Have you ever eaten a piece of fruit and wondered if it was safe to share with your dog? The good news is that many fruits make nutritious treats. Some can even help prevent disease.
But there are fruits that can be toxic for your dog. And others that can be harmful if they aren’t properly prepared.
So today I want to talk about what fruit dogs can eat and how to serve it. I also talk about fruits that are bad for dogs.
What Fruits Are Good For Dogs?
Fruits are perfectly safe for dogs to eat, as long as they’re lower in sugar. Some of the healthiest choices include berries. because they’re also prebiotic. But not all fruits are good for dogs.
Here are some of the healthiest fruits you can choose for you dog:
Apples are good for dogs. They contain vitamin A and C, are full of antioxidants like quercetin, which help relieve allergies and improve gut health. Apple skins are especially nutritious so be sure to keep it on.
You can remove the apple core if you want, but this isn’t necessary. While apple seeds do contain cyanide, the amount is so minuscule it’s not really a cause for concern.
Bananas are full of vitamins and minerals that can help strengthen your dog’s muscles, bones and immune system. They can also improve brain function and digestive health. But bananas are high in sugar and starch, which feed the bad bacteria and yeast in your dog’s gut … so don’t over do it.
If you do feed your dog bananas, make sure you remove the peel or cut it up into small pieces. Banana peels aren’t toxic for dogs but they can cause bowel obstructions.
Most dogs love berries because they taste delicious. But these fruits are also packed full of antioxidants and vitamins that help keep your dog healthy.
Let’s look at some of the most popular berries that dogs can eat …
Blueberries have a special nutrient that can cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect your dog’s brain function. They also pack more antioxidants than any other food.
In fact, studies show that animals who eat blueberries are healthier, have less inflammation and they do better at memory and brain work.
Cranberries are safe for dogs and can be helpful for UTIs but … that isn’t all they’re good for. Cranberries also fight cancer, balance the gut and help manage inflammatory diseases. They can even protect your dog’s teeth.
Raspberries are full of nutrients like vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, C and E. So they aren’t only delicious, they’re nutritious. Raspberries are also full of antioxidants, which means they’re able to reduce inflammation and boost your dog’s immune system.
Strawberries contain lots of fiber and vitamin C, as well as enzymes that help keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Cantaloupes are a fruit your dog can eat and they’re a great way to keep your dog hydrated on a warm day. They have high water content and are a good source of fiber and vitamins your dog needs.
If you decide to give your dog some cantaloupe, feed it without the rind. The rinds can be choking hazards or cause bowel obstructions.
Cucumbers are a low-calorie snack that’s great for overweight dogs. They’re also full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory polyphenols that can prevent cancer. And they can help keep your dog hydrated on a warm day.
If you give your dog cucumber, be sure to keep the peel on – it contains the most nutrients.
Oranges And Other Citrus Fruit
Dogs can eat citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, mandarins and clementines. These fruits are high in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and helps with everyday functions.
Most dogs produce their own vitamin C but as your dog ages, or if he’s stressed, a dietary boost may be necessary. Citrus fruit also contains anti-inflammatory flavanones that may help with weight management.
Lemons, limes, and grapefruits have the same benefits and are safe for dogs. But don’t feel surprised if your dog won’t eat citrus fruit … most dogs find the flavor off-putting. You’ll also want to remove the peel to prevent obstructions.
Pears are a tasty treat for your dog and high in copper, fiber and antioxidants. This makes them a great choice to improve digestive health, fight cancer and reduce inflammation.
Like apples, pear seeds contain cyanide, though the amount is very low. If you want, you can core the pear before you give it to your dog but it isn’t necessary.
Pineapple is full of vitamin C, B vitamins, and minerals that help with your dog’s health. You’ll want to remove the skin and crown before you feed your dog pineapple. You’ll also want to core the pineapple or cut it up into very small pieces to avoid an obstruction.
Stone fruits are fruits that have a single pit or seed in the center. This includes cherries, peaches, mangos, plums, nectarines and dates. While the flesh of fruits I’ve listed are safe for your dog to eat, you’ll want to remove the pits first.
The pits contain cyanide that can stop your dog’s blood cells from getting enough oxygen. The pits can also cause bowel obstructions. If your dog accidentally eats a stone fruit whole, watch for signs of bowel obstruction or, if he ate a lot, cyanide poisoning.
Like all nightshade vegetables, tomatoes contain solanine. Generally, ripe tomatoes are safe for your dog to eat because the solanine levels are low. And they’re full of healthy antioxidants and fiber. But you should feed them in moderation and shouldn’t give tomatoes to dogs with inflammatory diseases. That’s because solanine can aggravate inflammation.
Green tomatoes, stems and leaves contain high levels of solanine and can be harmful to your dog. Be sure tomatoes are ripe and remove the stems and leaves before you feed them to your dog.
You shouldn’t share tomato sauce and other tomato-based products. They might contain ingredients (like onions) that can be harmful to your dog.
Watermelons are a fruit your dog can eat. They contain vitamin A and C, plus they’re very refreshing. Watermelon also has an important antioxidant called lycopene. Watermelon is safe for dogs but … don’t give him the rind or seeds. They’re a choking hazard and can cause bowel obstructions.
How To Share Fruits With Dogs
Even when the fruit is safe for your dog to eat, you want to use some caution. Fruits have natural sugars and starches and too much can be harmful to your dog. Fruits are best used as a treat. Together with vegetables, fruit can make up 10% of your dog’s diet.
You also want to introduce new fruits slowly. Otherwise, they may give your dog an upset stomach or diarrhea. And remember to go with bite-sized pieces to prevent choking and obstructions. If your dog is the type to swallow his food whole, you may want to mulch the fruit, to help him digest it better.
Fresh or frozen is the best way to serve your dog fruit but always try to buy organic. Fruits and vegetables are regularly spread with pesticides to protect them from insects and weeds. But these toxins are harmful to your dog and washing doesn’t completely remove them.
Your dog can also eat dried fruit or fruit juice so long as there are no added ingredients. But they’re also higher in natural sugar and lower in fiber than fresh or frozen.
Fruits That Are Bad For Dogs
There are lots of safe fruits your dog can eat that have tons of great health benefits. But there are a few fruits you shouldn’t feed your dog.
Avocados contain a compound called persin … a natural fungicide that can be harmful to dogs. There’s a higher amount of persin in the pit and leaves, and some in the skin too … so avoid these and just feed the flesh.
If your dog does eat avocado pit, skin or leaves, watch for signs of toxicity. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal sensitivity.
Coconut, and more specifically coconut oil, has been a staple of many dog owners for years. And that’s because it’s supposed to be rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). But new research shows that coconut products may not be as good as pet owners once thought.
Half of the MCT in coconut oil is actually lauric acid, which is fundamentally different than MCTs. Coconut oil is also 80% saturated fat and studies show it contributes to inflammation, leaky gut and chronic disease.
Grapes and raisins are very toxic to dogs. The reason why is still unknown to researchers and there’s no amount of grapes that’s safe … some dogs can eat them without issue while others can have severe reactions. This unpredictability is why you should never feed grapes or grape products to your dog.
One exception is grape seed extract. It contains an antioxidant that helps improve blood flow, eases joint swelling and can reduce symptoms of diabetes. It’s also useful for preventing canine cataracts.
Can Dogs Eat Fruit? Yes!
As you can see, there are a lot of different fruits you can feed your dog. And while they may each have their own healthful benefits, there is one similarity … fruit helps keep your dog healthy.
So steer clear of the fruit that’s bad for dogs and try one of the many fruits dogs can eat! Just don’t overdo it … dogs shouldn’t have too much sugar, even if it is from fruit.