Can Dogs Have Plums?

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When eating a healthy snack, you may wonder whether or not you can share some with your canine companion. For example, can a dog eat plums? Some fruit is safe and even healthy for dogs. However, while a dog can eat the flesh of plums in moderation, it's usually best to avoid feeding them plums because of the risk of cyanide poisoning, choking, and high sugar content. 

Can a dog have plums? Dogs can eat plums in moderation when properly prepared by removing the stem, seeds, and pit. However, there's no reason to share this fruit with your dog, even though it may offer a few health benefits. When determining whether to share plum with your dog, always weigh the benefits versus the risks and be prepared to monitor your dog for signs of an adverse reaction. 

Health Benefits Of Plums For Dogs

There are risks associated with feeding your dog plums. However, you have to ask yourself similar questions when feeding your dog any human food. Some are safe, and some aren't. For example, can dogs eat cheese? It depends. Meanwhile, can dogs eat fish? Technically, yes. But can dogs eat grapes? Absolutely not. 

So, can dogs eat plums, and are plums safe for dogs? The answer is complicated because plums contain trace amounts of cyanide, and the pits are choking hazards. Still, the flesh is considered safe for dogs in moderation. Potential health benefits of feeding your dog plums include: 

Fiber

All dogs need fiber in their diets, and plums can promote healthy digestion. However, your dog should already get all the fiber they need from their regular dog food, so adding plum to their diets may increase their fiber too much, causing GI issues like constipation or diarrhea. Meanwhile, if your dog needs more fiber in their diet, healthier alternatives, such as canned pumpkin, have fewer risks than plums. 

Vitamins

Plums contain many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, which supports eye and skin health, and vitamin C, an essential antioxidant that can prevent free radical damage. However, again, your dog already gets all the vitamins they need from their regular dog food. If your dog is deficient in nutrients, you can consult your vet for a safer alternative than plums, such as doggy vitamins or a more nutritional diet. 

Hydration

Like many fruits and vegetables, plums have a high water content that can keep your dog hydrated, especially in the summer. But, of course, your dog should also have access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. In addition, if your dog is experiencing dehydration, you should consult your vet because it can lead to dangerous health issues. 

Risks of feeding dog plums

Risks Of Plums For Dogs

These three benefits may make plums look like a beneficial snack for your dog, but don't let them mislead you. Are plums safe for dogs? Not really, because they contain cyanide, have high sugar levels, and can be a choking hazard. You shouldn't feed your dog plum because it's not worth the risk. But are plums bad for dogs? Ultimately, there isn't any nutritional benefit your dog gets from eating plums because they should already get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need from their regular diets. A few risks to consider when feeding plums to dogs include:

  • Choking: Plum pits are a choking hazard for dogs. If you give your dog the plum pit, they can easily try to chew or swallow it, potentially causing it to get lodged in their throat. In addition, even if they can swallow the pit, it can create a dangerous intestinal blockage that may require surgery to correct. Therefore, always keep plums and pits away from curious dogs who may try to eat them. 
  • Sugar Content: Plums are a low glycemic index fruit, but that doesn't mean they're safe for dogs. Since plums contain sugar, they can cause spikes in blood sugar that can be dangerous to dogs. In addition, some dogs shouldn't eat human food at all, especially those with underlying health conditions like obesity and diabetes, because the sugar content can cause life-threatening blood sugar spikes and weight gain. 
  • Poisoning: The flesh of the fruit is generally safe for dogs. However, the rest of the plum plant is not. Plum trees are toxic to dogs because they contain cyanide. If you have a plum tree in your yard, you should prevent your dog from accessing it to prevent the possibility of poisoning. In addition, you should never feed your dog anything other than the fruit's flesh because the pit and stem contain the toxin. 

To answer your question, "Can dogs have plums?" you'll have to consider everything we've just discussed. Remember, the flesh of the plum is considered safe for most healthy dogs in moderation. However, the pit, stem, and leaves are associated with many risks. In addition, there's a small risk a dog may be allergic to plums. Plums can also cause digestive problems, especially in dogs with more sensitive stomachs. Therefore, we recommend avoiding sharing this fruit with your dog. 

Luckily, there are several fruits that are safe for dogs you can share instead, including apples, blueberries, and mangos. Still, feeding your pet human food offers no additional nutritional benefits because they already get the nutrients they need from their regular diets. If you're concerned about your dog's diet and believe it's not providing them with the vitamins and minerals they need for optimal health, consult a vet to help you find the best dog food for your pet. 

Plum Pits Are Toxic For Dogs

We've already discussed the risk of poisoning when dogs consume plums, but plum poisoning is a serious condition that can result in death, so it's important to understand this risk of feeding your dog plums. Plums are considered toxic for dogs and cats. The stems, leaves, and seeds contain cyanide which can cause several devastating symptoms, including shock.1 If your dog consumes any part other than the flesh of the plum, the toxic compounds can dissolve and spread throughout the bloodstream. When ingested, cyanide and other compounds found in the plum plant are incredibly toxic to dogs. 

Signs of plum pit toxicity

Signs Of Plum Poisoning

If your dog consumes a small piece of plum flesh, they're unlikely to get poisoned because cyanide and other toxins are typically found in higher concentrations in the pit, stem, and leaves. However, you should still monitor your pet for signs of plum poisoning, which may include: 

  • Dilated pupils
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panting
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Shock1

If you believe your dog is experiencing plum poisoning, they should be taken to the nearest emergency vet clinic as soon as possible. Don't wait to monitor their symptoms further, even if you're unsure how much plum your dog consumed. Once the vet examines your dog, they can determine the best treatment, which typically consists of detoxification and observation. 

Taking your dog to the vet as soon as possible is crucial because waiting too long can increase the risk of death. If you can get treatment immediately, their chances of recovery are much better. Still, your dog may have to spend the night at the vet if they've been diagnosed with poisoning. 

Of course, suspected poisoning isn't the only cause for concern. For example, if your dog consumes a plum pit, they should be taken to the vet as soon as possible to determine whether there's an obstruction, which can be fatal if not treated as soon as possible. 

How to safely feed your dog plums

How to Safely Feed Your Dog Plums

If you choose to share plum with your pet, you should take extra precautions to prevent poisoning and reduce the risk of choking and obstructions. Here are a few tips to help you safely share plums with your dog:

  • Wash it: Always rinse fruit and vegetables before eating them or sharing them with your pet to remove pesticides, dirt, and germs that can harm their health. 
  • Remove the pit: Always remove the pit before giving your dog any piece of plum. You should toss the pit directly in the trash instead of leaving it on the counter where your dog might be able to get to it. If possible, take your plum pit directly outside to your garbage to ensure your dog won't try to sneak into your indoor trash can when you're not looking. 
  • Cut it into small pieces: Plum flesh is soft, but it can still be a choking hazard, especially for dogs who like to scarf down their food with little chewing. Therefore, you should always cut the plum into bite-sized pieces for your dog, depending on their size, so even if they don't chew the plum, they'll be able to swallow it easily. 
  • Monitor them: Even though you've removed the pit to avoid potential poisoning, you should still monitor your pet for signs of adverse reactions. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs, and fruit doesn't agree with them. Meanwhile, others may be allergic to plums. Monitor your dog's feces and behavior over the next day to determine whether they've negatively reacted to the plum. 

If your dog shows any illness, such as diarrhea or vomiting, consult your vet for the next steps. In some cases, your vet may suggest continuing to monitor your dog to determine whether or not their symptoms are improving. However, if they believe your dog is experiencing poisoning or obstruction, they'll ask you to take them to a clinic immediately. 

Dog looking back at camera while standing next to a fruit pie

Final Notes

Remember, plums aren't considered a healthy or safe treat for your dog because they carry too much risk. There are healthier fruits you can share with your dog with fewer risks to their health. For example, if your dog eats a small piece of plum off your plate, they likely won't experience severe side effects. However, they're at risk of poisoning if they consume the pit or any part of the plum plant. 

As a pet parent, you must always weigh the risks versus the benefits when feeding your dog anything other than their regular dog food. Consulting a vet before you feed your dog human food can help you determine whether it's safe and how much to feed them. Dutch vets are experts in pet nutrition and health. Whether you're wondering, "Can dogs eat sweet potatoes?" or you're looking for nutrition advice, we can help. Try Dutch today. 

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