We micro-manage our pets’ diets almost as much as our own, and it can be confusing to determine which foods are safe for dogs to eat. Sure, it’s common knowledge that chocolate is a no-go, but what about fruit?
Fortunately, there are a variety of fruits that are perfectly safe to share with your dog—and make a healthy, nutritious snack for you both. These are our favorite fruits for dogs:
Fruits for Dogs: Cantaloupe
This sweet summertime fruit is loaded with vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, beta-carotene and folic acid, says Dr. Jennifer L. Summerfield, certified professional dog trainer and author of “Train Your Dog Now!” As in people, vitamin A is important for vision and immune system function in dogs, while vitamin K helps blood clot, Summerfield says.
Cantaloupe can be cut into small pieces and given to your dog as a treat (just make sure to remove the rind first). In general, fruits should be given to dogs in small amounts as a treat or supplement to their regular diet, she adds. Fruit should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s overall diet.
Fruits for Dogs: Apples
Packed with antioxidants and dietary fiber, apples are another fruit that’s safe for dogs.
“Dietary fiber is important for regular bowel movements and can also help dogs (like humans!) to feel ‘full’ or satisfied after eating,” Summerfield says. “Antioxidants are beneficial because they help to scavenge free radicals in the body and prevent cancer and other types of cellular damage to the body’s tissues.”
In addition, apples have both phytonutrients and flavonoids, two plant-specific types of antioxidants that serve as anti-inflammatories and help boost the immune system, Summerfield says.
Like cantaloupe, apples can be cut into small pieces (without seeds or core) and fed raw as a treat.
Fruits for Dogs: Watermelon
Your perfect warm-weather snack also happens to be a great choice for dogs too.
“[Watermelon] contains more water than do some other fruits and so can help prevent dehydration,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, author of “Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.” “It’s also a good source of potassium, which may improve recovery from exercise.”
In other words, feel free to share a few bite-sized pieces of cold watermelon on a hot day—bonus points if it’s after a trip to the beach.
Fruits for Dogs: Pumpkin
Yes, pumpkin is a fruit. And a dog-safe fruit, at that!
“If your dog could stand to lose a little weight or has certain types of digestive problems, adding pumpkin to the diet might help,” Coates says. “Pumpkin’s high fiber content makes dogs feel full without adding many calories and can also be used to treat constipation, diarrhea, and anal sac problems.”
Pumpkin also contains beta-carotene, vitamin A, iron and potassium, says Dr. Antje Joslin, a veterinarian at Dogtopia daycare in Phoenix, and its nutrients can help add moisture to a dog’s skin and fur.
Consider adding a scoop of canned pumpkin (just pumpkin—no seasonings) to your dog’s meals and be sure to talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s digestion.
Fruits for Dogs: Blueberries
High in fiber, blueberries help control blood sugar, support healthy digestion and prevent cell damage, Joslin says. They can be fed to dogs raw or frozen as a treat or snack.
“Blueberries are a wonderful treat for dogs,” Coates says. “They contain a lot of vitamin C and manganese, both of which help the immune system function properly. Also, flavonoids, the compounds that make blueberries blue, are excellent antioxidants.”
Many other berries can be given to dogs in moderation, including strawberries and cranberries, Summerfield says. These have similar health benefits as the other fruits on this list.
Finally, keep in mind that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and should never be given to them.