Most dogs will willingly eat any human food they can get their paws on, and many enjoy snacking on fruit. It’s quite common for dogs to eat many different fruits. But what about Plums? Are they safe for our canine companions?
Although it might sound counterintuitive, as dogs are omnivores (they can eat plant and animal material), fruit can be a great supplement to your dog’s diet. Some fruits are safe and healthy for dogs, such as bananas, mangoes, peaches, watermelon, and pears, while others, such as grapes and raisins, can be toxic.
Plums are well known for their antioxidant and digestive properties. But are they safe for your pup? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of offering your dog this sweet and tasty fruit.
Are Plums Safe for Dogs?
The short answer is yes, dogs can safely enjoy plums as a tasty snack. However, there are a few important things you need to know before you offer your dog a treat from your own fruit bowl, especially some dangers associated with plums.
These fruits contain one large stone, known as a pit, which is the biggest threat to your pet; however, the fleshy part of the plum is safe for most canines to consume.
Nutritional Benefits of Plums
Plums are not a very nutrient-dense fruit, but they can be a good source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that supports a healthy immune system. It is also useful in reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy bones and cartilage.
Vitamin A is essential in supporting healthy eyesight, as well as in maintaining their skin and coat. While dogs do not need vitamin A and C supplements in their diet, a few slices of plum every so often is no bad thing and could certainly be beneficial.
Plums are also a source of fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion, reducing constipation, and helping to control blood sugar levels. The water content of plums is also quite high, so they can make a hydrating and refreshing snack for dogs, just like they do for us.
But plum flesh does have high sugar content, so take care and always feed in moderation, as too much sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity, which can increase their risk of developing other health problems such as diabetes.
How Do I Feed My Dog Plums?
Fruit should always be washed before being fed to a dog. This will remove any dirt as well as to wash away the residue of any pesticides or nasty chemicals.
The pit of plum can be very harmful, so you must remove it before feeding a plum to your dog. Be sure to dispose of the pit immediately so that Fido cannot get his paws on it. The plum should then be sliced to avoid choking.
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t feed your dog prunes, which are just dried plums. These dried fruits have higher sugar content, and while not toxic, can cause a stomach upset and diarrhea.
How Often Can I Feed My Dog Plums?
Plums, like all treats and snacks, should be enjoyed in moderation. Your pup can enjoy a few slices of plum up to a couple of times a week, but no more than this. Even though we know fruit is healthy and packed full of nutrition, our dogs don’t need to eat the same amount as we do to stay healthy.
The high sugar content of plums can contribute to weight gain. Too many plums can cause an upset tummy, especially if they are prone to this and have a sensitive gut.
Are Plums Bad for Dogs?
Although plums themselves are not bad for dogs, and they can be safely enjoyed as a tasty treat, there are some risks you need to know about before offering the fruit to your pet. While they have some nutritional benefits and the fleshy part is largely harmless, the pits can be particularly hazardous for our furry friends.
If your pup suffers from any health conditions, it is always best to speak to your veterinarian before introducing plums to his diet, either as a treat or on a more frequent basis.
Cyanide and Plum Poisoning
It’s very important to know that several parts of the plum, including the foliage, roots, stems, and the plum pit, contain amygdalin, which when ingested is broken down by the body into hydrogen cyanide. Cyanide is as toxic to dogs as people when ingested in high enough doses.
If your dog eats enough plum pits, he could end up very sick. Plum poisoning from cyanide can be fatal if not treated early. Fortunately, there is only a tiny amount of amygdalin in one plum pit, so Fido would need to eat quite a few to reach the toxic dose.
Some dogs can be more susceptible to cyanide poisoning than others. This includes dogs with liver disease, which impairs the liver’s ability to filter toxins from the body.
Cyanide causes cell respiration to stop, so despite lots of oxygen in the blood, the body cannot use it, leading to respiratory collapse. Without treatment, cyanide poisoning can be fatal, so it’s important to spot the signs early.
Symptoms of cyanide poisoning in dogs include reddening of the gums, tongue, and mouth, as well as breathing difficulties, dilated pupils, panting, tremors, rapid breathing, agitation, foaming at the mouth, seizures, collapse, and difficulty breathing. If your dog has eaten a plum and has any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian straight away.
It’s best to avoid your canine companion getting access to plum pits. Of course, accidental ingestion can occur. If you think your pup might have eaten a plum pit, contact your vet straight away.
The pit of a plum can cause many problems if ingested. Not only are they a choking hazard, but they can also become lodged in the digestive tract, causing an obstruction. If left untreated, this can be fatal, so it’s important to speak to your veterinarian if you think your dog may have eaten a plum pit.
Symptoms of obstruction to look out for are vomiting, diarrhea, a painful tummy (yelping or growling when touched, or sitting in a ‘prayer position’), constipation, lethargy, loss of appetite, and weakness. If your pup may have eaten a plum pit and has any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.
Other more minor risks of plum stones for dogs are damage to the esophagus, stomach, or intestines, as the edges can be very sharp. Also, chewing on plum stones could damage their teeth, as they are very hard.
High Sugar Content
Fruits generally contain a lot of sugar, which also goes for plums. Even though these are naturally occurring sugars, they are still bad for dogs in large amounts. Too much can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and related health problems such as diabetes.
The plum flesh has the highest sugar content. Tinned or canned plums, as well as dried plums, are not suitable for dogs. Dried plums or those preserved in tins contain added sugar, which could cause an upset tummy and contribute to weight gain and obesity.
Plums, like all sweet foods, should be enjoyed in moderation and reserved as an occasional treat for your pet. A few slices of plum a couple of times a week is plenty. Dogs with diabetes are particularly sensitive to high-sugar foods, so take care and speak to your veterinarian first before offering your diabetic dog any sweet snacks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, plums can be safely enjoyed by dogs when washed, sliced, and pitted. Remember that plum pits contain amygdalin, which is broken down into cyanide when ingested. Eating enough could be extremely harmful to your pet and make them very sick.
The pits can also cause dangerous gastric obstructions, as well as tooth damage. But, when prepared properly and safely and fed in moderation, plums make a super sweet, nutritious, and tasty treat for your pet!