Whether you feed your dog canned dog food, kibble or even homemade food, it’s nice to change things up occasionally. Easy to prepare and full of nutrients, fruit can be a positive addition to your dog’s diet.
As you introduce fruits to your dog, remember to take it slow and feed small amounts to start with, particularly if your pup is unused to human food. Their digestive tracts can take time to adjust to new types of food. Also, while not as fickle as their feline counterparts, dogs often have individual tastes. Not all dogs enjoy fruits; the key is to find the ones that your dog likes.
Benefits of Fruits for Dogs
First of all, fruit is a much healthier alternative to store-bought dog treats. Commercially produced dog treats can be tasty, but tend to be fattening and can be addictive. Fruit has all the juicy deliciousness of a treat, minus the excessive calories. Not only that, fruits can provide your furbaby with much needed vitamins and minerals.
Apart from fruits, certain vegetables can be good for your canine companion, such as kale, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Do note that fruits and vegetables should only be given as a treat or to supplement an otherwise balanced diet – protein and meat should form the main bulk of their diet.
That said, not all fruits are safe for dogs to eat. While some fruits can promote healthy digestion, others can be downright dangerous for our beloved canines.
Let’s start by looking at the fruits that your dog can eat, followed by fruits to avoid at all costs. For a quick overview, there is a table summarizing all there is to know about fruits for dogs.
Fruits Dogs Can Eat
Rich in fiber, potassium, biotin and copper, bananas can be consumed by dogs safely. However, it is best to offer bananas as an occasional treat as they tend to contain a lot of sugar. Frozen bananas are an excellent way to cool down on hot summer days. Just slice them up before freezing. For an added treat that is guaranteed to get your dog’s tail wagging, you can dip bananas in peanut butter.
Pears are a juicy fruit often appreciated by dogs. The crunchiness can be good for your dog’s dental health. To prevent the risk of choking, serve bite sized pieces with both core and seeds removed. Avoid canned pears as these are high in sugar. Instead, ripe fresh pears are the best healthy treat for dogs.
For a low-calorie fruit treat, try offering your dog some sliced cucumber pieces. Cucumbers are 95 percent water, making them the perfect low calorie snack for overweight or less active dogs. One cup of cucumber has less than 20 calories. It also has high levels of vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and copper.
Rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, watermelon slices are a healthy snack dogs are sure to appreciate. Not only that, watermelons are a great way to keep your dog hydrated in hot weather as this fruit has a high water content (92 percent).
Cantaloupe is a mouth-watering treat loved by most dogs. This tasty and refreshing melon contains large amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene, nutrients which are great for eye health. It also has lots of fiber to aid in your dog’s digestion.
Similar to cantaloupe, honeydew is another sweet melon treat well-received by dogs. It has lots of vitamin B, vitamin C and plenty of potassium. As you can tell from its name, honeydew contains a lot of sugar, making this a treat best served in moderation, particularly in overweight dogs.
Many dogs love this sweet and juicy tropical fruit. It contains vitamins A, B6, C and E as well as carotenoids. Do note that the pit can contain small amounts of cyanide, so it is important to remove the pit before giving mango to your dog. Theoretically, the skin is edible but you might want to peel it nonetheless – mango skin does not taste too good and can be tough to digest.
For more tropical goodness, pineapple can be an amazing treat for your pup. Indulgently sweet and easy to chew, pineapple is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. When giving pineapple to your dog, be extra careful to remove all prickly bits including the sharp ‘eyes’. Dogs can enjoy pineapple fresh as it is or if you make your own baked dog treats, add some in.
This juicy berry has a multitude of benefits. High in antioxidants, fiber, as well as vitamins C, B1 and B6, this sweet snack will help keep your pup looking healthy and feeling good. Strawberries also contain malic acid which is known to help whiten teeth. However, it is best not to overindulge as strawberries contain a lot of sugar. Small portions are best.
Another type of berry that dogs can eat is blueberries. These dark blue superfood morsels are amazing for both humans and our canine companions. Packed with antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals, blueberries can be served fresh or frozen for a crunchy treat. Plus, blueberries are small – perfect as a reward during crucial obedience training sessions!
Small, tasty and rich in vitamins, blackberries is a fruity treat loved by most dogs. Compared to strawberries, blackberries are better for dogs as it has less sugar. One cup of blackberries contains just 7 grams of sugar. If you are teaching a dog to catch treats by jumping, blackberries are great for throwing in the air.
Just like blackberries, raspberries are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be safely consumed by dogs. Raspberries are especially good for older senior dogs as they contain anti-inflammatory properties which can help with aging joints. Raspberries do contain xylitol, so it’s best to feed less than a cup at a time.
With more potassium than a banana and high levels of vitamin C, kiwi fruit is an excellent treat for dogs. Slice or dice the kiwi fruit before serving to make it easier to munch on. As the outer skin of a kiwi can be tough, consider peeling the fruit to reduce fibre and make it easier for your dog to digest.
Dogs can enjoy persimmons as an occasional treat. Rich in folic acid, manganese, potassium, and vitamin A, persimmon slices are nourishing and fun to eat. However, it has to be prepared correctly. While the seed or pit is not toxic, it is indigestible. This means that if your dog accidentally swallows a persimmon pit or a whole persimmon (tempting because of its size and colour), it can cause intestinal blockage. Slice the fruit into small pieces and as it is sugary, give a little at a time.
Fruits to Feed with Caution
The following section lists out the fruits that your dog can possibly enjoy, but extra care needs to be taken to prepare the fruits correctly.
In small amounts, oranges can be a refreshing snack for your dog to enjoy. Orange is rich in vitamin C and might be beneficial for the immune system. Not all dogs like the acidic taste of oranges, but if yours is interested, you can offer one or two segments of orange fruit flesh at a time. Remove the skin, pith, and seeds as these parts of the orange contain citrus oils that can irritate your pup’s tummy.
Peach flesh is safe to eat, but be very careful to remove the pit thoroughly. Peach pits contain cyanide and are the perfect size to cause intestinal blockages, so whole peaches should be avoided at all costs. If prepared correctly, fresh peach slices can be a good source of vitamin A and fiber.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away – who hasn’t heard that one before? The health benefits of apples extend to our furry friends as well. Apples are high in fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, while being low in fat and sugar. The crunchiness of apples make them fun to eat and can help clean your dog’s teeth. Just don’t forget to remove the core and seeds before serving apples to your dog as apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide.
Tomatoes can be safely eaten by dogs, but with a few caveats in mind. First of all, avoid unripe or green tomatoes. These contain high amounts of solanine and tomatine, substances that can be toxic for a dog. Next, feed only the ripe part of the tomato fruit. The green parts of the tomato plant such as the stem, vine and leaves should not be consumed by dogs as the solanine content can cause an upset stomach.
In small amounts, figs can be an enjoyable snack for your dog. They are tasty and have high levels of potassium and fiber while being low in calories. However, figs also contain ficin and ficusin; these two enzymes can cause stomach irritation in some dogs. If you are giving figs to your dog, start small with one fig and closely monitor your dog to see if figs are tolerated.
Both coconut oil and coconut meat are great for our furry companions. Coconut contains lauric acid, an anti-inflammatory compound that can help fight infection and promote healing. The fatty acids in coconut can improve your dog’s coat and make it healthy, soft and shiny. One downside of coconut is that it contains triglycerides, a type of bad fat. To enjoy the benefits of coconut without causing stomach upset, bloating or weight gain, feed your dog small amounts of coconut at a time.
This is another fruit that could potentially be dangerous for your dog. The problem with plums lies in the pit. Plum pits contain cyanide, have sharp edges and are large enough to cause obstruction. The pits are also large, relative to the size of a whole plum. Dogs can eat small amounts of soft plum flesh, with pit and skin removed. To avoid any unwanted incidents, store your plums carefully so your dog can’t get into them while you are not home.
Fruits Your Dog Should Never Eat
Some fruits are deathly toxic to your dog but also commonly found in many homes. It is important to be aware of these fruits. Always store these types of fruits safely away from inquisitive canines.
Grapes and raisins
Top of the list of fruits not to give your dog is grapes. Grapes, and their dried counterpart, raisins, are very toxic for dogs. Even a tiny amount of this common fruit can lead to acute kidney failure and can even be fatal in smaller dogs.
Avocados are great for humans but in dogs, this common fruit is best avoided. Avocados contain persin, a substance that is toxic to dogs. This can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and breathing problems in dogs.
Cherry pits contain cyanide, a substance that is bad for dogs. As the fruit is small and most of the fruit is made up of the pit, do not feed cherries to your dog. The pits are also choking hazards and can get stuck in your dog’s bowels, causing intestinal blockage.
Most dogs would not want to eat lemons as the sour taste and citrusy smell is unappealing to them. Lemons and limes also contain phototoxic compounds (psoralens), linalool and limonene – all compounds that are toxic to dogs. To be on the safe side, it is best to keep lemons away from your pup.