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Q&A: Can Dogs Eat Fruit? Which ones are good and bad for dogs?

I’ve just launched a new Question and Answer page where you can submit any burning questions you have about feeding and caring for your dog. I’ll then be sharing the answers to your questions on my blog so that everyone can benefit. Here’s our very first question and answer.

Liz Gravener and Her Beagle Bagel: My question for you would be around fruit. I know blueberries and strawberries are good for dogs, but my boy loves mandarin and banana too (I only give him very small portions)…. are these ok for dogs? Which other fruits are suitable/bad, and also recommended portions?

Lucky Liz to have Bagel who likes fruit because one of the best gifts we can give our dogs is variety and fruit added into the diet adds variety as much as any other benefit. Variety means the body has more access to different vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in foods. That is why we all need variety in our diet.

As to what not to eat, Grapes and anything from the grape family (fresh grapes, sultanas, raisins, grape juice, etc). While toxic reaction is rare it does happen and to date, no-one seems to know why, or what compound is causing the issue. So be safe with that one and just say no.

Avocado is a fruit and is commonly thought to be toxic to dogs. It isn’t. The leaves, skin, and pit however should not be eaten by us or by our dogs. These contain ‘persin’ and that is toxic. This creates the myth that Avocado should not be eaten by dogs, but in fact, don’t give your dog things that you wouldn’t eat and you are generally pretty safe. But be mindful of ‘windfall’, fruit on the ground as dogs don’t generally peel their finds.

Berries are fantastic antioxidant boosters and blueberries are the king of these. Apples are often overlooked but lots of dogs like apples, the crunchy mouth feel. Remove the seeds though as apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide. This is a general rule, as many seeds from fruit contain poisons.

Stone fruits are delicious but the stones are poisonous, which is why it is often on the internet that dogs should not eat plums or peaches, and it isn’t the fruit that is bad, it is the seed. Then again, why would you give your dog a seed like that, it runs a high risk of obstruction either going in or coming out.  ‘Windfall’ again is where this can happen, dogs eating fruit that has fallen on the ground. Be mindful of this in your garden or out and about.

Dogs are tolerant of fructose – the main sugar in fruits – although they don’t naturally have a ‘sweet tooth’, unlike humans. However, I had a Weimaraner who would pick her own Blackberries, the funniest of sights as every so often she would get stuck inside the bush, with the barbs in her skin as she tried to back out! Didn’t stop her going back for seconds though.

So my advice is to encourage your dog to enjoy variety in fruit, as Liz so wisely put it, in moderation and as part of providing a wide variety of natural foods.