Is it OK to feed my dog some fruit?

dogs, fruit -

Is it OK to feed my dog some fruit?

Many of us like to share what we are eating with our pets but is it OK to feed your dog fruit? Most dogs instinctively know whether something is good for them and will spit out or refuse something that they should not eat. But some dogs like to eat first and ask questions later so it is important in these cases to know whether what you are feeding your dog is safe to give to them. It’s not always a good idea to share your food with your dog as it encourages bad habits like scrounging and begging too, but sometimes this big doggy eyes are too hard to resist!

Dog with a watermelon photo by Hkyu Wu on UnsplashDog with a watermelon photo by Hkyu Wu on Unsplash

As with most foods a little bit of fruit and veg introduced into your dogs diet is a good way to give them some variety, as well as a daily does of fibre, vitamins ad antioxidants. But which fruits are safe for your dog to eat - and which ones are harmful?

Dalmatian fruit photo by Rarnie McCudden on PexelsDalmatian fruit photo by Rarnie McCudden on Pexels

It is OK to feed your dog the following fruits:

  • Tomatoes - Not many dogs will eat tomatoes but they are safe to feed as long as they are red and not green. Green tomatoes contain a chemical called solanine that can make your pup quite poorly. 
  • Cucumbers - You may know that tomatoes are fruit but I only just found out today that cucumbers are too - and it is OK to give them to your dog! Just make sure you chop them up to minimise the risk of choking as they might be tempted to swallow larger pieces whole, without chewing them. 
  • Apples - Quite well known as a dog treat. Apples provide an excellent source of vitamin C and soluble fibre. But make sure that your dog does not eat the core or the pips. If you’re going to feed apple to your dog, remove the core and the pips and cut it into suitable sized chunks or slices. Don’t give them your core when you’ve finished or let them chew a whole apple. Be careful if you have windfall apples in your garden. They might bring one to you to throw as a ball - or they could munch on them and they may contain wasps! 
  • Strawberries - These are packed with fibre and vitamin C plus a tooth whitening enzyme. But it’s not all good news for teeth as they also contain lots of sugar so just let your dog have one or two, not the whole punnet. 
  • Blueberries - Regarded as a superfood for humans because they contain antioxidants, vitamins and fibre. Don’t let your dog eat too many because of the sugar content - they’re quite pricey too so you might be better off buying a packet of dog treats, but at leat you know if you drop one and your dog scoffs it, they won’t come to any harm.
  • Goji berries - Another delicious (and pricey) superfood. Goji berries are usually sold as a dried fruit. They are very good fro your dog and safe to enjoy, as long as they eat them in moderation. However you might not want to encourage your dog to eat small dried fruits as they are similar in size and texture to raisins and these are very harmful (see below). You don’t want them to get into a habit of eating things like this. 
  • Raspberries - Like strawberries, these are packed with vitamins and fibre but they aren’t great if consumed in large quantities so don’t let your dog eat a lot of them and keep your eye out if you have raspberries growing in your garden as your pup may be tempted to ‘pick their own,’
  • Oranges - Again, these are safe in moderation, so if you drop a bit and your dog eats it, they’re going to be OK. Just don’t let them eat the peel. 
  • Watermelon - Videos of dogs eating watermelon have become a bit of an ASMR ‘thing’ online and it is fun to watch and listen to them munching through a slice of this big watery fruit, which is packed with vitamins. It’s also a great way to keep your dog cool on a hot day - especially if you freeze the melon too as most dogs love to munch on a bit of ice and watermelons are 92% water. Just make sure that you remove the rind and the seeds of the melon first.
  • Pineapple - This is also safe if eaten in small quantities, so it’s fine to share a slice of your Hawaiian pizza with your pooch. Pineapple does not contain anything that is toxic to dogs and it is packed with potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamin C.
  • Mangos - Again these are packed with good things and safe to eat, although some dogs find them a bit too fruity!
  • Bananas are also a great source of potassium, biotin, fibre and copper but not all dogs enjoy them.

Dog with a slice photo by Marek Szturc on UnsplashDog with a slice photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash

So that’s the safe list but what kind of things should you not be feeding to your pooch? Some fruits are absolutely deadly for dogs, but your pooch might hoover them up if they are dropped on the floor so you really need to be careful with the following:

Fruit that you should NOT feed to your dog: 

  • Grapes and Raisins - Top of the list. These are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. You have to be really, really careful with grapes and raisins, especially if you have children that like to snack on them as they may drop them on the floor. You also need to be wary of things with raisins in, such as Garibaldi biscuits which your dog may scoff without realising the dangers. Be careful when throwing food away - make sure that your dog can’t access it. I know a spaniel that found and ate a piece of Christmas cake wrapped in tinfoil in a dustbin and got very ill because they ate the dried fruit and the tinfoil as well! Thankfully they were treated in time. If your dog eats raisins, grapes, fruit cake (or tinfoil) it is best to consult a vet. 
  • Peach stones - Although peaches are safe to eat (choose fresh over tinned as they are suspended in sugary syrup), if you’re eating any sort of fruit that contains stones - like peaches - make sure that your dog can’t get their paws on them. Some stones and pips contain cyanide. Or if they are swallowed whole they can also get stuck in your dog’s gut and cause blockages. Your dog may be tempted to chew a stone if it has traces of fruit on it or it smells sweet - or simply because they have seen you take it out of your mouth and they'd like to try a bit - so dispose of it securely, not in a waste paper basket where they can fish it out easily. 
  • Avocado - If your dog turns hipster and eats an avocado, don’t panic. They aren’t as dangerous as grapes or raisins. The chances are they will be absolutely fine. But avocados do contain something called percin which can make your dog sick if they eat a lot of them, so it is best to avoid feeding them to your dog, just don’t worry if you drop a bit on the floor and they hoover it up before you can stop them. 
  • Plums - These contain hydrogen cyanide which is toxic to dogs. If your dog eats a plum or a prune (dried plum) then consult your vet immediately. It’s best to avoid feeding any dried fruit to your dog as although currants are safe to eat, some dried 'currants' are in fact dried grapes, so it’s best to avoid dried raisins, currants and prunes all together. 

Dog with apple photo by Hayffield L on UnsplashDog with apple photo by Hayffield L on Unsplash

So that’s our lowdown on fruit for dogs. Next week we’ll be taking a look at which vegetables they can or can’t eat. Does your dog enjoy eating fruit? Let us know in the comments section below! 

Main pic: Dachshund photo by Nathalie De Boever on Pexels

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