- Just like us, many dogs love fresh fruit, and like us, they can greatly benefit from the addition of fresh, whole foods to their diet
- Wolves, coyotes, and other wild dogs eat certain berries and wild fruits, and your canine family member can also eat a variety of different fruits; however, it’s important to avoid the “vitis vinifera” varieties, specifically grapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants
- It’s also important to offer your pet fruits in small, bite-sized portions after removing any pits, cores, stems, peels, and seeds
- Some of the fruits on the safe-for-dogs list may surprise you, so have fun experimenting to see which one your pet likes best
Dogs, like people, can derive significant health benefits from the addition of fresh, whole foods to their diet. Feeding your dog only meat, bones, and organs (without any roughage from non-meat fresh food sources) can decrease the health of the gut microbiome, and eliminate the antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoids that fresh produce provides.
That said, vegetables and especially fruits, should make up just a small percentage of your canine BFF's nutritionally optimal, species-specific diet (all "extras," including treats and snacks should be less than 10% of your dog's caloric intake).
All 38 subspecies of Canis lupis eat some plant material, including berries and wild fruits, and your dog can too. However, not all fruits that are safe for people are equally safe for pets, so it's important to be knowledgeable in this area.
17 Safe Fresh Fruits for Dogs
A rule of thumb you must adhere to when feeding the following fruits to dogs is to remove pits along with cores, stems, peels, and seeds. Feed the same parts of fruits you'd feed a toddler (no hard rinds or pits), and in very small pieces. Organic or spray-free produce is always safest.
Secondly, it's important to avoid vitis vinifera fruits, including grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants. If your dog ingests even a small amount, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure, which can occur up to several days after consumption.
Interestingly, not all dogs are affected by these fruits, and some believe that a fluoride-based pesticide called cryolite used on grape crops could be to blame, or the amount of tartaric acid present. In any case, some dogs have become sick after eating organic or homegrown grapes, so it's best not to take a chance.
The following fruits are safe and popular with dogs, but remember to feed them in small, bite-sized portions:
- Apples provide vitamins A and C, plus fiber and additional antioxidants. Remember to remove the seeds and core first.
- The flesh of avocados provides fiber, folate and vitamins K, B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 and C to your dog, along with healthy fats.
- Bananas are a rich source of potassium, which is useful for controlling heart rate and blood pressure. They're also a good source of flavonoids, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene — and most dogs love them. The greener the better when it comes to providing resistant starches that build the microbiome.
- Blueberries contain phytochemicals, including anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants, plus fiber in these nutritious little berries.
- Cantaloupes are rich in carotenoids, plus provides water and fiber.
- Cucumbers are 95% water, which may help quench your dog's thirst during a hot summer day. They also contain vitamins K and C, beta-carotene, and cucurbitacin, which has anticancer properties.
- Honeydew melons contain significant levels of beta-carotene and C, as well as important polyphenols and flavonoids.
- Mangoes, without the pit, are a favorite treat for some dogs and provide vitamins A, B6, C and E, plus potassium.
- You might not think of feeding your dog oranges, but they're an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Be sure to peel them first and remove any seeds.
- With the pit removed, peaches provide beta-carotene and fiber for your dog.
- Pears are rich in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber. Remove the seeds and pit before feeding.
- Pineapples are a unique source of bromelain, an enzyme that's good for digestion. Offer your dog the flesh only, avoiding the skin and core.
- Pumpkin contains numerous vitamins and other nutrients essential for your pet's health, including vitamin C, zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene. It can also help regulate your pet's bowel movements and facilitate gastric emptying because it's a good fiber source.
Feed 100% plain, pure pumpkin that's gently cooked, not pumpkin pie filling or other processed pumpkin products like pumpkin pudding. If fresh pumpkin is unavailable, you can opt for 100% pure, canned pumpkin.
- Raspberries offer a wealth of antioxidants, including vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as polyphenols like ellagitannins and anthocyanins. The flavonols in raspberries may also help inhibit different stages of tumor development, according to animal studies.
- Feeding strawberries to your dog may help lessen the risk for obesity, inflammation, and contain Fisetin, an emerging longevity biomolecule.
- Ripe tomatoes can be given as a fresh, healthy treat or added to meals. Tomato's claim to fame is its lycopene content, a carotenoid with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, antiplatelet, anti-apoptotic, and protective endothelial effects.
- Watermelon is a hydrating treat, providing B6 and C, plus plenty of beneficial lycopene. Be sure to remove both the rind and the seeds.
Some of the fruits on this list may surprise you, because so many websites incorrectly list foods as being "toxic" that aren't. For example, many sites claim cherries, peaches and plums are toxic to pets, when the actual danger is that the pits in those fruits pose a choking hazard.
Truly toxic foods contain innate substances that pets cannot metabolize or create damage in the body. There's a big difference between a food that, if consumed in excess, may cause diarrhea, and a genuinely toxic or poisonous food. For more information, view my Facebook live, where I cover the topic of "food fears."
This Facebook live is about how to choose healthy peanut butters, but at the 5 minute mark I explain how most nuts and a variety of other fruits and vegetables have been labeled by the AKC, ASPCA and HSUS as "toxic," when really they are medically inappropriate or contain rinds or pits that should not be fed, but the food itself is not only safe, it's as healthy for pets as it is for humans.
This is a very short list of a few fruits to hopefully inspire you to share more fresh food treats with your furry family members. For an extensive list of human foods you can (and can’t) share with your pets and lots more details about each food’s nutritional value visit the bark & whiskers Food Facts page here.
We’re celebrating bark and whisker’s Nutrition Week with an exciting giveaway! One lucky pet parent will be picked from each of our social media channels every day from January 16 to 22. To get a chance to win amazing prizes for your pet, all you have to do is follow our official Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page and check out the mechanics for each platform.
Sources & References
Today's Pet Video:
New Cat and Older Cat Learn to Get Along
On Day 1, the new little kitty and the older resident kitty, both males, weren’t exactly instant friends. By Day 30, Cosmo and Sacha could be seen napping together. Finally!