Dogs can eat a variety of foods because they're omnivores. In the wild, wolves eat everything from animal meat to berries on trees and even grasses. While your dog is a domesticated animal, they still require a diet that's a combination of meat and plant products for a well-balanced diet. But, can dogs eat fruit? Yes, but it depends on the type of fruit.
What fruit can dogs have? Many fruits are safe for dogs, but there are some they shouldn't eat due to toxins. Of course, as long as your dog is eating high-quality dog food, there's no need to supplement their diet with fruits, vegetables, or other human foods. Many vets would advise against feeding your dog fruit regularly because your dog is already getting all the nutrients they need from their diets. That being said, pet parents like sharing food with their pets, and it can feel like a great way to bond with your dog. However, before you share something off your plate, you must ensure it's safe for them.
Ultimately, some fruits are safe and non-toxic to pets, while others can be dangerous to their health. If you're wondering what can't dogs eat, check out our list of fruits that are safe and unsafe for dogs.
- What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?
- What Fruits Can Dogs Not Eat?
- How Much Fruit Should Your Dog Eat?
- How To Feed Fruit To Your Dog
- Final Notes
What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?
Many fruits are non-toxic and even healthy for dogs. However, always feed these fruits in moderation; all fruit contains sugar, which can lead to weight gain and health problems like diabetes. So, what fruits can dogs eat? Check out this list:
Apples are a crunchy treat for dogs that contain vitamins A and C and tons of fiber to improve digestion.1 They're also low in fat and protein, so they're a good option for older dogs and those with health conditions like pancreatitis that require them to avoid fatty foods. When feeding your dog apples, always remove the seeds and core because they contain trace amounts of cyanide. Additionally, the pit can be a choking hazard.
Depending on your dog, you may also choose to remove the skin. The apple peel contains high amounts of fiber. While fiber can benefit your dog's digestion, adding too much fiber to their diet too quickly can cause adverse side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.
Bananas are also safe for dogs in moderation because they're low in calories and high in beneficial nutrients like potassium, vitamins, biotin, and fiber.1 In addition, they're low in sodium but contain high sugar levels, so they should only be given in moderation. Bananas are also a great snack for dogs with tooth pain because they're easy to chew and swallow. Remember to always remove the peel since it's difficult for dogs to digest and can be a choking hazard.
Blueberries are a superfood packed with nutrients for your dog, including antioxidants that prevent free radical damage and support overall health.1 They also contain fiber to improve digestion, and they're small enough so they're easy to prepare. You should always wash blueberries before feeding them to your dog.
The small size of blueberries makes them the perfect treat for dogs. You can also turn them into food toppers for picky eaters or freeze them to keep your dog cool on a hot summer day. But, of course, they could be a choking hazard for small dogs, so if you have a toy breed or small dog, consider cutting blueberries up for them.
Most melons are safe for dogs, including:
- Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe has high water content and is low in calories.1 Unfortunately, even though it's non-toxic to dogs, it's high in sugar, so it should only be an occasional treat to prevent weight gain in dogs. Dogs with diabetes should not eat cantaloupe because the high sugar levels can cause blood sugar spikes.
- Watermelon: Watermelon is a popular summer treat you might wonder if you can share with your dog. However, you should always remove the rind and seeds because they can cause intestinal blockages. Watermelon is packed with vitamins A, B6, and C.1
- Honeydew: Honeydew is similar to cantaloupe and contains many vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamins C and B6. However, similar to cantaloupe, honeydew should only be fed in moderation because of its high sugar content.
Cranberries are another safe option for dogs, but some dogs won't like them because they're tart.1 However, if your dog likes cranberries, you'll be glad to know that both fresh and dried cranberries are safe for most dogs. Since cranberries contain a lot of sugar, they can cause GI issues and lead to weight gain so they should only be fed in small amounts.
Cucumbers are a fruit, but they may also be classified as vegetables. No matter how you classify them, they're one of the healthiest snacks for dogs.
Mangos are another non-toxic treat for dogs that contains tons of essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C, and E.1 Before feeding your dog mango, always remove the pit and peel. The pit contains trace amounts of cyanide and may be a choking hazard. In addition, the peel is difficult to digest and may cause intestinal blockages.
Oranges are another healthy snack for dogs in moderation. However, dogs aren't the biggest fans of citrus fruit because of its strong smell. However, if your dog likes oranges, they're an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.1 When feeding oranges to your dog, always remove the peel and seeds. The peel can be a choking hazard, and it's difficult to digest, so it could cause GI issues or blockages. Depending on the size of your dog, you may also cut the flesh into smaller pieces to avoid a choking hazard.
Peaches are also safe for dogs and are filled with fiber and vitamin A.1 Always remove the pit and immediately toss it into the trash where your dog can't get it because it contains trace amounts of cyanide. However, the skin and flesh of the peach are safe for dogs, with the skin being more easily digestible than the skin of other fruits. Unfortunately, not all peaches are safe for dogs; canned peaches typically contain high amounts of sugar in the form of syrups, so they should be avoided.
Like peaches, pears are another healthy snack for dogs. They're high in vitamins C and K, copper, and fiber.1 When feeding pears to your dog, always remove the pit and seeds because they contain trace amounts of cyanide and can be a choking hazard. In addition, you should always cut pears into small chunks to avoid choking hazards. Like with peaches, you should always avoid canned pears as they contain added sugar and syrups.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit safe for dogs as long as you remove the peel and crown, which are dangerous choking hazards. This fruit contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but it also contains high levels of sugar. However, because pineapple contains high water content, it has a relatively low glycemic index. In addition, it contains bromelain, which can help dogs absorb protein.1
Coconut is another topical fruit that's safe for dogs. Coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can support a healthy coat and skin. However, coconut oil can cause GI issues, including diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating.6 Coconut contains antioxidants to support immune system function when ingested.
Pumpkin is often suggested for dogs with constipation and diarrhea because it supports healthy digestion. In addition, it can improve skin and coat health. However, you should never feed your dog pumpkin pie filling because it contains added sugar. Instead, try cooked pumpkin or purchase canned pumpkin made from 100% pumpkin with no other ingredients.1
Raspberries are also considered safe for dogs in moderation. They're packed with antioxidants and low in sugar and calories. They also contain fiber, which can improve digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties.1 Raspberries should only be fed to dogs in moderation because they contain trace amounts of xylitol, a toxic compound that is poisonous to dogs. Remember, the smaller your dog is, the less xylitol it takes to poison them, so it may be best to err on the side of caution and skip this fruit altogether if you have a small or toy breed.
Strawberries are another delicious treat for dogs because they're loaded with vitamin C and fiber.1 However, they contain relatively high levels of sugar, so they should only be fed in moderation. Some should not eat strawberries because of their high sugar content, so always talk to your vet before feeding your dog any new foods that may be high in sugar.
What Fruits Can Dogs Not Eat?
While many fruits are safe for dogs, many are dangerous. Therefore, before you share any fruit with your dog, check with your vet to ensure your dog can safely eat it. Fruits dogs shouldn't eat include:
While avocados are a superfood for humans, it's not safe for dogs. The pit, skin, and leaves are dangerous because they contain a toxin called persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.1 While the flesh of the avocado contains less persin, it contains high amounts of fiber that can cause Gi issues, including gas and diarrhea. In addition, the pits and skin are potential choking hazards.
Cherries are another snack you should never share with dogs. Not only do they contain pits which are choking hazards and can cause intestinal blockages, but the cherry plant contains cyanide, which is toxic to dogs.1 Cyanide works by preventing oxygen from getting to the blood cells.1 Signs of cyanide poisoning in dogs include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Red gums
- Muscle spasms2
Grapes are another healthy snack for humans, but they should never be fed to dogs because they can lead to sudden kidney failure and death.1 Unfortunately, depending on your dog's size, even a single grape can be lethal. Small dogs are more at risk of being poisoned by a single grape, but any dog can experience symptoms of toxicity from eating grapes.3 If your dog eats a grape, they should be treated as soon as possible. Your vet may induce vomiting and offer supportive treatment in the form of IV fluids to help your dog's body expel the toxin.
Technically, lemons aren't toxic to dogs. However, they should still be avoided because they're acidic and can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea. Luckily, most dogs don't like citrus fruits, especially lemons, so your dog likely won't eat one on their own.
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade plant family, which contains a dangerous chemical compound called solanine. Solanine can hinder nerve impulses and damage the cells, leading to toxicity in dogs. In small amounts, ripe tomatoes are safe for dogs.4 However, because the plants themselves are toxic, dogs should avoid tomato plants in your garden. Tomato poisoning can occur when dogs ingest a large amount. However, smaller dogs and puppies are at a higher risk.
Tomato poisoning symptoms in dogs include:
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of appetite
- GI upset4
Luckily, tomato poisoning in dogs is rare. If your dog eats a small piece of tomato or a cherry tomato, they're unlikely to experience any negative side effects. Still, if you're worried about your dog's health, talk to a vet as soon as possible.
Many berries are safe for dogs. However, you should never let your dog eat wild berries, especially ones you can't identify.5 Wild berries may contain various toxins, pits, and chemicals that could harm your dog. For example, holly berries and salmon berries are dangerous for dogs and can be lethal in high quantities. Berries not safe for dogs include:
- Holly berries
- Poke berries
- Juniper berries
- Nightshade berries
- Dogwood berries
- Mistletoe berries
How Much Fruit Should Your Dog Eat?
How much fruit you feed your dog depends on several factors, including their size, weight, and current health. However, some dogs should not eat fruit at all. Treats should not make up more than 10% of a healthy dog's diet. Ultimately, they should already get all the nutrients they need from their regular dog food.5
Of course, the 10% rule is a general rule of thumb for healthy dogs. If your dog suffers from a medical issue, your vet may recommend never feeding your dog anything outside of their regular diet. For example, diabetic dogs may require a weight management diet. Always talk to your vet before giving your dog any new foods to ensure they're safe for them, whether or not they have an underlying health concern.
How To Feed Fruit To Your Dog
Not all dogs should have fruit, whether or not it's non-toxic. In addition, even if your dog can have a certain fruit, you should consider how it's prepared and always supervise when feeding them new foods.
Talk To Your Vet First
Talk to your vet before introducing anything new into your dog's diet. Some dogs should not eat any human foods, including fruit. For example, overweight dogs may be on a strict weight management plan and should not consume any fruit. All human foods, no matter how many vitamins and minerals they contain, increase your dog's caloric intake, especially if your dog is still getting their regular amount of treats. If you're not effectively monitoring what they eat, your vet may advise against your dog eating higher-calorie or high-sugar fruits.
Additionally, always contact your vet if you're unsure whether a certain type of fruit is safe for pets before giving it to them. If your dog accidentally ingests something that you believe may be toxic, you can call your vet for guidance and the next steps. Depending on the fruit they ate, and how much, your vet may recommend you monitor your pet or take them in for immediate treatment.
Even non-toxic foods must be prepared properly to prevent intestinal blockages and choking. How you prepare the fruit depends on the type of fruit and your dog's size. Always cut fruit for your dog into small pieces and remove the pit and skin if needed. Here are a few ways to prepare fruit based on the type:
- Apples: Remove the seeds and pit and cut apples into small enough pieces for your dog.
- Bananas: Remove the peel. Only feed bananas to dogs in moderation because they're high in sugar.
- Melons: Only feed the flesh in moderation because they're high in sugar. Never feed your dog the skin because it's a choking hazard, can cause intestinal blockages, and is difficult to digest.
- Cranberries: Only feed one or two at a time, as cranberries can cause diarrhea.
- Mango: Remove the pit and skin, which are both choking hazards and can cause blockages.
- Oranges: Most dogs don't like citrus fruits like oranges, but always remove the skin before sharing any with your pet.
- Peaches and pears: Avoid canned products that contain syrup and added sugar. Always remove the pit because it contains trace amounts of cyanide.
- Raspberries: Only feed dogs raspberries in moderation because they contain xylitol.
- Strawberries: Strawberries contain high levels of sugar, so they should not be a daily treat.7
Remember, your dog doesn't need any fruit in their diet to be healthy. Instead, they can get all the essential nutrients they need from their regular diets. Therefore, you should never share more than a few bites with your dog.
In addition, you should never try to force new foods on your dog. If your dog isn't interested in your food, there's no reason to try to make them eat it. Some dogs are picky eaters, while others may have been trained not to share any foods with people.
Monitor Your Pet
Feeding your dogs new food can cause GI issues because many dogs have sensitive stomachs. For example, fruit typically has high sugar and fiber content, both of which can cause GI issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. In addition, while food allergies to fruits are rare in dogs, they can happen. Since you won't know if your dog has a food allergy until they have a reaction, it's always best to start small and monitor your pet for any signs of illness over the next day or so.
Signs of toxicity in dogs include:
Unfortunately, sometimes your dog might eat food without your permission. Dogs don't know what foods are toxic to them and which aren't, so they may taste anything and everything they can get their paws on. If your dog eats something potentially toxic, don't wait to monitor them for signs of illness. Instead, contact your vet immediately because some toxicity symptoms can take time to develop while your dog gets sicker.
Good dog nutrition is essential for your pet’s health, including knowing which foods are safe and unsafe for your dog. While healthy dogs don’t need fruit to supplement their diet, pet parents may wish to share the occasional treat with their furry friends. Ultimately, you should clear any new foods with your veterinarian before feeding them to your dog.
Talk to a Dutch vet through our online vet care services to help you find the right food for your dog. We can help you determine the right types of foods for your dog depending on their age, weight, and current health. In addition, our licensed vets are available every day, including after hours, to address your concerns about your dog's health to help you become a better pet parent. Schedule your first appointment today.