Giving your dog fruit can be tempting, especially when you know the health benefits that these foods have on humans.
However, some owners may be hesitant to include fruit in their dog's diet, and rightly so, since we often hear the opposite about the best diet for man's best friend, which confuses our understanding of his true nutritional needs.
While some say that dogs are strict carnivores that need to be fed a BARF diet, others claim that they are omnivores, and even capable of being satisfied with a vegetarian diet.
Today, I propose to study the place of fruits in the diet of our four-legged companions in order to determine whether or not giving them some is a good idea.
Fruit in the dog's diet
There are two schools of thought regarding our perception of a dog's diet: the one that defines a dog as a carnivore, banning fruits, vegetables and grains from his diet, and the one that states that our pooches are omnivores, happily adding a little color to their meals.
Although the defenders of one or the other of these theories are not lacking in arguments, it turns out that the truth lies elsewhere, somewhere in between. Indeed, before categorizing dogs as carnivores or omnivores, we should take a step back and look at the definition of these terms, which are not necessarily in conflict.
The notions of "carnivore" and "omnivore" are intended to simplify our understanding of the food chain and the eating habits of living things. They are neither exclusive ("carnivore" means "one who eats meat" and not "one who eats only meat") nor explicit about the nutritional needs of living things.
Also, a carnivore is not obliged to eat only meat, and an omnivore is not obliged to eat everything (there are, for example, vegetarian omnivores like pigs). In fact, it must be admitted that the various qualifications we encounter when talking about dogs (opportunistic omnivores, carnivores with omnivorous tendencies, etc.) somewhat confuse our understanding of the essential: the nutritional needs of dogs.
In fact, it is not necessary to know whether the dog is a strict carnivore or an omnivore, given the vagueness of these terms, as long as we know its nutritional needs and how to meet them. However, what scientific data shows today is that dogs have higher protein requirements than humans, and that their digestive system, which is shorter than ours, is better adapted to their digestion.
The "carnivorous" diet meets this need because meat contains a high level of protein, whereas vegetable proteins are less concentrated and less digestible. Moreover, meat does not only contain proteins, but also vitamins and minerals, which allows the dog's needs to be fulfilled in a rather complete way. However, this does not mean that the dog cannot benefit from the nutrients present in other foods.
Fruits, since this is the subject of today's article, are particularly rich in vitamins and minerals and make great supplements. While meat is originally what allows a dog to survive, an increased intake of certain nutrients found in other foods allows it to thrive and maintain its health. Ultimately, some fruits - and we'll go into more detail on which ones - can benefit the dog and provide beneficial nutrients.
However, they should be given in reasonable quantities, not only because of their fiber content, which is not easily digestible and can cause intestinal problems, but also so that they do not take up too much space in the dog's diet to the detriment of proteins.
Fruits that are good for dogs
Before reading the list of fruits that are good for your dog, note that not all dogs are equal in their digestive abilities. Depending on their eating habits, size, breed and lifestyle, some dogs digest fruit very well, while others can't.
Always start by giving your dog only a small piece of fruit to test his tolerance to this new food, and do not insist if you notice the appearance of the slightest digestive disorder (loose stools, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.) or general disorder (fatigue, prostration, anxiety, etc.).
For sick or fragile dogs, I recommend that you ask your veterinarian's advice before giving them fruit.
With all the precautions mentioned above, here are the fruits you can give to your dog in moderation:
• Apples: good source of vitamins and fiber, low in fat. It makes a very healthy treat, but the seeds and leaves must be removed.
• Pineapples: good for transit, but to be given sparingly to avoid heartburn.
• Bananas: they are a good remedy against diarrhea and loose stools, but they are very high in calories and should be given in very small quantities.
• Watermelons: good sources of vitamins and minerals, but be sure to remove the seeds and rind.
• Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries: very concentrated in minerals, they make good supplements for your dog.
Finally, note that all fruits without exception are harmful to dogs in large quantities. Pineapple, for example, is very sweet and acidic, which can lead to weight gain and stomach upset.
Bananas are high in calories and potassium, which can cause heart problems when taken in excess.
Raspberries contain Xylitol, a substance that is deadly to dogs even in low doses, although some raspberries do not contain enough to be dangerous.
Apple seeds and leaves contain cyanide in amounts too small to poison a human, but enough to harm a small dog.
Toxic fruits for dogs
While some fruits are safe for dogs in small quantities, others are very toxic even in small amounts. Grapes are the most deadly fruit for our four-legged friends, as they cause acute kidney failure by a mechanism that is not yet well defined.
Like all fruits in clusters, it must be completely banned from the diet of dogs, and even more so in the form of raisins.
In the black list of fruits not to be given to dogs, we also find the avocado which causes digestive disorders (vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, etc.), respiratory difficulties and, in the most severe cases, cardiovascular disorders.
Apricots, peaches, plums, pears and cherries should also be excluded because of their high concentration of cyanide, which is found, to a lesser extent, in apple and watermelon seeds.
The last enemy of dogs: citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are not toxic in the true sense of the word, but their acidity can cause serious gastric disorders.
In addition, they provide mostly vitamin C, which is not very useful for dogs that are able to metabolize it from other foods.
Do dogs need to eat fruit?
No, dogs do not need fruit to get all the nutrients they need if they are otherwise receiving a quality diet. If fruit is not needed, it can be fed in small amounts to provide additional vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Is fruit harmful to dogs?
Some fruits, such as grapes and avocados, are highly toxic to dogs. Others, such as apples, bananas and strawberries, are safe in moderate amounts.
Why give your dog fruit?
Giving your dog small amounts of fruit provides him with an increased intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. In addition, fruit makes a healthy treat to reward your dog, as opposed to industrial candy with an opaque composition.
What fruits should I give my dog?
You can give your dog apple and watermelon - without the seeds, banana, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, mango and kiwi, always in small quantities. Not all dogs tolerate fruit in the same way, so pay attention to your dog's health and any digestive symptoms he may have.
What fruits should I not give my dog?
Grapes and avocados are very toxic for dogs. Stone fruits (peaches, apricots, plums, etc.) should also be avoided because of their cyanide concentration. Citrus fruits are not good for dogs and are very acidic, which can cause digestive disorders.
Being able to share a piece of apple or a few strawberries with your dog is a real pleasure, which benefits both your dog's morale and his health. However, in order to ensure that fruit does not bring more disadvantages than benefits, it is advisable to distribute it sparingly, while remaining attentive to its effects on your pet's health.
Some dogs have difficulty digesting even harmless fruit. In this case, there is no point in persevering and it is better to ensure that your dog's diet is of sufficient quality so that he does not need to eat extra fruit.
How do I choose the best diet for my dog?
For me, the easiest way is to trust the recognized professionals of the sector. This gives you the assurance to give your dog the right products while simplifying your life. For example, I recommend Ollie products.
It is a company with an excellent reputation that prepares customized recipes for your dog, 100% fresh and delivered directly to your home.