Fruits & Vegetables Dogs Can and Can’t Eat
As dog owners, it’s not uncommon to want to spoil your four-legged family members by sharing table scraps or your favorite snack with them. After all, if it is safe for you to eat, it must be OK for them as well, right? Not necessarily. While many human foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are perfectly safe, some are very unhealthy and downright dangerous to dogs. Dogs digest differently than humans, and eating the wrong foods can lead to long-term health problems and, in extreme cases, even death. As carnivores, they have no need for fruits and vegetables as part of their diet, but an occasional fruit or veggie as a treat is OK.
But that doesn’t mean all human food is off limits for dogs. Read below to find out which fruits and vegetables are OK for sharing in moderation and which should be kept on your plate.
Fruits & Vegetables
- Apples – Yes. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber for your dog. They are low in protein and fat, making them the perfect snack for senior dogs. Just be sure to remove the seeds and core first. Try them frozen for an icy warm weather snack.Yes, dogs can eat apples. And most love ’em, too.Apples are a great source of vitamin c, fiber, calcium, and phosphorus, and they’re a safe way to satisfy your pet’s sweet tooth (as opposed to chocolate and other doggy diet no-nos).Two caveats: Do not feed the seeds to your dog as they contain cyanide, a toxic substance. (Some also advise keeping the stem from your pet, too.) Also, like in people, eating too many apples can cause a dog to have a bellyache and diarrhea, so serve them in moderation.
- Bananas – Yes. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They’re high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog’s regular diet.Yes, dogs can eat bananas. Actually, many veterinarians even recommend this potassium-rich fruit as a healthy alternative to fatty, salty treats. Other benefits? Bananas are high in fiber, which can help if your dog is having gastrointestinal problems, and magnesium, which promotes bone growth and helps the body produce protein and absorb vitamins.Ways To Feed Your Dog Banana:
- you can mash it up with his food
- mix it with a little yogurt or peanut butter
- stuff it in a Kong, and freeze it
- freeze, peel, and slice (this is the least messy option)
A Banana Recipe For Dogs You Can Make At Home
Many dogs will enjoy the sweet, starchy flavor of a banana on its own, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make this tasty treat, no baking required.
- A ripe banana
- A scoop of peanut butter (first check that it doesn’t contain xylitol)
- A slice of mild cheese
- A blender
- A fillable toy, like a Kong
- Combine the banana, peanut butter, and cheese in the blender until it reaches a smooth consistency.
- Smear it over the toy, and freeze.
As an sweeter alternative, you can blend and freeze canned pumpkin, yogurt, a banana, and honey.
Watch For Peels
Banana peels are not toxic to dogs but are hard to digest and may cause a blockage depending on the amount consumed and the size of the dog. Always consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog ate anything suspicious.
- Watermelon – Yes. It’s important to remove the rind and seeds first, as they can cause intestinal blockage, but watermelon is otherwise safe for dogs. It’s full of vitamin A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium. Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it’s a great way to keep your dog hydrated on hot summer days.
- Everybody loves watermelon, even dogs. But is it safe for them to eat?The answer is yes, with a couple of precautions. Seeds could cause an intestinal blockage, so make sure you remove them. It’s also probably not a good idea to allow a dog to chew on the rind, because it can cause gastrointestinal upset. The fruit itself is a health-food powerhouse, low in calories and packed with nutrients—vitamins A, B6, and C, and potassium.
According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, the fruit has only about 50 calories a cup and 92 percent water, so it’s great for hydration on a hot day. It also has no fat or cholesterol, so it’s pretty much guilt-free.
Here are some fun facts from the NWPB:
- An average 15-to 20-pound watermelon will yield 90 six-ounce wedges and 11 cups of cubes.
- Ever notice that some watermelons have internal cracks in the flesh? It’s a condition known as Hollow Heart and is caused by fluctuations in temperature during the growing season. Hollow Heart melons are safe to eat, and they are actually sweeter in spots, because sugars tend to concentrate along the cracks.
- From planting to harvest, it takes a watermelon three months to grow.
- Seedless melons were developed 50 years ago. They contain no black, mature seeds. But you may see white seed coats, where the seed did no mature.
- Citrullus Lanatus is the scientific name for watermelon.
- It comes from the botanical family Cucurbitaceae and is related to cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash.
- In addition to helmets for melon collies, you can carve watermelon rinds in the same manner as pumpkins. There are many patterns, from dinosaurs and sharks to Spiderman, and designs are limited only by your imagination.
- Grapes – No. Grapes and raisins have proved to be very toxic for dogs no matter the dog’s breed, sex, or age. In fact, grapes are so toxic that they can lead to acute sudden kidney failure. Definitely skip this dangerous treat.Can dogs eats grapes? Absolutely not.Grapes (and raisins) are toxic to dogs, and they should never be allowed to eat them.Why, you ask? Well, veterinarians aren’t quite sure. But it has been proven that the fruit can cause kidney failure in dogs—a very serious condition that can be fatal. As little as one grape per pound of body weight is enough to cause an issue in some dogs.
Symptoms of kidney failure include vomiting, excessive drinking, and lethargy. Eventually, urine production halts and tremors start. C
Another weird fact about this toxicity: It occurs in certain dogs (but we’re not sure why some are affected and not others) and has never been seen in cats.
What do you do if your dog eats a grape or raisin? Call your veterinarian immediately and tell them the amount of grapes your dog ate and how much your dog weighs. If it just happened, they may suggest you bring him in to induce vomiting and offer activated charcoal. A dog demonstrating signs of kidney failure (mentioned above) should be taken to veterinarian right away—more intensive care may be required.
- Strawberries – Yes. Strawberries are full of fiber and vitamin C. Along with that, they also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth as he or she eats them. They are high in sugar though, so be sure to give them in moderation.Warm weather means that fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance and just as we are incorporating them into our diet, we can incorporate those in our dogs. It may be hard or confusing to figure out which fruits and vegetables are safe for your dog (here’s a hint: grapes and raisins are on the no-no list), but there is a warm weather favorite that you can give your dog, STRAWBERRIES! Yes, your best friend can have fresh strawberries. However you should not feed your dog canned or strawberries in syrup. These are not good for your pet at all.Strawberries are not only a healthy sweet treat for your dog, by giving them the berries you are also helping them to stay healthy in more ways than one. Over time, fresh fruit helps with aging, strengthens the immune system and helps with weight management. Removing the high fat, salty snacks also helps with your pup’s teeth.
So now that you know that you can give your dogs strawberries, what is the safest way to do it? Well, it is recommended that you cut the fruit up in small pieces to avoid choking and easier digestion. If you have a smaller dog, you can mash up the berries or puree them and add them to the dog food they normally eat.
As with adding any other food into your dog’s diet, it is always a safe idea to call your veterinarian prior to adding the berries. Once you do begin to add the berries into his diet, be careful, start with small qualities and watch for any changes in behavior or digestive issues. Should you notice anything odd, stop adding them.
- And just in case you are wondering what other fruits you can feed your dog to keep them cool and healthy, here are a few more:
- Frozen bananas
- Watermelon (remove the seeds)
- Apples (remove the seeds and the core)
- Oranges – Yes. Small dogs can have up to 1/3 of a full-size orange, while large dogs can eat the whole thing. While the peel isn’t toxic to them, vets recommend tossing the peel and just giving your dog the inside of the orange, minus the seeds, as the peel is much more rough on their digestive systems than the fleshy inside of the orange.Not all fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs. Oranges, however, are fine for dogs to eat, according to veterinarians. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and in small quantities can serve as tasty treats for your dog.
Benefits Of Oranges for Your Dog
Oranges are full of nutrients and low in sodium, which makes them a healthy snack in small quantities. However, oranges do contain natural sugars, which might make them a poor choice for obese dogs, and oranges can cause digestive upset in some dogs. If you want to try adding oranges to your dog’s diet, then it is probably a good idea to start out with one or two segments per day to see how his stomach reacts. Stop feeding oranges at once if you notice any unusual behavior after feeding your dog an orange. Even if your dog loves oranges and shows no signs of adverse reactions, limit his intake to no more than one whole orange a day for large dogs and one-third of an orange for small dogs. A segment or two is enough for most dogs, and limiting their treat intake can help avoid digestive upset and overfeeding.
Not all dogs enjoy the tart taste of an orange. Other dogs will eat anything you put in front of them, including both the fruit and the orange peel. Orange peels are not toxic, however they can be rough on your dog’s digestive tract, so vets generally recommend keeping orange peels out of your dog’s reach.
There are lots of other fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs. There are also other fruits you should avoid giving your dog, like grapes.
- Blueberries – Yes. Blueberries are a superfood rich in antioxidants, which prevent cell damage in humans and canines alike. They’re packed with fiber and phytochemicals as well. Teaching your dog to catch treats in the air? Try blueberries as an alternative to store-bought treats.
Next time you pop a handful of blueberries into your mouth, you might want to consider sharing some with your dog. Thanks to their nutritional value and small size, blueberries are a great treat for both large dogs and small dogs.
Benefits Of Blueberries For Your Dog
Blueberries are low in calories and contain high amounts of vitamin C, fiber, phytochemicals (naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants), and antioxidants, and have been proven to improve the health of animals as well as humans. The antioxidants in blueberries help fight free radicals, which are responsible for cellular and molecular damage in dogs and humans. Sources of antioxidants, like blueberries, help strengthen immune systems by fighting free radicals naturally. As an added bonus, studies show that adding antioxidants to a dog’s diet reduces the effects of brain aging, which is good news for those of us with older dogs. Vitamin C and fiber are vital components of proper canine nutrition. Phytochemicals are linked to several aspects of health, including the ability to fight cancer in humans.
There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding fruits and vegetables to your dog. Blueberries are small, which means you don’t need to cut them up, but any new food poses potential risks. Consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about feeding blueberries to your dog, and monitor your dog closely after giving blueberries as a treat for the first time.
- Carrots – Yes. Carrots are an excellent low-calorie snack that is high in fiber and beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A. Plus, crunching on the orange snacks is great for your dog’s teeth.
Can Dogs Eat Carrots?Anna Burke | June 15, 2016
Carrot sticks are widely considered to be a healthy alternative to traditional dog treats, and with good reason. With obesity rates in dogs as high as 53 percent in the United States, many dogs could benefit from a low-calorie treat that doesn’t add inches to their waistline.
Benefits Of Carrots For Your Dog
Carrots offer dog owners an affordable and nutritious snack, perfect for rewarding their dogs for good behavior, without the calorie count associated with biscuits and other treats. Some vets even recommend cold carrots for teething puppies as a way to relieve teething discomfort, and large frozen carrots make cheap and edible chew toys. Chewing on carrots can even help improve your dog’s dental health. More importantly, carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber, among other vitamins, all of which play an important role in canine nutrition.
How to Prepare Carrots for Your Dog
Both raw and cooked carrots are healthy options for dogs and make a nutritious addition to home-cooked meals. While carrots are generally safe for dogs, it is important to cut whole carrots into bite-size chunks before feeding them to your dog. This helps to avoid choking, especially in small dogs. Keep an eye on your dog as he chows down on carrot sticks, and call your vet if you suspect your dog is choking or if he has an adverse reaction to the treat. Talk to your vet about the number of carrots you should feed your dog per day, and ask if there are any other health concerns associated with adding carrots to your dog’s diet.
- Tomatoes – No. While the ripened fruit of the tomato plant (the red part humans normally eat) is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount for it to make him or her sick, it’s better to skip tomatoes all together just to be safe.
SWEETSHIMAS.COM feeds tomato juice to our dogs every day. They are rich in Potassium and have stopped our lactating mothers from getting milk fever. Cooked tomatoes have a very good effect on Shimas. But they must be cooked so tomato juice is just wonderful for the pregnant and lactating mothers.
- Photo: shelmac/Flickr
Most dogs want to eat whatever we’re eating, no matter what it is. Whether it is a juicy beefsteak tomato or a juicy beef steak, your dog wants to help you finish it. Vets generally do not recommend feeding table scraps to dogs, but some foods are fine to give every once in a while as a treat.. Tomatoes are among these, as long as owners understand the risks.
- Tomatoes are in the nightshade family of vegetables, which means the plants contain a few components that are harmful to certain animals, including tomatine. Tomatine, a substance found in the stem and leaves of the tomato and related plants, is harmful to dogs in large quantities. Luckily for dogs that enjoy the occasional tomato, tomatine is mostly concentrated in the green parts of the tomato plant. The leaves, stems, and young, green tomatoes contain higher amounts of tomatine than ripe fruit, which means that ripe tomatoes are generally safe to feed to dogs. This is still problematic for those of us who keep a tomato plant in the garden, as we have to worry about our dogs eating green tomatoes or chewing on the stem and leaves.
If your dog has consumed the green parts of a tomato plant, watch him carefully for signs of tomatine poisoning. Clinical signs of too much tomatine include:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) upset
- Cardiac effects
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
The good news is that these symptoms are rare, and the prognosis for dogs with tomatine poisoning is generally good. Call your vet if your dog exhibits these signs, as they can be a symptom of other serious health problems in addition to tomatine consumption..
So, can dogs eat tomatoes? The answer is both yes and no. Ripe tomatoes are considered nontoxic to dogs and can be fed in moderation as an occasional snack. Unripe tomatoes and tomato plants, on the other hand, should be avoided. It is probably a good idea to keep dogs away from tomato plants, either by fencing off your garden area or by supervising your dog carefully in the garden. Both your dog and your tomatoes will thank you
- Pineapple – Yes. A few chunks of pineapple is a great sweet treat for dogs as long as the prickly outside is removed first. The tropical fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that makes it easier for dogs to absorb proteins.
If your dogs are eating their own feces use pineapple in their food. They love the taste going in but hate it on the other side. Works like a champ.
Pineapple is a favorite fruit for many people. It is tart, sweet, and tangy, and its tropical origins put us in mind of warmer climates. In moderation, it can also be a healthy treat for dogs, similar to other types of fruit, like strawberries and watermelon.
Ripe, raw pineapple contains a whole lot of vitamin C, along with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate. Pineapple is also full of minerals, including manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, and small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, and zinc. This makes it a nutrient-dense snack for humans and dogs, alike, and these nutrients play an important role in your dog’s immune system and digestive health.
All of these vitamins and minerals make pineapple sound like a wonderful choice for dogs, but there are a few other things to consider before feeding pineapple to your canines. Pineapple is high in fiber and contains a significant amount of natural sugar. This means that while pineapple is a perfectly healthy treat in small quantities, it can have adverse effects on your dog’s digestive system if fed in large amounts. Keep an eye on your dog when you first feed him pineapple. If he has diarrhea or shows signs of an upset stomach, then pineapple might not be the fruit snack for him. The tough, central core of the pineapple has the potential to cause obstructions, as does the spiny skin, so stick to feeding the flesh of the pineapple for your dog’s safety.
So Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Pineapple?
Yes. Raw pineapple, in small amounts, is an excellent snack for dogs. Canned pineapple, on the other hand, should be avoided. The syrup in canned fruits contains too much sugar for most dogs’ digestive tracts to handle. A few chunks of raw pineapple are usually enough for most dogs, provided they are peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces. Plus, frozen pieces of fresh pineapple make a delicious treat in the summer.
- Avocado – No. While avocado may be a healthy snack for dog owners, it should not be given to dogs at all. The pit, skin and leaves of avocados contain Persin, a toxin that often causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much Persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still too much for dogs to handle.
- Broccoli – Yes, broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in very small quantities and is best served as an occasional treat. It is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. On the surface, this makes it an appealing choice for dog owners looking for a healthy dog treat, but broccoli also contains a potentially harmful ingredient. Broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. Also, broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus.
Your mother probably told you to eat your broccoli when you were a kid, but can dogs eat broccoli, too? The Internet is full of mixed information about this green vegetable. We asked the AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein to weigh in on the broccoli debate to help dog owners make an informed decision about feeding broccoli to their dogs.
Broccoli Is Safe in Small Amounts, But It Can Be Harmful
Unlike humans, dogs don’t need large amounts of fruits and vegetables to live healthy lives. Certain fruits and vegetables do make suitable treats on occasion, and can even provide health benefits. Find out what fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs.
Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat. On the surface, this makes it an appealing choice for dog owners looking for a healthy dog treat, but broccoli also contains a potentially harmful ingredient. According to Dr. Klein, broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which can cause mild-to-potentially-severe gastric irritation in some dogs. He also states, “broccoli is considered safe in dogs if the total amount ingested is less than 10 percent of their daily intake. Over 25 percent is considered toxic.”
Ten percent of a dog’s diet means very different things for different breeds of dogs. A >Labrador Retriever could eat quite a few broccoli stalks before she consumed 10 percent of her daily food intake. A Chihuahua or a Yorkshire Terrier, on the other hand, might need only a few florets to exceed his limit. Dr. Klein also reminds dog owners that every dog is unique. Some dogs might react more strongly to broccoli than others, so it is very important to monitor individual dogs to see how they react to broccoli or any new food item.
Broccoli Is A Choking Hazard
Broccoli stalks have been known to cause obstruction in the esophagus, especially in small dogs, Dr. Klein says, so make sure you cut up the broccoli into bite-size chunks, and keep an eye on your dog as he eats. Small bites also make it easier to measure the amount of broccoli your dog consumes, which gives you another reason to moderate the broccoli servings. As with any new food, start with a very small piece of broccoli to make sure your dog has no negative reactions to the vegetable before feeding more.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Broccoli?
Broccoli is safe for dogs to eat in very small quantities and is best served as an occasional treat, rather than a regular addition to their diet, unless otherwise specified by your veterinarian. Dogs can eat both cooked and raw broccoli as long as there are no seasonings or oils added, as these ingredients are not good for dogs. Ask your vet if you have any questions about how much broccoli is safe for your dog, or if broccoli is the right choice of treat for your dog’s health.
- Mushrooms – No. Wild mushrooms can be toxic for dogs. While only 50 to 100 of the 50,000 mushroom species worldwide are known to be toxic, the ones that are can really hurt your dog or even lead to death. Washed mushrooms from the supermarket could be OK, but it’s better to be safe than sorry; skip out on the fungi all together.
- Cucumbers – Yes. Cucumbers are especially good for overweight dogs, as they hold little to no carbohydrates, fats, or oils and can even boost energy levels. They’re loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1, as well as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin.
- Celery – Yes. In addition to vitamins A, B, and C, this crunchy green snack contains the nutrients needed to promote a healthy heart and even fight cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, celery also known to freshen doggy breath.
- Onions – No. Onions, leeks, and chives are part of a family of plants called Allium that is poisonous to most pets, especially cats. Eating onions can cause your dog’s red blood cells to rupture, and can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. Poisoning onions is more serious in Japanese breeds of dogs such as Akitas and Shiba Inus, but all dogs are very susceptible to it.
- Pears – Yes. Pears are a great snack because they’re high in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber. It’s been suggested that eating the fruit can reduce the risk of having a stroke by 50 percent. Just be sure to cut pears into bite-size chunks and remove the pit and seeds first, as the seeds contain traces of cyanide.
- Potatoes – Yes. It’s fine to give your dog plain potatoes every once and a while, but only if they’re cooked, as raw potatoes can be rough on the stomach. A washed, peeled, plain boiled, or baked potato contains lots of iron for your pet. Avoid mashed potatoes because they often contain butter, milk, or seasonings.
- Cherries – No. With the exception of the fleshy part around the seed, cherry plants contain cyanide and are toxic to dogs. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport, which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. If your dog eats cherries, be on the lookout for dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums, as these may be signs of cyanide poisoning.
- Peaches – Yes. Small amounts of cut-up peaches are a great source of fiber and vitamin A, and can even help fight infections, but just like cherries, the pit does contain cyanide. As long as you completely cut around the pit first, fresh peaches can be a great summer treat – just not canned peaches, as they usually contain high amounts of sugary syrups.
- Asparagus – No. While asparagus isn’t necessarily unsafe for dogs, there’s really no point in giving it to them. It’s too tough to be eaten raw, and by the time you cook it down so it’s soft enough for dogs to eat, asparagus loses the nutrients it contains. If you’re determined to give your dogs vegetables, go for something that will actually benefit them.
- Sweet potatoes – Yes. Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, including fiber, beta carotene, and vitamins B-6 and C. Just like with regular potatoes, only give your dog washed, peeled, cooked, and unseasoned sweet potatoes that have cooled down, and definitely avoid sugary sweet potato pies and casseroles.
- Raspberries – Yes. Raspberries are fine in moderation. They contain antioxidants that are great for dogs. They’re low in sugar and calories, but high in fiber, manganese, and vitamin C. Raspberries are especially good for senior dogs because they have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help take pain and pressure from joints. However, they do contain slight amounts of the toxin Xylitol, so limit your dog to less than a cup of raspberries at a time.
- Mango – Yes. This sweet summer treat is packed with four, yes four different vitamins: vitamins A, B6, C, and E. They also have potassium and both beta-carotene and alpha carotene. Just remember, as with most fruits, to remove the hard pit first, as it contains small amounts of cyanide and can become a choking hazard.
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