Nectarines are a sweet and delicious fruit that we humans love to eat. However, are they safe for our four-legged friends? It can be tough to know what’s okay and what’s not for our canine companions.
It’s always tempting to offer your furry friend treats and titbits, especially when they look at you with those big puppy dog eyes, but remember, dogs have different nutritional needs than us, and some of the human foods we love can even be toxic to them.
We discuss whether it’s safe to feed your dog nectarine and whether there are any health benefits.
Can Dogs Eat Nectarines?
So, the simple answer to this question is yes. There are, however, a few significant caveats to this answer which we will discuss below.
The skin of the nectarine is safe for your dog to eat in small amounts. The skin of the nectarine is relatively high in fiber, and too much could cause tummy upsets for your pup.
The flesh of the nectarine, the fruity bit we all enjoy, is also safe for your pup to eat. It is high in both fiber and naturally occurring sugars. Therefore, giving your dog too much may lead to an upset stomach. If you choose to feed nectarine to your dog, it would be advisable to give a small piece rather than cutting up and feeding a whole fruit.
Stone & Pit
The center of the nectarine contains a hard stone (also called a pit). This stone is not safe for your pup to eat. Your dog will not be able to digest this stone. The stones tend to be quite hard and sharp, which may result in damage to your pup’s teeth or mechanical damage to the gastrointestinal tract.
In addition, due to their size, there is a risk of them causing a bowel obstruction or being a choking hazard, especially in smaller breed dogs. This can be a life-threatening condition and requires invasive surgery to fix. Therefore, you should never feed your dog nectarine stones.
You should never give your pup an entire nectarine to chow down on, even if you plan to take the stone away from them, as they may accidentally swallow it before you can get to it.
Nectarine stones also contain a compound called cyanide. This is toxic to dogs, and its ingestion can lead to poisoning. Even though there is only a small amount of cyanide in a single nectarine stone, the amount released will be higher if your pup chews up the stone compared with if it is swallowed whole. Symptoms of toxicity in mild cases include tummy upset but can be severe if your dog ingests a significant amount.
For these reasons, you should not feed your dog. Call your veterinary clinic if you are worried your pup has ingested a nectarine stone.
Health Conditions For Dogs Eating Nectarines
When thinking about giving nectarine flesh to your dog, there are some specific examples where, even though it is non-toxic, it may not be the best thing for your dog’s health and well-being. These are specific medical examples, and if you know your pet suffers from one of these conditions, you should always discuss dietary additions with your veterinarian to ensure you won’t do any harm.
If you suspect your pet has one of these conditions, but you are not sure, again, please speak to your veterinarian, who will be able to advise on appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment.
Obesity is a growing epidemic in our companion animals. While you may think being on the chubby side makes your pup look cute, did you know that being overweight or obese is linked to many different health problems? We now know that fat is actually “biologically active.” This means it doesn’t just sit there passively, making our dogs (and us) fatter. It releases hormones and molecules that can negatively impact our metabolism and overall health. It also puts strain on your pups’ joints, leading to the development of joint disease.
If you think your dog is overweight, supplementing their diet with treats, even seemingly healthy ones such as nectarine, can add additional calories and make their weight loss journey harder. Therefore, if your pup struggles with their weight, it is best not to feed them any treats, including nectarine. Instead, formulate a weight loss diet and exercise plan with your local veterinarian to help them shift the pounds.
If you still choose to feed treats to your overweight dog, remember to reduce their kibble portion sizes to accommodate the extra calories, or you may find them gaining rather than losing weight.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels appropriately. This is because of problems with a hormone called insulin. It should not be confused with a condition called “diabetes insipidus,” which is related to body water regulation rather than blood sugars.
There are several different types of diabetes mellitus that come about for various reasons, but in dogs, the most common problem is a failure to produce enough insulin. Signs of diabetes mellitus include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, and increased appetite. Treatment is via regular injections of insulin and a carefully managed diet.
Nectarines contain a large amount of natural sugars. Therefore, if your pet has diabetes mellitus, feeding nectarines could negatively impact their blood sugar control, leading to significant health issues. It is recommended never to feed anything new to your diabetic pup unless it has been expressly discussed with the veterinarian who manages their condition.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term covering several disease classifications. One of which is a condition called “food-responsive enteropathy.” The exact disease mechanism isn’t fully understood and is even still hotly debated by the leading human doctors. It is thought to be a complex association between your pup’s immune system, the good bugs in the gut, and certain types of molecules found in food.
If your dog has been diagnosed with this condition, then your veterinarian will likely have recommended a strict diet. It is essential to stick to this diet and not feed any additional treats or snacks. Therefore, it is not recommended to feed your dog nectarine unless your veterinarian has advised you it is safe for your pup to do so.
Help, My Dog Ate A Whole Nectarine
Even though nectarines are safe for dogs when given in moderation, if your dog eats an entire nectarine, they could face a slew of health concerns. These unexpected dangers can result in hefty vet bills. Pet insurance can reduce the financial burden so you can focus on your dog’s health in an emergency.
Suggested Nutritional Benefits Of Nectarines For Dogs
It’s important to note that if you are thinking about feeding a home-prepared diet, you should do so under veterinary guidance. Formulating a perfectly balanced diet rich in all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs is exceptionally challenging. Failing to meet your dog’s nutritional needs can lead to severe health issues, and there is a lot of factually incorrect information online, making getting it right even harder. Complete dog kibble already contains the correct balance of vitamins and minerals for your pup.
Folate, or vitamin B9, has many roles in the body, including DNA and red blood cell production. It also has essential functions during pregnancy (although then it is more commonly referred to as folic acid). Deficiencies in this vitamin can be seen with diseases of the small intestine or pancreas. Nectarine is a source of vitamin B9, but it only contains a small amount and, as such, won’t be sufficient to help manage a deficiency should your pup have one.
Dogs use vitamin A to derive a group of chemicals called retinoids that have essential roles in vision, immune function, vital protein transportation, and growth. Deficiencies in young puppies can affect growth rates and bone development. While in adults, you may see weight loss or even an increased risk of developing pneumonia. Nectarines are a source of vitamin A.
Nectarines contain vitamin C – which is great for us to supplement in our diets. But did you know that dogs are actually able to make vitamin C in their livers? There are a few cases where supplementation can be helpful, but our furry friends generally don’t need to supplement their diets with vitamin C.
Nectarines are considered a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants work by combating cellular aging processes. Nectarines are reported to contain a specific antioxidant called gallic acid, which has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory effects in people. The relevance of this in dogs, however, is unknown.
Nectarines are very high in fiber, which we know is important for keeping everything moving. A small amount of nectarine is unlikely to cause problems for your pup, but if you feed too much, your dog may develop a tummy upset or even constipation.
How Do I Know If I Am Giving My Dog Too Much Nectarine?
With any treat or human food, it is best only to give your dog a minimal amount rather than providing it in excess. Too much nectarine in their diet is likely to cause an upset tummy leading to signs of stomach pain and diarrhea.
Feeding your pup small amounts of nectarine flesh is unlikely to be harmful (the stones are a definite no-no, though). However, if you are already providing a complete and balanced dog food, which most of the pet store-bought foods will be, your pup doesn’t need any additional vitamin and mineral supplementation unless recommended by your veterinarian. If you are unsure if what you are offering is safe for your pooch, the best person to check with is your veterinarian.