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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Can Dogs Eat Fruits?

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Dogs are not just our pets; they are cherished members of our families. As responsible pet owners, we often seek to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet. While meat and vegetables are commonly known to be part of a dog’s diet, many owners wonder about the inclusion of fruits. Are they safe? Can dogs eat fruits?

Certain fruits are safe for dogs to consume, while others can be toxic to them. Since premium commercial diets are typically nutritionally balanced and complete, there is usually no need to incorporate fruits into your dog’s diet. Though offering fruits as occasional treats can be an enjoyable addition.

Understanding Canine Nutrition:

Before diving into the specific fruits that dogs can eat, it is important to understand their nutritional needs.

“Dogs are primarily carnivores, but they are also known to consume plants in the wild. Their digestive systems have adapted to process a variety of foods, including fruits,” said Dr. Teresa Mitchell in “Can Dogs Eat Fruit?” published in the Just For Dogs website.

While numerous fruits are fine for dogs to consume, it is essential to provide them in limited amounts. Excessive fruit intake can cause digestive issues and contribute to weight gain in dogs. (Photo from Shutterstock | RavenaJuly)

Safe Fruits for Dogs:

According to Dr. Mitchell the following are generally safe for dogs to eat:

1. Apples:

Apple is a popular fruit that many dogs enjoy. It is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, which can aid in digestion. However, it is essential to remove the seeds and core, as they contain cyanide, which can be toxic to dogs.

2. Bananas:

Bananas are packed with potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, making them a nutritious treat for dogs. They are also easy to digest, making them an ideal choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

3. Blueberries:

Blueberries are low in calories and high in antioxidants, making them an excellent choice for dogs. They can help boost the immune system and promote overall health.

4. Strawberries:

Strawberries are another antioxidant-rich fruit that dogs can enjoy. They are high in fiber and vitamin C, but it is essential to remove the stems before feeding them to your dog.

5. Watermelon:

Watermelon is a hydrating fruit that many dogs love. It is rich in vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as potassium. However, it is crucial to remove the seeds and rind, as they can cause digestive issues.

Other fruits include:

· Honeydew

· Mangoes

· Oranges

· Peaches

· Pears

· Pineapple

· Tomatoes

Moderation is Key:

While many fruits are safe for dogs to eat, make sure to offer them in moderation. Too much fruit can lead to digestive upset and weight gain.

“Some fruits contain natural sugars that can be harmful to dogs in large quantities. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet, especially if they have any underlying health conditions,” said Dr. Mitchell.

Be vigilant for common indicators of an unsettled stomach:

1. Vomiting

2. Diarrhea

3. Reduced appetite or loss of appetite

4. Lethargy

5. Depressive behavior

6. Signs of discomfort

7. Excessive lip-licking

8. Flatulence (gas)

Fruits to Avoid:

While there are plenty of fruits that dogs can enjoy, there are also some that are best avoided altogether. These fruits as Dr. Mitchell said include:

1. Grapes and raisins: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, even in small amounts. Make sure to keep these fruits out of reach of your dog at all times.

2. Cherries: Cherries contain pits that can be a choking hazard for dogs. They also contain cyanide, which can be toxic.

3. Avocado: Avocado contains persin, which can be toxic to dogs in large quantities.

4. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and limes, contain citric acid, which can cause digestive upset in dogs. The peel and seeds can also be choking hazards.

5. Pits and seeds: As a general rule of thumb, always remove pits and seeds from fruits before feeding them to your dog. These can pose choking hazards and contain toxins that can be harmful.

How to Properly Ready Fruit

Before offering fruit to your dog, ensure it is cleaned thoroughly. Remove any leaves, stems, seeds, pits, or rinds. Slice the fruit into small, manageable pieces suitable for your dog’s size, providing them with a modest portion. Avoid giving canned fruit in syrup due to its elevated sugar levels.

You can offer fruit pieces as standalone treats or mash them and include them in your dog’s regular meals. Keep in mind that fruit may pose a choking risk, particularly for smaller breeds, so supervise your dog closely during consumption.

Fruits can be a healthy and delicious addition to your dog’s diet when offered in moderation and with caution. By sticking to safe options like apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon, you can provide your dog with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while avoiding toxic fruits like grapes, raisins, cherries, and citrus fruits, as well as pits and seeds. As always, consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet to ensure their health and safety. With proper care and attention, you can treat your furry friend to the occasional fruity snack while promoting their overall well-being.

About the Author: Niko Gabriel Salgado is a graduate of consular and diplomatic affairs from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, and worked at the House of Representatives. He is now an entrepreneur and a volunteer of the animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL.

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