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Can dogs eat fruit? While a fresh, balanced diet comes first, there's usually room and demand for a few additions to your dog's day. However, if you're going to be feeding treats, it's best to know exactly what's in them, which makes single-ingredient, whole foods an attractive option.
Most dogs can eat fruit. Certain fruits, such as bananas, apples, strawberries and blueberries can provide dogs with a healthy variety in their diet and work as a treat. Unlike many processed treats, fruits have benefits. They are full of antioxidant compounds, including vitamins A and C, carotenoids, and flavonoids, which have been shown to promote health and longevity. Studies have indicated that an antioxidant-enriched diet may contribute to brain health in aging dogs. They also provide increased hydration as they are a good source of water.
As with all treats, be sure not to overdo it – ALL extras should be kept to no more than 10% of a dog's daily caloric intake, otherwise you risk weight gain and nutritional imbalance. If you are feeding a fresh, balanced diet, that has been formulated to provide the exact amount and ratio of nutrients; feeding too many snacks outside of that diet, even healthy snacks, throws that balance off balance. All fruits have more sugar than vegetables, so moderation is especially important for your dog's diet.
Some additional warnings about fruit: make sure you wash it well before feeding, avoid the stems, pits, and seeds, and keep in mind that not all varieties are beneficial to dogs, some are actually toxic. Here is a list of the good, the bad, and the doubtful, and what you should know about feeding these fruits to your dogs.
Just like for humans, dogs can eat apples as a healthy snack. But instead of a whole apple a day, stick with a slice or two for your canine companion. Packed with vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and dietary fiber, apples are rich in nutrition and flavor. Chances are good that your dog will not only enjoy the sweet (or tart) taste of an apple, but will probably also like its crunchy texture.
Before you feed your dog some apple, be sure to wash it, remove the core and remove the stems and seeds. The core can represent a choking hazard and the seeds contain a compound that produces the toxin cyanide when digested. It's worth noting that the amount of cyanide your dog would absorb from the seeds in a piece of fruit would be minimal, but it's best to stay away from this part of the apple.
Peeling the apple is up to you. However, if your dog has a sensitive stomach, it's best to peel it to remove the extra fiber. The type of apple you give your dog is also up to you, so you can try switching it up for variety. Avoid feeding applesauce because most are high in sugar. However, buy organic apples whenever possible because non-organic varieties are known to have higher levels of pesticide residue.
Most homes probably have a bunch of bananas somewhere in the kitchen ready for family members to munch on. High in potassium, magnesium, vitamins B6 and C, and dietary fiber, bananas can provide everyone in the family, including dogs, with a healthy boost. However, bananas are also high in sugar and starch, so you should feed them in moderation. While banana peel isn't technically toxic to dogs, don't let your dog eat it because ingesting it can lead to vomiting or even bowel obstruction.
Distributed prudently, bananas can provide a sweet, fiber-packed treat that can help if your dog has minor digestive issues. There are different ways to feed your dog bananas. For example, try freezing the whole banana, peeling it, and then cutting it into small pieces. You can also mash it up and mix it into your dog's food for a bit of variety, or place a peeled banana in a rubber toy, freeze it all, then give it to your dog for a fun toy experience. Regardless of how you feed the peeled banana, be sure to start with a small amount first and check for digestive issues, and feed only in moderation after that.
A whole banana is about 105 calories, so keep the 10% rule in mind and share your own banana instead of throwing a whole one at your dog. Larger dogs should be given no more than half a regular-sized banana as an occasional treat (a few times a week at most), and smaller dogs should be given just a few small pieces.
I am sure you have heard of the great health benefits of blueberries. You may have heard that they are good for your heart, brain, and can even help with blood sugar. And if you're wondering if they're good for your dog, too, the answer is yes. Blueberries are not only packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamins C and K1 and manganese, they are also known for their high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which cause cell damage. Phytochemicals are compounds found naturally in plants that offer many health benefits, including as a potential cancer fighter.
Due to their small size, blueberries are ready-to-go treats. Just wash them well and feed them one by one to your dog orally or add some to his food. You can also freeze them and give them to your dog straight from the freezer for a fun new texture. Be careful, especially when feeding them to small dogs because they can represent a choking hazard. You may want to squeeze them down a bit before feeding, both to unlock their scent and to reduce the chance of them slipping down your dog's throat.
As with other fruits, start small (perhaps a berry or a few for a larger dog) to evaluate how your dog is doing with the new treat. Blueberries contain a good amount of fiber, so too many can give your dog an upset stomach. Also, don't forget to buy organic blueberries when possible.
Coconut in oil form has been recommended for everything from relieving allergies to aiding in dog dental care. So it should come as no surprise that coconut meat can be a beneficial treat for canines. Coconut is rich in lauric acid, which has many potential benefits, including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. Inflammation can play a role in many common illnesses, such as arthritis and allergies. Coconut is also high in antioxidants that can help build the immune system as a whole. Like many other fruits, coconut is also high in fiber, which can help with digestion, but again moderation is key. Too much fiber can also cause digestive discomfort.
If you've gotten your hands on some coconut and put in the effort to crack one open, try pulling out some meat for your dog. Be sure to remove any shell because it can become a choking hazard or even cause a bowel obstruction. Be careful about giving your dog dry coconut products because many are high in sugar and may contain other additives that are not safe for canines.
If you are enjoying this summer reward, you can share it with your dog. Dogs can eat fruits like peaches that are full of vitamin A and fiber, and the flesh is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. Be sure to wash the peaches well before feeding them small slices.
A BIG concern when it comes to peaches: the pit. Peach pits are made of amygdalin, a toxic compound that breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when ingested. Pits present other dangers to dogs: they can damage teeth, cause choking, and cause intestinal blockages if eaten. So make sure your dog doesn't have access to peaches in their whole form. Instead, cut it into small pieces and serve it fresh or frozen. Stay away from canned peaches.
Yes! Pears are full of vitamins including A, C and K, minerals including calcium, potassium and magnesium and soluble fiber which is key for digestive health.
Some tips for serving pears: Serve only ripe fruit; unripe fruit can upset your dog’s stomach (on the other hand, avoid feeding overripe or rotten fruit). Be sure to wash the fruit well and remove the stem, leaves, seeds, and core. Cut it into small (one-inch) pieces and feed it directly, or you can even grate it.
Pineapple is a nutrient-rich fruit and contains large amounts of vitamin C, thiamin, and minerals, including copper, potassium, and magnesium. It can be an occasional sweet treat for your dog, if he or she likes the taste.
Pineapple also contains the enzyme bromelain, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in people and has shown anti-inflammatory and other health benefits in other animal studies. This tropical fruit has more sugar than some options, so keeping pineapple treats small is very important. Feed only fresh, raw pineapple (never canned, which can contain added sugar), and to state the obvious, remove the spiky skin and core.
We've all cooled down with a few slices of watermelon on a hot day. Made up of 90% water, vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, and of course fiber, this summer melon can also be a refreshing treat for canines. Before feeding watermelon to your dog, be sure to remove all the seeds and shell, as these can represent risks to the intestines, including blockage.
Once the seeds and shell are removed, feeding watermelon to your dog is as easy as cutting up a cube and handing it to them. Start with one piece to make sure your dog's stomach can handle the new treat before giving more. As with other fruits, the key is moderation. The size of the piece you give your dog will depend on the size of your dog (smaller for small dogs and larger for large dogs).
This sweet and refreshing berry has multiple potential benefits for your pet. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, and they also have the added benefit of containing a compound called malic acid that can help whiten teeth.
After washing the strawberries and cutting off the stem, cut them into small pieces for your dog. You can also try freezing them for a change in texture that your dog might enjoy, or mash them up and mix them into his food. Remember to always start with a small amount (a strawberry for a larger dog), and generally give strawberries sparingly because they contain sugar. Also, avoid canned strawberries because they contain a lot of sugar and other potentially harmful additives. And, just like with apples, buy organic whenever possible.
Like other berries, raspberries are packed with goodness and are considered safe fruits for dogs. Dogs can eat fruits like raspberries that are lower in sugar and calories than some other fruits, but are high in vitamin C, B and K complexes, antioxidants that can reduce the chance of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis, and dietary fiber that it helps the digestive system and makes a dog feel full.
While all fruits should be fed in moderation, that rule applies strongly for raspberries, as they contain natural xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. While a dog would need to consume a massive amount to be hurt, make sure even the largest dog gets only a small handful at a time; smaller dogs should have a few, from time to time.
Since pumpkin is technically a fruit and safe for your dog, I will add it to the list. Pumpkin's fiber, vitamin and mineral, and antioxidant content makes them not only a tasty treat for your dog, but also a useful dietary and digestive supplement. In fact, it is often recommended for the treatment of mild symptoms of diarrhea and constipation in dogs, making it a true superfood for dogs. While raw pumpkin isn't technically toxic to dogs, it's not very easy to digest, so choose plain canned pumpkin for dogs with digestive issues.
Digestive issues aside, you can also use pumpkin to add a little more flavor to your dog's food, or as a treat. For small dogs, start with a little: half a teaspoon, and increase to one or two teaspoons if it suits them. For large dogs, start with one tablespoon and increase to two to three tablespoons. You can also smear it on a rubber toy like a Kong since it makes a great substitute for peanut butter and it's only five calories per tablespoon versus 100 for peanut butter. However, Never feed your dog canned pumpkin pie filling which can contain harmful ingredients like xylitol which is toxic to them.
Known for their vitamin C, oranges can theoretically be an acceptable treat for your dog, but only in very small amounts. If your dog is overweight or diabetic, avoid feeding these fruits to your dog because they are high in sugar. Even if they can eat the fruit, keep it to a few segments and start with just one (or smaller pieces for small dogs) to assess how your dog's stomach is doing. Dogs can eat fruits like oranges, but because they are acidic, oranges can cause digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea.
Be sure to completely peel the orange and remove the white tissue and all the seeds before giving it to your dog. If you're curious about orange juice, don't. It's a concentrated version of oranges, which makes it even more sugary and tart, and it's not good for dogs.
There is a long-standing debate about tomatoes: is it a fruit or a vegetable? While we're not going to try to settle that heated debate here (it's a fruit), we'll help you determine if you can give it to your dog. It turns out that the answer to that question is not simple either.
Tomatoes contain a high amount of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to health benefits including lowering bad cholesterol, protecting against sunburn, and possibly even preventing cancer. But tomatoes also contain chemicals called solanine and alpha tomatine that can be toxic in sufficient amounts. Solanine is found in the stem and leaves and in unripe green tomatoes, but as tomatoes ripen, the amount of solanine is reduced. Therefore, ripe red tomatoes are generally considered safe for dogs to eat in moderation. Pet owners should remember to be careful to prevent their dogs from eating anything green when it comes to tomatoes. Put a fence around tomato plants in the garden so your dog can't reach them, and feed them just a slice of the ripe fruit (yes, let's go with fruit, because it's totally a fruit) when you want to give your dog a treat. Again, don't give too much and start with a very small amount to avoid digestive upset.
While oranges are fine in small amounts, the more acidic lemon should be avoided altogether. Eating a little lemon is very likely to cause digestive problems like diarrhea in your dog. And due to its bitter taste, your dog is unlikely to like the fruit anyway.
If you're wondering if lemonade would be any different, it's not. The acid and sugar in lemonade can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It's best to avoid lemons and opt instead for one of the many fruits that dogs can eat and benefit from.
Grapes (and raisins) are definitely a no-no for dogs. Although the reasons are not fully understood, grapes contain compounds that are toxic to dogs and can cause serious symptoms, including death. Signs of grape toxicity in dogs may include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and/or diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration, increased thirst, increased or decreased urine output, and kidney failure.
Dogs can eat fruit, but grapes are a definite no. If you like grapes, be sure to store them in a safe place away from your curious dog. If you think they have eaten grapes or raisins or are showing signs of toxicity, call your vet immediately.
Dogs can eat some fruits, and when it comes to our dog's health, the most important thing is to provide them with a healthy and balanced diet. But some fruit-shaped treats can be a sweet treat, so experiment with the flavors and textures your dog likes!