We've all been there, eating a snack while our dog lays nearby and wondering if we can toss one tasty morsel their way. A piece of fruit is harmless, right? Yes and no. Our doggies' bodies are complex, and while many fruits are healthy treats, others can trigger life-threatening issues.
In an emergency, pet poison control is just a phone call (including helplines covered by pet insurance), but being informed and taking preventative measures are always the best approaches.
Keep reading to learn which fruits are safe for dogs to eat and which are best to reserve for your own cravings.
Table of Contents
- What fruits can dogs eat?
- What fruits can dogs not eat?
- What to do if your dog eats grapes or other toxic fruit
- How much fruit can dogs eat?
- Summary of Money's guide to fruits dogs can eat
What fruits can dogs eat?
Fruits are a great way to add dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties to your pooch's diet.
Feel free to cut, freeze or purée the following fruits into tasty homemade snacks (a great way to save money on pets).
Blueberries are great treats for your dog. These subtly sweet and tart snacks are low in calories and high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that support your dog's immune system. A study from the University of Alaska even suggests that eating blueberries before vigorous exercise may help dogs recover faster as opposed to dogs that didn't eat any.
Refreshing watermelon is one of the best fruits to give your dog. This low-calorie fruit is 92% water, so it's a great way to keep your dog hydrated, and it's also rich in potassium and contains vitamin A, B-6 and C. To prepare it, remove the rind and all of the seeds, then cut it up into chunks or or freeze it for a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.
A bite of cantaloupe contains vitamin A and C, plus potassium, niacin, folate and beta-carotene. And just like watermelon, cantaloupe is a nice hydrator (89% of the fruit is water). Just remember to remove the rind and the seeds whenever you want to give your dog a little cantaloupe treat.
Much like blueberries, strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, manganese, folate, potassium and magnesium. Your dog may also get whiter teeth thanks to a teeth-whitening enzyme in the fruit called malic acid. To prepare strawberry snacks, wash and remove the core, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Fresh and dried cranberries are safe for your dog to eat in moderation. These tart berries contain vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and vitamins B1 and B2. They are also rich in fiber and various antioxidants. Before sharing the dried version with your pup, make sure the cranberries are unsweetened. Most commercial brands add a lot of sugar to counter the cranberry's natural tartness, and these are much too sweet for a dog.
The flesh and the skin of an apple — packed with vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and fiber — are safe for dogs to eat as long as the seeds and the core are completely removed. Dogs can also eat small amounts of applesauce, provided it's unsweetened and free of artificial coloring and preservatives.
Peaches require a little preparation to remove the inedible and toxic parts. You'll need to remove the fuzz, leaves, stem and, most importantly, the peach pit. The flesh of the peach is perfectly safe for dogs to eat and is a healthy snack, rich in vitamins and other minerals.
Raspberries and blackberries are rich in fiber, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins and trace minerals like manganese, magnesium, potassium and iron. To give your dog either of these berries, pick fresh fruit with the core removed and offer it only as an occasional treat. Both berries contain xylitol, a naturally occurring sweetener that's toxic to dogs if ingested regularly and in large amounts.
Bananas are high in potassium and vitamin C as well as vitamin B6, magnesium, biotin and copper. However, the high sugar content of bananas offsets its health benefits, so it's best as an occasional treat and only in small quantities. Too much sugar (even if it's naturally derived) can damage your dog's teeth, cause digestive issues and trigger chronic conditions like diabetes.
Just like bananas, this pitted fruit has a high sugar content and shouldn't be fed to dogs in large quantities. To prepare the treats, remove the peel and the pit and cut into bite-sized pieces. Give your dog a small amount first and watch for signs of stomach upset, as mangos are also high in fiber. Small amounts of fiber can help with constipation, but an excess may lead to unwanted digestive problems.
Feel free to toss your dog small pieces of a freshly cut pineapple. They can eat the soft flesh of this tropical fruit, but not the core, rind or crown, which are inedible and may cause problems in the digestive system. Pineapple's high water content also makes for a tasty frozen treat. That said, fresh pineapple is very high in sugar and best given in moderation. Avoid the sugary canned counterpart — even the ones that are packed in juice instead of syrup.
Most dogs don't crave the tart and bitter taste of citrus fruit. And though we prize oranges for their star nutrient, vitamin C, dogs don't really need to eat their vitamin C — their bodies already make the necessary amount.
If your pup really wants a bite of something citrusy, you can safely share a small piece of orange (peeled and seedless), but watch out for signs of an upset stomach. Too much orange can spike your dog's blood sugar level and the fruit's citric acid and fiber content may disrupt their digestion.
What fruits can dogs not eat?
Most dog owners know that giving their pup chocolate is dangerous, but certain fruits can be just as damaging to your dog's health. Here are the fruits dog owners should avoid giving as treats.
Grapes, raisins and currants
Grapes, raisins and currants are very toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure if ingested. Researchers haven't yet been able to identify which part of these fruits is so toxic, though recent studies point to a potential culprit: tartaric acid.
Pits, seeds and stones
Dogs shouldn't eat apple seeds or the pits and stones of fruits such as peaches, apricots, cherries and plums. These parts contain small amounts of cyanide, and pits and stones in particular are choking hazards. Chewing and ingesting the hard parts of the pit can also damage your pet's teeth and digestive tract and cause intestinal blockages.
The entire avocado plant — from its leaves and bark to the skin, flesh and seed of its fruit — contains persin, a toxin that provokes poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and heart problems if ingested in large amounts.
Lemons, limes and grapefruit
Lemons and limes are best kept away from your dog. The concentrated amounts of citric acid and the presence of compounds and essential oils such as limonene, linalool and psoralen can wreak havoc in their body. Plus, lemons are high in sugar.
A dog may be fine after eating a small piece of grapefruit (without rind), but this fruit also has a significant amount of citric acid and essential oils. Feeding your dog grapefruit isn't worth the risk, especially when there are so many other safe fruits you can try.
What to do if your dog eats grapes or other toxic fruit
Contact your vet as soon as possible if you suspect your pet ingested grapes or the pit of a peach or cherry.
A pet poison helpline is the next best option if the veterinary clinic is out of reach. Note that you'll have to pay a consultation fee even if it's just to confirm that your dog will be ok. While the price of a simple phone call may seem steep, consider that a quick consultation might save you an unnecessary — and more expensive — trip to the emergency clinic.
It's hard to think straight when our pets are in danger, and scrambling to find emergency numbers at the last minute will only add to the stress. To avoid this, we recommend you save the following numbers to your contacts, or jot them down and display them somewhere that's easy to see (your refrigerator door, for example).
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) 1-888-426-4435. A $95 consultation fee may apply.
- Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661. A $85 per-incident fee applies.
How much fruit can dogs eat?
90% of a dog's caloric intake should come from regular, balanced meals in the form of commercial or prescription dog food, or a home-cooked diet under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist. That leaves 10% for the good stuff: treats, jerky, cookies, fruits and vegetables.
The Clinical Nutrition Team at Tufts Veterinary School recommends using The Pet Nutrition Alliance's calorie calculator to determine how many calories your pet should eat in a day.
Let's take the following example:
A dog with an ideal weight of 50 pounds needs to eat 1,018 calories a day. This means your dog should be getting 916 calories from regular kibble, leaving 101 calories for fruits and other treats.
Here's how much fruit a 50-pound dog can enjoy without exceeding its daily caloric needs:
|Fruit or treat serving||Calories|
|½ cup of diced watermelon||23|
|¼ cup sliced strawberries||14|
|¼ cup sliced banana||30|
|17 pieces of Zuke's Salmon Mini Bites||34|
|Total calories from treats||101|
Of course, this calculator is best for dogs that are already at a healthy weight and don't display signs of obesity or malnutrition. We encourage you to seek veterinary guidance to get a proper dietary plan for underweight or overweight dogs.
What fruits can dogs eat FAQs
What fruits are toxic to dogs?
What fruits can dogs eat safely?
What vegetables can dogs eat?
Veggies are a great source of vitamins and essential minerals. Plus you don't have to worry as much about added sugar. Your pooch can safely snack on superfood such as broccoli, carrots, spinach, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini.
Vegetables to avoid include onion, garlic, shallots, chives, wild mushrooms and unripe tomatoes. Green tomatoes and the tomato plant contain a toxin called solanine that can cause gastrointestinal issues, lethargy and confusion.
Summary of Money's guide to fruits dogs can eat
Fruits are a great way to give your dog a sweet treat with beneficial nutrients. The golden rule is to make sure that these snacks don't add too much sugar to your dog's diet and don't exceed 10% of their daily calories.
Blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries make great dog treats: they're low in calories, great for hydration and packed with essential nutrients.
Fruits such bananas, pineapple and mangos are best in small amounts due to their high sugar content. Raspberries and blackberries are also best in moderation to prevent xylitol poisoning.
Toxic fruits to avoid include grapes, raisins, currants, avocados, apple seeds and the pits and stones of most fruits. If your dog accidentally eats any of these, call your vet or pet poison control as soon as possible.