As a human we all know that fruit and veg are essential for a healthy diet. But have you considered feeding the same to your dog? Every animal has its own nutritional needs but it’s not the same for every pet.
It’s pretty obvious that your rabbit is going to enjoy a carrot and that your parrot will love to nibble on a piece of mango. But surely dogs only need meat, right?
The answer may surprise you.
Some fruits and vegetables are good for your pet pooch and should be included as part of a healthy diet. Commercial pet treats are loaded with calories and artificial ingredients. So a piece of fruit can make a delicious and healthy alternative – and your dog will love it just as much!
If your four-legged friend is watching his waistline and you’re trying to cut back on surplus calories, fruit can help to supplement their diet. Including fruit and veg means they won’t go hungry even on a restricted meal plan. And they’ll still get a full complement of the all-important vitamins and minerals.
Before you dive right in and start piling up their bowl with the contents of the fruit and veg aisle from your local supermarket, just a word of caution. Some fruits and vegetables are dangerous for dogs and must be avoided at all costs.
If it all sounds confusing, never fear! We have the complete guide for fruit and dogs, including which ones are safe to include in their diet and which ones to avoid.
Can dogs eat bananas?
Yellow, bendy and delicious, bananas are a convenient fruit to carry around. Compared to other fruits they’re very filling. They can deliver an energy shot with just a few bites. If it’s good enough for tennis players then surely your dog will love bananas too?
The short answer is yes, bananas can make a good snack for dogs – but only in moderation. Bananas aren’t toxic so your furry friend can enjoy chomping down on the sweet, firm fruit.
As an occasional treat, bananas are a top choice for your dog. They’re packed with potassium as well as being a natural source of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. The presence of magnesium helps to absorb these vitamins as well as promoting bone growth.
Bananas are low in cholesterol and sodium so they’re often recommended by vets in place of high-fat or high-salt foods. They also contain a lot of fibre which helps the doggy digestive tract. Fibre helps to keep things moving and can ease gastrointestinal grumbles.
It’s all sounding very positive about bananas so far, but are there any drawbacks? Bananas are brimming with natural sugars. This is one of the reasons they’re such a good energy source for sports stars.
If your dog is diabetic or you’re trying to reduce his weight, too many bananas can pile on the pounds. Including a small amount won’t present a problem but it’s important to restrict the portion size.
Although bananas are good for digestion, in some dog they can cause constipation, especially if they eat a lot at once. The peel can also upset their tummy as it’s almost impossible to digest. There’s no need to panic as it’s not toxic but it’s not recommended to feed your dog banana peel in any form.
Can dogs eat blueberries?
Small, juicy and ripe, blueberries are a delicious addition to any meal and no doubt your pooch would think the same. If you’re wondering “are blueberries safe for my dog to eat?” you can relax as vets have given them the green light.
Often hailed as a superfood, blueberries are often included in commercial dog formulas because of their nutritional content. This means you can certainly feed them to your dog too, as long as you bear a few important facts in mind.
The calorie content of blueberries is extremely low so they’re an excellent choice for any weight-conscious pup. You can freely use them as a training reward. Or an incentive without worrying that you’re feeding your dog a calorie-laden treat.
Many fruits are high in sugar but that’s not the case for blueberries. With a relatively low sugar content, with dogs diagnosed with diabetes can enjoy them (but it’s worth checking with your vet first).
Blueberries are a superfood because of the number of health benefits they offer. This is just the same for your canine pal who reaps the rewards of this clever little berry.
Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, Vitamin C and fiber. Scientists are only just beginning to appreciate the full extent of protection this provides. Some of the diseases and conditions blueberries guard against include pain from arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
Even colds and viruses, aging in the brain and possible even cancer. As a more general effect, blueberries boost the immune system leaving your dog feeling fighting fit!
The potential problems with blueberries are few compared to the plus points but it’s important to understand they can still cause problems. The high fiber content of the berries causes diarrhea and abdominal discomfort for some dogs, particularly if eaten in large quantities.
When eaten fresh, the softness and small size means there’s virtually no choking risk. However, if they’re frozen, smaller dogs and young pups could choke on the berries when hard so caution should be exercised.
It’s important not to mix up natural blueberries with artificially flavored products; these will contain chemicals and sugars that may not be good for your pet. Additionally, human products that contain natural blueberries often include sugar so check labels very carefully before sharing with your dog.
Can dogs eat apple?
Crisp, refreshing and delicious, a crunchy apple is the perfect snack on a warm summer’s day. But can dogs eat apple too? The good news is yes, there’s no reason to refrain from sharing your rosy red apples with your furry friend.
While apples are full of nutrients like any food, there are some restrictions to be aware of.
Apples are very affordable all year round and being low in calories too means they made an excellent snack for your dog. Whether you’re giving them as a treat or a training reward, apples are excellent choice for your pooch.
With low levels of protein and a high fiber content, they can help boost digestion and can be tolerated by animals on a low-protein and/or low-fat diet. This can be especially useful for older animals or dogs with certain conditions.
You’ll find Vitamins A, K and C in apples as well as good levels of phosphorus and calcium. This helps prevent cancer and eases the pain of joint disease, a common problem for some breeds. Fed-up with your furry friend having stinky breath? Apples improve dental health as well as making their breath smell sweet!
The sweet taste of ripe apples comes from the high levels of sugar the fruit contains so they’re not a good idea for a dog diagnosed with diabetes. It can also be problematic if your dog has cancer. If your dog has a medical condition of any kind, seek advice from your vet before feeding your pooch apples.
Although the high fiber content is a good thing, it means too many apples can give you dog a painful tummy. Even if your hound is in tip-top condition, avoid feeding him too many apples to prevent gastrointestinal upsets.
However, the main problem in apples comes from the pips inside. These contain a small amount of cyanide which in a large enough quantity could poison your pet. As there are only trace levels, your dog would have to eat a lot of apple seeds to suffer the toxic effects but nevertheless, it’s best avoided.
Some sources suggest the stem is also toxic, so this should not be fed to your dog either.
Apples can be easily eaten by dogs of all sizes but don’t give them the core – even without the pips. Apple cores are very hard which makes it difficult for your dog to swallow and chew them. Even if he does manage it, the firmness of the core can cause a gastrointestinal blockage so don’t risk it!
You’ll probably find many items which are apple-flavored but contain many other ingredients too. Watch out for the addition of sugar or xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can make your dog very poorly. It’s not a good idea to feel your dog apple-flavored foods unless they have specifically been made for animals.
Can dogs eat grapes?
Unlike the other fruits on our list, there’s a very simple answer to the question “can dogs eat grapes?” – it’s a resounding no. Grapes, and also raisins, are extremely toxic for dogs of any size and must be avoided at all costs.
There is no “safe” amount of grapes for any dog to eat and each animal reacts differently. In some dogs even a small number of grapes could cause serious harm – even if your dog is large. You cannot rely on the size of your dog to offer protection against the toxicity of grapes as the reaction to this food is so variable in canines.
Grapes cause kidney failure in dogs, shutting the organs down. The symptoms of grape poisoning to be vigilant for include vomiting, dehydration, appetite loss and reduced urination. If your pet shows any of these signs, you should seek veterinary attention immediately.
Even if your dog has managed to eat grapes without suffering a toxic reaction, there’s non guarantee they will react the same way if it happens again. The unequivocal advice for dog owners is to avoid feeding your animal grapes completely.
Any other factors to consider?
Even though we’ve listed a number of different fruits which are considered to be safe for many dogs, it can vary from one animal to another. Just because some fruits are usually safe doesn’t mean that your dog won’t have an allergic reaction.
If you’re feeding a safe fruit to your dog for the first time, begin by only offering a small quantity and watch closely for any adverse reaction. Symptoms you might spot include sneezing, coughing, hives or swelling.
In extreme cases an allergic reaction could cause problems with your dog’s breathing. If you spot an allergic reaction, stop feeding your dog the fruit immediately and contact your vet for medical advice.
Aside from allergic reactions, it’s also important to consider the potential effect of pesticides and other chemicals on your pet. Choosing an organic source and washing thoroughly before feeding the fruit to your dog can help to minimize any unwanted exposure.
This is much more important for fruits where the peel is edible, such as apples but less essential for bananas and other fruits where only the soft inner is ate.
Any change to your dog’s diet should be introduced slowly and gradually, preventing gastrointestinal upset. If your pooch isn’t used to a high-fiber diet suddenly switching to lots of fruit could cause serious distress. Meat should still make up the majority of your dog’s food and fruit should just be a small portion of this.
Dogs have strong stomachs and are able to eat foods that would make a human very ill. However, mold is the exception to this and you should check any fruit carefully for signs of infestations or spoiling. If in doubt, throw it out – it’s not worth making your pooch poorly for the sake of a few cents.
Feed your dog with confidence
Hopefully now you’ve got a good idea of some of the fruits that your dog can safely eat and what to avoid. Introduced carefully as part of a balanced diet, your furry friend will thank you for the inclusion of such delicious treats!