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Published: 10/02/2023, edited: 10/02/2023
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We’ve all seen those puppy dog eyes looking up at us while we’re eating. No matter what food we’re enjoying, our dogs want a bite of it. While we know there’s food we definitely shouldn’t feed them — like chocolate — one question might still be unanswered: can dogs eat fruit and vegetables?
We’re probably all thinking that since fruits and veggies are healthy for us, it’s got to be the same for our pups — right?
Well, actually, no. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that do have many benefits for our dogs, but some are poisonous to them.
So, you’re probably wondering, what fruit can dogs eat that’s both safe and beneficial for them? And more importantly, what can’t dogs eat?
What fruits can dogs eat?
What can dogs eat? Dogs are omnivorous — meaning they eat both meat and plants. Fruit and vegetables offer many nutritional benefits for your dog. So, if they enjoy the taste, it’s worth incorporating them into their diet.
Can dogs taste fruity food? Well, as fruit is naturally sweet, most dogs will probably enjoy eating fruit but you know your pup the best. When giving your pup fruit for the first time, watch if they eat the fruit with excitement (think about an upright tail or a tail wag). Your pup might appear alert, beg for more, or bark or whine for more food.`
The fruits dogs can eat include:
- Apples: Apples contain vitamin A and C, calcium, phosphorus as well as antioxidants. They’re low-calorie but high in fiber, which helps to manage their weight. Plus, they help to prevent the build-up of plaque and freshen your pup’s breath.
- Bananas: Some benefits of bananas are vitamins B6 and C, biotin, magnesium, fiber as well as potassium, all of which are good for your dog’s digestion and heart.
- Blueberries: These juicy berries contain vitamins C and K, fiber, phytochemicals, minerals and antioxidants as well as being a low-calorie snack. They contribute to healthy digestion, help preserve brain health, prevent cell damage, plus they fight both cancer and heart disease.
- Cantaloupe: Fiber, vitamins A, C, B6 and potassium are all found in this fruit. It’s a low-calorie snack that is mostly formed of water — which helps with hydration. Antioxidants prevent cancers and disease while slowing down the aging process. It also helps with digestion.
- Cranberries: Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties in cranberries prevent harmful bacteria such as E.coli from growing. They help to keep your pup’s teeth white, breath fresh, and even prevent gum disease. They can also prevent UTIs.
- Kiwis: Vitamins A, C, E and K as well as potassium, calcium, beta carotene and lutein are all in this delicious fruit. A key benefit is that they help to support eye health.
- Mango: The fiber found in mangoes helps to improve digestion while it also contains antioxidants and minerals including A, B6, C and E.
- Oranges: This citrus fruit benefits from vitamins A and C, fiber, carotene, potassium and magnesium. It supports bone growth, vision and the digestive system.
- Peaches: Vitamins A, C and E, fiber, potassium, and magnesium are all in this juicy fruit.
- Pears: This fruit is low-calorie. It helps to aid digestion thanks to the fiber and has nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C.
- Pineapple: Vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron and vitamin C are all found in pineapples.
- Raspberries: These berries are high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C while being low in both sugar and calories.
- Strawberries: High in folic acid, magnesium and potassium, strawberries support your dog’s immune system due to the vitamin c and antioxidants. The polyphenols are anti-inflammatory and can fight cancer and disease. They also help to keep teeth white and their breath fresh.
- Watermelon: Vitamin A, B6 and C help with their vision, bone growth and cognitive function as well as boosting immunity. It also contains fiber, potassium and lycopene — an antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer. It’s low calorie and is more than 90% water, perfect for hydration.
You want the food your dog eats to be beneficial to their health as well as being tasty. Check out our friends over at Dog Food Advisor for advice such as the best fresh dog food and the best natural dog food.
What vegetables are good for dogs?
Now you know what fruits are good for dogs, here are some of the vegetables you might like to feed them.
- Broccoli: This superfood is a source of protein and fiber. It has calcium, iron and folic acid as well as vitamins A, C, E and K. This reduces the risk of cancer and helps their heart health.
- Brussels sprouts: Another superfood for your dog? Yes please! With brussels sprouts, chronic disease and cancer have a higher chance of being prevented due to the potassium and folate alongside vitamins A, B1 and B6.
- Carrots: If your puppy is teething, carrots are ideal pain relief. For adults, it also improves their dental health by removing bacteria. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The latter removes toxins from the intestinal tract and stimulates movement here, as well as reducing cholesterol. Carrots also benefit from vitamins A and C, which prevent cells being damaged, improves vision and keeps their skin and coats healthy.
- Celery: Fat-free, low-calorie, with vitamins A, C and K plus potassium and folate, celery is great for teeth and gums as well as dog’s that need to lose a little weight.
- Cucumber: Fiber, potassium, magnesium and protein plus vitamins A, B1, B6, C and D are just a few of the benefits. Cucumber supports the immune system, is good for skin and coat, prevents bad breath as well as regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels which helps dogs with diabetes. It’s also anti-inflammatory which is good for dogs with arthritis.
- Green beans: They offer protein while being low in fat. Magnesium, iron, potassium and vitamins are all in green beans. The antioxidants fight cancer while they also lower blood sugar levels, ideal for diabetic dogs.
- Peas: Vitamins A, C and K as well as minerals including iron and phosphorus are all in peas. They are high in fiber and protein and contain lutein. As well as being low-calorie they benefit skin, heart and eyes.
- Sweet potatoes: They are very high in fiber which can help their digestive system including with constipation. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this delicious vegetable can fight against disease and cancer, support your furry friend’s vision and boost the immune system.
While all these fruit and vegetables are safe and non-toxic for dogs to eat, they should all be fed in moderation. This is partly due to the high sugar content found in a lot of fruit and the fact that too much could also result in stomach issues such as diarrhea.
It’s always worth speaking to your vet before feeding your pup any new food as there may be a health reason they shouldn’t eat it. You should also introduce it slowly to ensure that they aren’t allergic to the new food.
The benefits of fruits and veggies for your dog
Supplementing your dog’s regular diet with fruits and vegetables can greatly benefit your pup. They’re full of disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, so those benefits include:
Boost nutrition — Your dog's dog food has the nutrition they require to grow, play, and thrive, including lean proteins, fat, and carbohydrates. Adding fruits and vegetables to these meals provides several additional vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids not always found in processed dog food, and can give them a nutrition boost. Some dogs, such as large breeds, require additional vitamins to aid in rapid bone growth, and many fruits and vegetables are an excellent way to meet these dietary requirements.
Fights Disease — Fruits and vegetables are filled with antioxidants and vitamins, which helps your dog fight disease. Antioxidants are powerful at fighting abnormal cell growth and the free radicals your dog's body naturally produces, and counteracting the damage these free radicals do to your dog’s healthy cells. Antioxidants are also known for fighting against cancers and boosting your dog's immunity, so they are less likely to become ill. Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet is an easy way to fight disease naturally.
Keeps the Body Hydrated — Fruits and vegetables are naturally filled with water your dog needs. While keeping your dog hydrated is essential for overall health, it is especially beneficial for fighting kidney disease and dysfunction. Keeping your dog hydrated can also help prevent bladder stones from forming within your dog's bladder, kidney stones from forming within the kidneys, and blockages from occurring from the stones. Always offer your dog clean and fresh water, and supplement their diet with fruits and vegetables for their overall health.
Offers Natural Fiber — Fruits and vegetables contain natural fiber which is better for the body than the processed fiber found in most commercial dog foods. Plant fiber is highly nutritious and also better for your dogs than fiber found in grains. Soluble fiber that comes from vegetables is digested later in your dog's system, helping to keep your dog regular and fight diseases in your dog's digestive system.
What can dogs not eat?
You know what your dog can eat. Now, you need to know what foods are bad for dogs.
- Avocado: Technically your dog can eat avocado - but it’s best not to give them any. It contains a fungicidal toxin called Persin. It’s mostly in the pits, skin, leaves and bark but can also be found in the flesh in smaller amounts (higher if it’s not ripe.) While it’s more unlikely in dogs than other animals, there is a chance it can cause serious health issues.
- Cherries: Again, technically dogs can eat the flesh, but the leaves, pit and stem contain cyanide which is poisonous. So, it’s best to avoid entirely just to be on the safe side, especially as it would be easy for a dog to eat the whole cherry. The pit is also a choking hazard.
- Garlic: Heads up! This is very poisonous to dogs and can damage the red blood cells as well as causing stomach issues and respiratory problems. Powdered garlic is particularly dangerous for dogs.
- Grapes: Anything that contains grapes (including raisins) are very poisonous to dogs. It can cause severe kidney failure and can be fatal so they need to be seen by a vet immediately if they consume even one.
- Mushrooms: It’s wild mushrooms you need to be particularly aware of. They are very toxic for dogs. If they get hold of them, it can lead to kidney and liver failure, which could be fatal.
- Onions: Like garlic, this allium species is also toxic for pups and can damage red blood cells. This is particularly dangerous for Japanese breeds including Akitas and Shiba Inus.
- Tomatoes: Your dog can eat ripe tomatoes, but you must avoid unripe tomatoes as well as the stem and leaves which are toxic to your dog and can cause gastrointestinal upset.
If you suspect your dog has eaten food that is poisonous or dangerous to them then they need to be seen by a vet as soon as possible. Browse and compare the best pet insurance plans to make sure you are covered.
How to feed fruits and vegetables to your dog
Firstly, even if the fruit is safe for them to eat, you must remove the seeds, pits and core. Although the fruit may not be poisonous, the seeds and pits are while the cores including stems and leaves can be choking hazards.
For the same reason, you should also peel the skin off fruit such as bananas and melon. If it’s a part of the fruit we wouldn’t eat, dogs shouldn’t have this either.
Most can be fed to them either raw or cooked - although some of the tougher vegetables may need to be cooked to soften them and make it easier for your dog to digest.
Then, make sure you wash it thoroughly. This will remove any traces of fertilizer or pesticide.
Once you’ve done this, you want to cut the fruit and vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces.
Here are a few ways you can feed them to your dog:
- Offer a couple of pieces as a treat.
- Mash or cut it up into their food, either raw or cooked.
- Use it as a reward for training.
- Freeze for a refreshing treat on a hot day.
- Make it into a delicious smoothie.
- Search for a dog-friendly recipe and bake it into a treat.
Do you have a wellness plan for your pooch? It covers routine examinations of your pet which are the ideal time to talk to the vet about what they can and can’t eat.