The canine digestive system works differently than the human one, which means the former is sometimes unable to process certain foods effectively.
Furthermore, as carnivores, the dogs can easily thrive with fewer nutrient sources than humans can.
However, just because dogs do not specifically require certain food types in their diet, that does not mean that diversifying their diet is a good thing, as long as we listen to nutrition experts and our dog’s bodies.
This brings us to today’s blog topic: "Is it safe to feed your dog fruit?"
The short answer is yes, not only is it safe to treat your canine friend with specific fruit, but we also recommend it!
However, since we cannot solve this topic through one answer, we have compiled a list of common questions and answers that explain how to feed your dog fruit adequately.
#1: Can I Feed My Dog Fruit?
While it is not necessarily obvious, dogs and their ancestors have been consuming fruits and vegetables for thousands of years.
The main source, however, has been an indirect one, namely, through the eating of prey, which already contains predigested vegetable/fruit material, providing a healthy predigested food source filled with precious nutrients.
Since these nutrients had already been processed by the prey’s digestive system, dogs could easily absorb them.
Aside from these indirect sources, scientists have observed instances of direct consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially in the case of wolves.
These predators are known to consume several types of berries, apples, and pears, which provide wolves with nutrients and fiber not found in meat.
Moreover, both wolves and dogs eat grass whenever they are experiencing problems with digestion.
#2: Should I Avoid Specific Fruits?
We have established the fact that it is safe to feed your dog fruit; now, it is time to focus on which fruits are actually healthy for your canine friend.
While the chemical composition of some fruits is beneficial to humans, it can be quite toxic to dogs.
For example, let’s talk about avocados.
Mislabeled a toxic fruit in fact dogs can eat, small amounts of the fruit portion of the avocado won't harm your dog.
The benefits of avocados for dogs include healthy fats and fatty acids, plenty of vitamins and minerals, and anti-inflammatory properties, among others.
As long as you don't give your dog a lot of avocado at once and make sure to have your pup avoid the other parts of the plant as well as the pit, your dog will be fine.
Another example refers to cherries.
While the fleshy part around the seed is healthy, the rest of the cherry contains cyanide, a toxic chemical compound that disrupts cellular oxygen transport, depriving blood cells of the much-needed oxygen.
Moreover, your dog can develop intestinal blockage, which manifests itself through lack of appetite, and vomiting.
Other signs of cyanide poisoning are dilated pupils and breathing difficulties.
#3: Can I Feed My Dog Bananas?
Out of all fruits that are healthy for your dog, bananas deserve to be on the top of the list.
Their high concentration of potassium, fiber, and vitamins, as well as their low levels of sodium and cholesterol, make them essential for a well-working heart and kidneys.
However, you need to be aware that bananas are high in sugar, which can lead to accelerated weight intake.
Turning bananas into an occasional snack is the best way to avoid weight intake for your dog.
For a ready-to-go reward that contains bananas, our top pick is the CocoTherapy Pure Hearts, a vegan treat substitute made out of organic products, such as coconuts and bananas, without any preservatives, colors, or artificial flavors!
#4: How Should I Feed Fruit to My Dog?
Feeding fruit to your dog is a splendid idea; however, that does not mean you can fill your dog’s bowl with fruit right out of the shopping bags.
We have compiled a shortlist of tips perfect for every dog owner:
- Rinse the fruit thoroughly before feeding it to your dog.
- Give only small portions of fruits to your dog, especially if it has not had fruit before. This is an effective way to see how your dog will react in each particular case.
- Start by introducing fruit into your dog’s diet when it is still a puppy since puppies are more likely to try and like fruit.
- Try mashing the fruit and serving it with a regular meal if your dog is reluctant to eat raw fruit.
The best time to feed fruit is in between meals and not mixed in with protein and veggies.
- Fruit must be fed ripe or it can cause diarrhea.
- Be careful about stones/pits/seeds in fruit like plums as they can cause blockages.
- Don’t overfeed fruit to diabetic dogs or if your dog is very inflamed.
The bottom line is, fruits can be as beneficial to humans as they are to our canine companions: they help alkalize the body and provide a rich source of vitamins, such as vitamins A, E, and K, as well as minerals.
With such benefits, there is no wonder why fruits should be included in every dog’s diet.
As long as we remember that the canine body differs from ours and that dogs need to consume fruit in moderation, your canine friend’s relationship with bananas, mangos, peaches, and so on will be a fruitful one!
Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!