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Is it safe for dogs to eat fruit?

For humans, fruit can be a relatively healthy way to get indulge in a bit of a sugar hit while still getting some vitamins and fibre in the bargain.  

But for dogs, fruit is usually not the best choice. Some fruits, like grapes, are toxic to dogs and even small quantities can be dangerous 

Even non-toxic fruits may be high in sugar, which isn’t any better for our canine friends than it is for us even if it comes from a natural source. For breeds prone to weight gain or dental problems, the effects of too much sugar can be particularly unhealthy. Diabetic dogs should not be given any fruit unless directed by a veterinary surgeon. 

That said, some fruits given occasionally in small quantities can be a sweet treat for your dog.  

But even the fruits listed as ‘safe’ below can be hard on your pup’s digestion if they eat too much. Always be careful when introducing new foods to your dog, and don’t add too many new foods too frequently.  

And be mindful of potential choking hazards – small berries, seeds and pits can be dangerous even if the fruit flesh is edible. 

Which fruits are safe for dogs?

  • Apples

Apples are a good source of vitamins, fibre, and malic acid, which can contribute to keeping dogs’ teeth clean. But be sure not to feed pets the core, stem, or seeds as these contain cyanide – which is just as harmful to dogs as it is to people. 

  • Bananas

Bananas are a great source of potassium, bananas are safe for dogs as long as the peel is removed.  

  • Mango

Vitamin-packed mangoes are safe to eat, but the large pit should be removed, as should the skin, which can irritate the stomach. (Fun fact: mango skin contains urushiol, the same chemical that gives poison ivy and poison oak their itchy properties).  

  • Melon

The flesh of cantaloupes, honeydew, watermelon, and other melon varieties are safe for dogs to eat. With the fruits’ high water content, they can be a good option for hot summer days when hydration is key. Not all rinds may be fully digestible, though, and they may cause intestinal blockage. 

  • Orange

Unlike humans, dogs can synthesize vitamin C within their livers, so don’t generally need the extra boost that oranges provide. But if the seeds and skin are removed, the fruit won’t do them any harm. 

  • Pineapple

If the tough skin and core are removed, small portions of pineapple are a natural source of bromelain, which some studies suggest can be helpful for digestive issues (though if you’re concerned about your dog, always see a vet first). 

  • Strawberries

Another source of malic acid as well as fibre, strawberries are a healthy treat in reasonable quantities.  

Which fruits can be dangerous for dogs?

  • Avocados

The whole avocado plant (fruit, skin, leaves, bark and stems) contain persin, a substance which is toxic to most animals, dogs included. The concentration of persin is relatively low in the fruit’s flesh, but still too much to be considered safe to feed to dogs. Signs of persin toxicity include vomiting and diarrhoea.   

  • Cherries

Many parts of the cherry plant, including stems, leaves and pit, contain toxic cyanide.  

  • Grapes

Grapes (including raisins, sultanas, and currants) are some of the most dangerous fruits for dogs. Recent research suggests that tartaric acid may be the compound that makes them so toxic. The concentration of tartaric acid in any fruit varies and is impossible to predict, and dogs’ tolerance also varies, so even one grape can be an emergency. 

  • Peaches, plums, and nectarines

As with cherries, the stones both contain cyanide and are potential choking hazards. 

  • Lemons and limes

The plants and rinds contain linalool and limonene and a phototoxic compound psoralen, all of which can be toxic for dogs in large quantities. But most dogs are too put off by the taste to eat much! 

Is it time to call a vet?

If you are concerned about any fruits that your dog has ingested, you can call Video Vets Now to discuss potential risk to your pet. If they are showing any of these serious symptoms contact your vet or, if out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital.

  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Restlessness or hyperactivity
  • Tremors or incoordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures