Can dogs eat fruit?
Yes, there are many fruits dogs can eat! It is important to incorporate colorful plant foods into your dog’s diet. Phytonutrients, which are also found in vegetables, make fruits healthy additions to a well-rounded diet.
This guide will highlight some of the best fruits dogs can eat, as well as the fruits to avoid, so that you can feed dogs fruit safely and in healthy ways. PLUS, be sure to check out the healthy fruit-filled recipes at the end of the post!
What are the benefits of adding fruit to dogs’ diets?
Eating fruit can help to prevent dehydration.
Hydration is essential for dogs’ well-being, both mental and physical. If dogs do not drink enough water throughout the day to replenish what is naturally lost, they may show signs of dehydration, such as dry gums, little energy, loss of appetite, etc.
While making sure your dog always has access to fresh water is a must, adding fresh fruit can be a healthy, nutritious way to help keep them hydrated. Fruits dogs can eat with the highest water content include berries, peaches, and pineapples. And don’t forget melons like cantaloupe and watermelon- their water content is over 90%!
Fruits are great sources of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Vitamin C fights free radicals, helping to reduce inflammation, protect cognitive function, strengthen the immune system, and decrease the risk of disease (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.).
- Unlike humans, dogs can synthesize their own vitamin C in their livers. However, supplementing dogs’ synthesized vitamin C with vitamin C from fruits can be beneficial, especially for older dogs whose vitamin C production has slowed.
- Many of the fruits dogs can eat are high in fiber. Having the right amount of high-quality fiber, from whole fruits and vegetables, will benefit dogs in several ways. Importantly, fiber aids in digestion to help eliminate toxins and carcinogens from the body, on top of relieving stomach issues.
- Slowing digestion through a high-fiber diet will help to maintain steady blood sugar levels in dogs. Fiber also makes dogs feel full which may prevent overeating and weight gain.
What kinds of fruits to look for?
Buy organic! Organic fruits help dogs avoid toxic pesticides, and may even contain more nutrients. Plus, organic farming practices are proven to be much better for the environment than conventional farming!
Choose minimally processed fruits! Your dog will retain more nutrients from fresh, minimally processed fruit. Be sure to read product labels and look for real fruits on the ingredient lists. Your dog will benefit from eating fresh, high-quality ingredients, which is why Yitto Paws is committed to producing human grade dog treats!
The Complete List of the Best Fruits Dogs Can Eat:
- Apples contain fiber and vitamins A and C. Like carrots and celery, apples are also a “natural toothbrush!” This is because the fibrous texture of these crisp vegetables and fruit will stimulate your dogs’ gums to help produce more saliva, neutralize harmful acids, reduce cavity-causing bacteria, and gently remove plaque. For more on feeding dogs apples, read our recent post, “Can Dogs Eat Apples? The Definitive Guide Plus 4 Safety Tips!”
- Bananas are a great treat for dogs! This fruit is high in fiber, potassium, vitamins B6 and C, and magnesium. You can feed your dog plain pieces of banana, incorporate it in homemade treats, or stuff it into a Kong. Serve bananas to dogs sparingly because they are higher in calories and sugar than the most fruits.
- Mango contains fiber and vitamins A, B6, C, and E. Mango also contains beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, which are carotenoids that produce vitamin A. It is safe to feed to dogs, as long as it is peeled, the pit is removed, and the fruit is cut into small pieces. Try feeding your dog frozen mango bites during the summer for a cool, delicious treat!
- Peaches can be shared with dogs for an extra boost of vitamins A and C, and fiber. Before serving, make sure to remove the stem, leaves, and pit. Cut it up into small chunks and serve fresh or frozen. Do not give dogs peach cups because, besides being full of sugar and/or artificial sweetener, these cups could contain grape juice.
- Pears are high in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber. This nutrient-dense fruit can actually decrease stroke and heart disease risk because the high pectin content helps to reduce LDL levels (the bad cholesterol).
- Pineapple can boost your dog’s immune system and digestive health! The fruit is packed with numerous vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) are generally low in calories and sugar and high in antioxidants, fiber, manganese, and vitamin C. Adding berries into your dog’s diet can support their immune system. Berries are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties due to the antioxidants called anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid).
- Melons (cantaloupe and watermelon) are mostly water, making them a refreshing treat for dogs! Both cantaloupe and watermelon contain significant amounts of nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, and C. Melons contain electrolytes, namely potassium, and many more vitamins and minerals. Just remove all seeds before sharing this sweet snack with your dog.
Are all fruits good for dogs?
No! There are a few fruits that can be toxic to dogs. Additionally, some dogs may be more sensitive to new foods than others so it is recommended that pet owners consult their vet with any questions before making diet changes.
Potentially dangerous fruits include:
- It’s well known that dogs should NEVER eat grapes. Grapes and raisins are very toxic to any dog. Experts have not yet identified the exact toxic substance in this fruit, but it is known that the risks associated with ingesting just a few grapes range from digestive issues to acute kidney failure.
- During the holidays, make sure you only share plain, unsweetened cranberries in small quantities. Cranberries are not toxic to dogs, however, there are several risks:
- Most dried cranberries contain tons of sugar and are often mixed with raisins.
- Cranberry juice could be mixed with grape juice.
- Prepared cranberry dishes often contain sugar and alcohol.
- Cranberries can cause upset stomach, especially in larger quantities.
- Citrus fruits are technically edible for dogs, however, the sugar and acid may upset their stomachs. While the flesh of the fruit is fairly safe in a small amount, the peels and seeds can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset.
Other important facts to keep in mind:
- Many fruits are high in fiber and sugar, so it is important to only feed dogs fruit in moderation to avoid causing stomach problems.
- Dogs that are overweight or diabetic should not eat fruit because the natural sugars will affect blood sugar levels and increase caloric intake.
- Wash fruit thoroughly to prevent your dog from ingesting harmful bacteria that could be on the surface of the fruit.
- Peel fruit with tough skins or rinds that could cause choking or digestive issues.
- If your dog eats his food quickly or in big gulps, reduce his risk of choking by finely dicing or pureeing the fruit.
- Seeds and pits pose a major choking risk! On top of that, many seeds or pits contain chemicals that convert to cyanide when the body processes them. This compound can be found in the seeds and pits of apples, apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, mangoes, and more. Be sure to remove these before feeding fruit to your dog. And, as always, watch your dog as they eat fruit just in case.
- There may be fruits in your own backyard that could be toxic to your dog. Keep in mind that citrus fruits, whole fruits with pits and seeds, and wild berries are potentially dangerous.
- Share dried fruits only as an occasional treat. Since most of the water is removed from dried fruit, the natural sugars are much more concentrated. And remember, always check for stray pits and seeds and NEVER share raisins with your dog.
- Avoid sharing canned fruit with your dog since it often has added sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.
- Introduce new fruits gradually. Observe how your dog responds to each new item and look out for fruit allergy or toxicity symptoms, which may include skin itching, loss of fur, vomiting, etc.
What are the best ways to share fruit with your dog?
Fruit can be shared with your dog as a snack, incorporated into their dry food, or made into homemade treats! Just make sure to follow the tips above.
Ideas and recipes:
There are lots of ways to introduce fruit into your dog’s diet. One of the easiest ways is our Yitto Paws Granola Bites which come in three fruit-filled flavors: strawberry, blueberry, and peach!
Also, check out our founder’s recipes for Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats with Blueberries (the inspiration for Yitto Paws Granola Bites) and Blueberry Banana Frozen Dog Treats on his personal blog.