What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?

It is quite common for people to start treating their dogs as part of the family and this often extends to the food they are fed. With the best intentions, dogs are often given treats, leftovers or complete meals that consist of the same food that their owners eat. While this might seem like a good idea, not all foods that we consume are good for dogs and some are downright dangerous. Just because the food is healthy or good for us does not necessarily make it suitable for man’s best friend.

Dogs are carnivores and although they have been domesticated for hundreds of years, they still digest food differently to the way in which we do. Having said that, they are not pure carnivores and many wild dogs are part omnivores.

Incorrect food, particularly fruits, fed to dogs can cause minor irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, long–term health issues and possibly even death. While the intentions are generally to give them variety in their diet and improve their health, you could be doing more harm than good.

Most pet owners are aware that chocolate is dangerous for dogs as it is toxic to them. Other foods harmful to dogs include onions, mushrooms, avocado and mushrooms, amongst others.

Fruit and vegetables, which we consider essential for our health, is one of the biggest problems. While some are perfectly safe, others are a lot more dangerous. It is important to know which are safe and which should be avoided.

We all know that fresh fruit and vegetables contain important minerals, vitamins and nutrients so we are not saying avoid them altogether. It is simply a case of know those that are good for dogs and those that are not.

The other benefit of introducing fruits to your dog’s diet is that they are not only nutritious but also low in fat. Many commercial dog treats are either low in nutritional content or high in calories, or both. The addition of the right fruits in moderation will have health benefits for your furry friend.

If and when you do decide to introduce the good fruits to your dogs, start off slowly and do so in moderation. This will allow the dog to adapt to the change in diet. You will also be able to monitor them to see if any do have any negative side effects. Some fruits that are generally considered healthy for dogs might cause an allergic reaction or simply not agree with your dogs. By introducing them gradually and one at a time, you should be able to see if this is the case and avoid those particular fruits in future.

Another important thing to remember is to wash the fruit thoroughly, remove all inedible skins and rinds and any pips or seeds. Organic fruit is always preferable as it is free of external toxins and higher in nutrients and vitamins. Always ensure fruit is ripe to avoid upset stomachs. Other benefits of the correct fruits are healthy enzymes and antioxidants. Be cautious with diabetic dogs as many fruits are high in sugar.

The best way to prepare the fruit is to pulverize it and mix it in with other foods.

Fruit that is not harmful to dogs

  • Apples are low in fat and contain fiber and vitamins A and C which is beneficial to your dog. Be sure to remove the core and all the seeds.
  • Apricot can also safely be fed to dogs.
  • Bananas contain fiber, vitamins and potassium. In moderation, they make a good treat for your dog.
  • Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries, again in moderation, are a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Mangoes and cantaloupe are both beneficial as they low in calories and high in vitamin content and fiber. They tend to be high in sugar so use sparingly. Do not forget to remove the pit.
  • Oranges are packed with vitamin C and perfectly safe for dogs. Do remove the skin and seeds, however.
  • Peaches and pears (fresh, not tinned) are also good for dogs but the pit must be removed as this is harmful to dogs.
  • Pineapples peeled and cut into chunks provide fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They also have an enzyme known as bromelain which aids in the absorption of protein.
  • Watermelon with the outer rind removed will provide the dog with potassium and vitamins A, B-6 and C. The high water content also helps keep the dog hydrated on hot days.

Fruit that is harmful to dogs

  • Cherries are toxic to dogs due to the presence of cyanide in the fruit. It will cause damage to the cellular oxygen transport and can have serious consequences to the health of the dog. If your dog does consume cherries, look out for symptoms such as red gums, breathing difficulty and dilated pupils. If you suspect the dog has eaten cherries and these symptoms appear, consult your vet.
  • Grapes are another fruit to avoid as they are toxic to all dogs. The consumption of grapes can lead to kidney failure which is a very serious condition.
  • Tomatoes, yes they are fruit, are also potentially harmful, particularly the green parts of a tomato. They are not extremely toxic in small quantities but rather avoid them altogether to be safe.
  • All citrus fruits will cause unpleasant side effects so avoid limes, lemons, and grapefruits.

The idea of feeding fruits to dogs is rather controversial. Provided you follow the guidelines above and avoid the dangerous fruits, feeding your dog fresh fruit in moderation will provide many health benefits. Always be sure to start slowly and monitor the dog closely to see if they suffer from any negative side effects.

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