Fruits are a good source of nutrients for both humans and dogs alike. However, most owners ask the question: can dogs eat fruits? If yes, what fruits can dog eat, and is there any fruits that they should avoid?
After spending hours researching, I compiled two lists of fruits – the first one is those that you can safely feed your dog, while the second lists those you should avoid. Fruits can be a healthy and tasty snack if served correctly in moderate amounts.
I have structured this article such that you can be very clear on:
- The fruits that your dog can eat
- The fruits that you should avoid feeding your dog
- How to introduce fruits into your dog’s diet
Fruits Dogs Can Eat
Listed here are fruits that dogs can safely consume. As a rule of thumb, most seeds and skins should be removed before the flesh is fed to the dog. Also, sugary fruits should be provided in moderation.
Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamins, specifically A and C. Also, they are low in protein and fat, so they make a good snack for dogs of all ages. Frozen apples are tasty, especially on a hot summer afternoon!
However, their seeds contain a small amount of cyanide, and dogs may choke on the core if given an entire apple. Therefore, owners should slice and deseed the apples before feeding them to their dogs.
Bananas are filled with various nutrients such as potassium, vitamins, and copper, good for the heart and kidney. In their convenient packaging, owners may bring them on travel trips as a fruity snack for their dogs.
However, bananas are high in sugar content, so they should be fed in moderation as an occasional treat.
Blackberries are high in antioxidants, which can help your dog to develop a robust immune system. They also contain nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K.
While they make a great snack, too much will result in diarrhea, so feed them in moderation.
Like blackberries, blueberries are filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients, so they make a good snack for dogs. Consuming these nutrients can help to repair cell damage and even fight cancer.
For dogs that exercise regularly or rigorously, the consumption of blueberries post-exercise can help to prevent exercise-induced oxidative damage .
Cantaloupe contains nutrients such as vitamins A, B, and C and can be a source of water and fiber. The nutrients involved aid in digestive health and can alleviate inflammatory issues. It is also low in calories but high in sugar, so it should be fed in moderation.
When feeding your dog cantaloupe, remember to remove the skin and the seeds and cut the flesh into bite-size chunks. Never allow your dog to lick the skin as bacteria may be present.
Both fresh and dried cranberries are safe to feed to dogs. They contain vitamin C, fiber, and manganese and are a natural urinary disinfectant. However, not every dog will like the tarty taste.
Too many cranberries may lead to an upset stomach, so please feed in moderation.
Honeydew is rich in vitamins B and C, potassium, copper, and iron, contributing to healthy red blood cells. However, due to its high sugar content, do feed in moderation. Feeding too much honeydew to your dog may also cause diarrhea.
To feed honeydew to your dog, remember to remove the skin and seeds first and cut the flesh into manageable portions.
Kiwi contains vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids. The nutrients can protect against cancer, strengthen the immune system, and help in cell rejuvenation and blood circulation.
Mangoes are tasty and nutritious fruits that contain nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as potassium and carotenoids. They are known to help in digestion.
Like apples, the mango pit contains lethal amounts of cyanide when digested, and a full pit swallowed will block the bowel, so urgent surgery is likely required if your dog ingested it. Therefore, always remember to remove the skin and the pit before feeding any mangoes to your dog.
While oranges are generally acceptable for dogs to eat, most dogs are not exactly fans due to the strong-smelling citrus. They do make a good vitamin C source and can be a natural detox to help flush toxins from the body.
As usual, remember to peel away the skin and remove the seeds, only feeding your dog the flesh. Also, because oranges are acidic, some dogs may experience vomiting and diarrhea.
Peaches are high in vitamin A and fiber, which aids digestion and helps to fight off infections. Their sweet taste also ensures that most dogs will like this yummy treat.
Just like mangoes, the pits pose dangers such as choking or intestinal blockages when consumed. Therefore, prepare peaches by removing the pits and cutting the flesh into smaller chunks.
Pears are rich in vitamin A, C, and K, fiber, and copper. They help reduce the chances of blood clotting and, in humans, may reduce the chances of stroke . Although the same has yet to be proven in dogs, pears are unlikely to cause any harm to dogs.
Similar to apples, do remember to slice and deseed the pears before feeding to their dogs.
Pineapples contain nutrients such as folate and zinc, which help in digestion and immunity. More importantly, it contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps break down consumed meat and make it easier to digest. It is very suitable for dogs who have a meat diet but a weak digestive system.
Similar to other sugary fruits, pineapples should be feed in moderation. Giving them in treat-sized chunks is an option, and of course, remember to remove the prickly skin!
Raspberries contain antioxidants, are high in fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and are low in sugar and calories. Their anti-inflammatory properties make them very suitable for senior dogs, which have aging joints.
However, they contain small amounts of natural xylitol, so feed raspberries to your dog in moderation. Generally, a few berries will not cause any harm. However, if you still feel unsure after reading this, you may want to avoid feeding them to your dog altogether.
Strawberries have various healthy nutrients such as vitamin C, E, and K, fiber, magnesium, and phosphorous. Besides, they also have teeth whitening properties.
Due to their sugary nature, do limit the number of strawberries consumed by your dog at any one time. Also, some dogs may be allergic to strawberries, showing symptoms such as swelling lips or an irritated mouth. As such, if it is your first time feeding your dog strawberries, provide small amounts and monitor for some time before feeding more.
Watermelon has high water content (92%), and the nutrients such as vitamin A, B-6, and C help maintain healthy nerve and muscle function. As such, they make superb treats for your dog in the summer to keep them healthy and hydrated.
Remember to remove the rind (the green part) and the seeds before feeding the flesh, as they may cause digestive issues in your dog.
Fruits Dogs Should Avoid
This list contains fruits that you should avoid feeding your dogs. Some are off-bounds, while others are debatable. Always be alert for any abnormal signs and symptoms if your dog consumed any of the listed fruits below.
The flesh of apricots is filled with nutrients such as potassium and beta-carotene, which can help fight against cancer. However, the pit is toxic and can be troublesome for owners to separate from the flesh.
If you want to feed your dog apricots, do take extra care to remove the pits from the flesh. However, if you are not confident in doing so, it is best to avoid apricots entirely.
While avocado is good for humans, it is the inverse for dogs. The flesh contains persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. While it is technically not poisonous, why let your dog go through the trauma of getting sick from avocado when you can opt for other fruits?
While the flesh of cherries is safe for dogs to consume, it is hard to separate the flesh cleanly from the seed. When (part of) the seed is consumed by dogs, they may suffer from cyanide poisoning, which prevents the blood cells from getting enough oxygen.
If you see your dog has any difficulty breathing, or have dilated pupils, consult the veterinarian immediately.
Never feed your dog grapes or any variation of it (such as raisins), regardless of the breed, sex, or age. Grapes can easily cause death when consumed, to the point where close to half (47%) of the dogs who ingested grapes and raisins did not survive .
After eating grapes, the first few symptoms are vomiting (with the grapes visible in the vomit), a lack of appetite, lethargy, and diarrhea. If you suspect your dog has ingested any grapes, bring him/her to the veterinarian immediately.
While small amounts of lemon juice should be safe for most dogs, lemons can easily cause upset stomachs and vomiting due to their acidic nature.
They are not poisonous, but neither are they on the recommended list of fruits to feed your dog.
Like lemons, small amounts of lime juice should be safe, but it is best to avoid them altogether.
Like cherries, it is difficult to remove the pit from the flesh for plums, and the pit should never be fed to dogs. Therefore, it is better to avoid them altogether and choose the other safer options.
Introducing Fruits to Your Dog
Although dogs are omnivores, most dogs are not used to eating fruits. As such, owners have to give their furry friends some time to get accustomed to the taste and texture of fruits. Listed below are some tips that you can keep in mind as you prepare fruity snacks for your dog:
Avoid Processed Fruits
Processed fruits, such as canned fruits or fruit jams, should be avoided as they may contain too much sugar or xylitol for your dog. Too much sugar can make your dog overweight, while xylitol poisoning can cause liver damage and hypoglycemia, a condition that occurs when the blood glucose level dropped too low .
Screening for Unripe and Over-Ripe/Moldy Fruits
The lists above are for ripe fruits. For unripe and over-ripe/moldy fruits, the nutritional content may differ. As such, they may contain nutrients that are not suitable for dogs to consume. Therefore, always screen the fruits you intend to feed your dog before the actual feeding session.
Prepare It Carefully
Always remember the parts that you should remove and ensure that you remove them entirely from the portions you will feed to your dog. Generally speaking, it is best to remove any seeds and skins. If the fruit comes with stems and leaves, remove them too. Only feed the flesh to your dogs.
Additionally, to reduce the chances of your dog choking or experiencing digestion issues, cut the flesh into smaller chunks before serving.
Introduce Slowly and In Moderation
When you introduce fruits to your dog, start by serving small quantities and observing for signs of discomfort. If there are, stop feeding your dog that particular fruit and avoid feeding him/her the fruit in the future. Consider bringing your dog to the veterinarian if things turn for the worse.
Also, keep in mind that sugary fruits should be fed in moderation. Feeding too many sugary fruits may lead to weight complications.
Should I Feed My Dog Fruits?
My personal opinion is that dogs should be fed fruits that are safe for them to consume in moderation. They should never be the main diet as most fruits are sweet. Feeding them to your dog too much and too often can lead to obesity. I base my stance on the nutritional properties of fruits and the potential benefits they can bring to the dog when the owner prepares the fruits correctly.
Remember to start slow when introducing fruits to your dogs and monitor for signs of discomfort or allergy. Alternatively, consult the local veterinarian during a regular check-up for additional information.
If your dog accidentally consumes any of the above-listed fruits-to-avoid, be on the alert and monitor your dog for abnormal symptoms. Alternatively, bring your dog down to the veterinarian to ensure that everything is okay.
Time to go and prepare fruity treats for your dog!