with calories, fats, water, starch and sugar (they are actually generally made of refined sugar), so not safe or healthy for pets. Many also contain synthetic color dyes. They may be cleverly marketed and shaped like fruit, but these sweet, chewy gummy candies are neither fruit nor a healthy snack.
Fruits That May Be Unsafe For Your Dog
- Avocado: Avocados have an extremely high fat content which can cause some dogs to develop pancreatitis or an upset stomach, so they typically don't make great treats. The pit should never be fed to a dog.
- Banana: Bananas are a good source of potassium but are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Because of this bananas should only be given to dogs sparingly. A small slice is okay for an occasional treat.
- Blackberries & Raspberries: Blackberries and raspberries are low in sugar, contain fiber and vitamin C, and have anti-inflammatory properties that make them great for older pets. However, they should only be given in small quantities as they contain trace amounts of a sweetener called xylitol which can be fatal to dogs in large quantities.
- Tomatoes: While the ripe fruit isn't toxic to dogs it commonly causes stomach upset and should typically be avoided.
Fruits To Never Feed Your Dog
- Cherries: Cherry pits, stems, and leaves contain cyanide, which is poisonous and potentially fatal if consumed in high enough quantities. Cherry pits can also get stuck in a dog's intestinal system and cause blockages.
- Grapes: Grapes are highly toxic to dogs and can cause serious kidney damage that can lead to acute (sudden) kidney failure, which can be fatal.
- Lemons & Limes: While not toxic, lemons and limes can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs and should be avoided
- Wild berries: It is always better to err on the side of caution as many wild berries are poisonous to dogs.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.