Dogs are omnivorous animals and can obtain their needed nutrients from a variety of animal and plant foods. This is good news for fruit-loving dog owners who love sharing ripe, juicy treats with their four-legged best friends. Yet some fruits are better for dogs than others and a few are downright dangerous to feed Fido. Like any particular food, fruits should be fed in moderation and as part of a varied, nutritious diet.
Some fruits can cause severe illness, and even death, if fed to a dog. Avocado contains a fungicidal toxin called persin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Unknown toxins in grapes and currants can cause kidney damage. And the seeds in persimmons can inflame a dog’s small intestine. The dried version of any of these fruits, such as raisins or dried currants, should never be fed to a dog.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon and lime; and tropical fruits such as pineapple and banana may spark a dog’s interest. However, many dogs go no further than a sniff or a lick with citrus and tropical fruits. As similarly occurs in humans, some of these fruits may irritate a dogs’ digestive system due to their acidic nature. Yet none appear on the ASPCA’s list of People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.
Some dogs enjoy a bite or more of apples, pears, cherries or other temperate tree fruits. Small amounts of these fruits can be a nutritious treat or beneficial addition to a dog’s regular diet. These types of fruits are best fed raw, as part of a dog’s meal or as a special training snack. When introducing fruit or any new food to a dog, feed small quantities and carefully monitor your dog afterward to see how well the food is tolerated.
With all the superfruit status berries receive in the news, dog owners may be compelled to include them in their pet’s diet. Berries are safe for dogs to eat. They do not show up on the Merck Veterinary Manual’s list of food hazards for small animals. However, the website Pet Education advises against feeding currants to dogs, stating they have the same toxic effect on a dog’s kidney function as raisins and grapes. This might refer to grape currants and not currant berries, but it’s worth noting.