As tempting as it can be to share our favorite foods with our canine friends, as a whole, it’s best avoided. Dogs have different nutritional needs from us, and many human foods are even poisonous to dogs. A good quality, complete dog food will ensure your dog is getting all the nutrients they require. However, when it comes to treats, some types of fruit can be a healthy option. BUT some fruits are harmful or even poisonous to dogs, so it’s important to do your research first! Let’s look at which fruits your dog can and can’t eat.
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Which fruit is safe for dogs?
It’s important to understand that if your dog is on a good quality, complete dog food, then they don’t NEED fruit in their diet. They will be getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need from their dog food.
It’s also important to note that if your dog has an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, then any fruit may well be harmful to their health. If your dog has any underlying medical condition at all, or they are overweight, then you should always check with your veterinarian before introducing any new food or treats.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to shop-bought dog treats, which can be high in calories, then some fruits can be a good choice! Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
All fruit has the potential to cause diarrhea and/or sickness in some dogs. Many dogs have quite sensitive stomachs, and the high content of natural sugars in fruit can upset their guts.
The following fruit is considered safe for most dogs (once the peel, seeds, or stones have been removed):
Remember that although these are healthy, they are still high in natural sugars, so should be offered as a treat, not as part of a meal!
It’s important to understand that if your dog is on a good quality, complete dog food, then they don’t NEED fruit in their diet.
Which fruit is NOT safe for dogs?
Many fruits are best avoided, as they may cause some issues. Others are even very toxic to dogs! Fruits that are best avoided include:
- Grapes: these are highly toxic to dogs, even in small amounts, and cause kidney failure
- Raisins: have the same effect as grapes and are highly toxic.
- Cherries: the stones contain cyanide. While toxicity is rare as dogs usually swallow the stones whole, the stones also pose a risk of a blockage in the gut if too many are eaten. So, it’s safest to avoid cherries!
- Lemon, lime, and grapefruit: these are very acidic and are likely to upset a dog’s guts. Best avoided!
- Rhubarb: can be toxic to dogs (especially in large quantities)
- Plums: plums contain a stone that is hard to remove and can cause a blockage in the gut. The stone can also be toxic itself, so it’s safest to avoid plums.
- Wild berries: many are poisonous and can look the same as edible berries, so it’s best to avoid them!
If you aren’t sure if a fruit is safe for your dog, always contact your veterinary team for advice before feeding it for the first time.
Grapes are highly toxic to dogs, even in small amounts, and cause kidney failure.
How can I feed my dog fruit?
As with any new food, if you are feeding a fruit for the first time, you need to introduce it slowly. Offer a tiny amount, to begin with, then monitor for any unwanted side effects. Watch out for excess gas, diarrhea, or sickness. If all is well, you can offer a little more a few days later, and so on. If your dog experiences any adverse effects, call your veterinary team for advice. Stop feeding that fruit: you could always try a different one in a few weeks.
Here are our top tips for feeding your dog fruit:
- Always check the fruit is on the safe list first!
- If your dog has an underlying medical condition or is overweight, check with your veterinarian first
- Always remove any skin, peel, seeds, pips, and stones before feeding fruit to your dog
- Avoid dried fruit, which is much higher in sugars
- Avoid tinned fruit in syrup, again this is too high in sugar
- Fresh or frozen fruit is best!
- Be aware that some fruit can pose a choking hazard, so it’s safest to chop it first, and monitor your dog while eating
- Remember it’s a treat! A normal portion size for us is huge for a dog, so small amounts only.
Frozen fruit can make a cooling snack in summer, you could even share some!
How often should dogs eat fruit?
Dogs who are eating a good quality complete dog food don’t NEED fruit in their diet, although they may enjoy it as a treat! A small amount 2-3 times a week is a sensible amount. If you choose to, a small amount of fruit can be given daily, as long as your dog doesn’t experience any gut upset.
Remember that dogs are smaller than us, so they need much smaller portion sizes! All treats should add up to no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories. Remember to reduce your dog’s food ration to take the treats into account. If you’re having trouble figuring out how much food your dog should be eating, your veterinary team will be able to advise you.
If you choose to, a small amount of fruit can be given daily, as long as your dog doesn’t experience any gut upset.
Dogs don’t need fruit in their diet. They will get all the nutrients they need from a good quality, complete dog food. However, you may choose to offer your dog some fruit as a treat. The key points to remember are that you must always: check with your veterinarian first if your dog has an underlying medical condition; check if the fruit is safe for dogs; prepare the fruit first, and remember it’s a treat- small amounts only!
Grapes and raisins are highly toxic (poisonous) to dogs, even a small amount. Rhubarb can also be toxic to dogs. Citrus fruits, plums, cherries, and any wild berries can also have harmful effects, and so are best avoided.
While dogs on a complete dog food don’t need added fruit in their diet, some fruits can be offered as a yummy treat. Banana, watermelon, pineapple, and apple are good examples. Always check if a fruit is safe before offering it to your pup!