Picture this: It's a hot day, and you're cutting up some pineapple for a smoothie, a salad, or just a snack. Your dog sits on the floor, waiting to see if any of the fruit drops down as you work. A stroke of luck happens, and plop! A piece of pineapple falls to the floor.
Your dog rushes over to eat it. What happens next? Is pineapple safe, or are there health risks involved in giving it to your dog? Or does it actually have health benefits your pet could gain from this juicy fruit?
In this article, we will help you discover everything you need to know when it comes to the common question of "can dogs eat pineapple?". Read on to discover all you need to know about the potential hazards and advantages.
Can Dogs Eat Pineapple?
Yes, dogs can eat pineapple. It contains fiber and many nutrients like Vitamin C and bromelain. Still, some dogs may be sensitive to pineapple, and it's important to follow feeding guidelines as it's a sugary fruit that may cause diabetes and obesity. Also, the leaves, skin, and core pose a hazard of choking and intestinal blockages.
Once your dog tastes pineapples, it will beg you for more
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Also, it is important that your dog is fed with balanced and complete dog food recommended by vets. This should make up 90% of your pet's daily food intake, and only 10% should consist of treats, including fruit like pineapple.
That said, dogs can enjoy pineapple, and it's not toxic to them in any way. Most dogs love the taste of pineapple as well, but it depends on the dog.
Puppies are OK to enjoy small amounts of pineapple, but not before 12 weeks of age. In the beginning, they should stick with their mother's milk and quality puppy food and avoid sugary treats to ensure their proper growth and development. Bigger dogs can handle bigger servings, so be sure to keep the amount served small when dealing with a puppy or small breed, as pineapple is very high in sugar.
OK, so it seems that pineapple is something you could offer your dog as a treat. And yes, actually, it does come with quite a few health benefits we're going to explain next. However, there are some health risks you should also be aware of before feeding, and we'll get to those in a minute.
Health Benefits: Is Pineapple Good for Dogs?
So, what are the advantages of feeding your pup some of this delicious and juicy yellow fruit? Let's find out.
Boosts Immune System
The great thing about pineapple is that it is good for fighting infections, and it promotes better immune system health.
Pineapple is exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Fruits like pineapple are known to be great for boosting your dog's immune system thanks to the Vitamin C and antioxidants contained within. Antioxidants also fight free radicals and help guard your dog against cancer and the effects of aging.
Pineapples also contain bromelain, which is an enzyme that is an anti-inflammatory, so it may be good for dogs with arthritis. Plus, pineapple naturally promotes the release of histamine in the body, so if your dog has skin issues, this fruit could help them.
Lots of Water and Fiber
Pineapple is 86% water and loaded with fiber. Thanks to the water of this fruit, your dog can enjoy a bit of extra hydration in conjunction with their regular water intake. Just remember that watery foods are no substitute for having fresh water available in a bowl throughout the day. However, juicy fruits like pineapple can bring some extra refreshment on a hot day.
Pineapples also contain a lot of fiber, which fills up the stomach quickly and keeps your pet satisfied. Therefore, it can be an excellent treat for dogs that are overweight and have a sweet tooth but need to drop a few pounds.
The fiber also keeps the digestion moving and helps your dog have regular bowel movements.
Packed with Vitamin C
Pineapples are very high in Vitamin C, and although dogs can synthesize this vitamin in their livers, supplementing their diet with treats that are full of Vitamin C can have some health benefits.
Vitamin C will help your dog regrow tissues, guard against heart disease, boost his or her immunity, reduce cholesterol, and helps with the absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals.
Contains Many Healthful Nutrients
Pineapples are loaded with many other helpful vitamins and minerals, including zinc, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper, plus folate, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, and niacin. You could say that nutritionwise, pineapple can be an excellent addition to your dog's diet since it brings all these great nutrients to the table.
Pineapples are also packed with thiamine, which is a helpful vitamin known to help vital organs function at their peak. The brain and heart are two such examples. It also supports the health of your dog's eyes and brain function as well.
Although it's important to remember that your dog's diet should only contain up to 10% of treats, who can resist giving their furry friend delicious snacks and tidbits from the table?
Some low-quality commercial dog treats contain by-products, chemicals, and other things owners would prefer their dog not eat. With pineapple, you can count on a tasty, natural, and safe treat for your dog to enjoy.
If you want to offer your pooch something tasty and exciting, then pineapple is one food you can try – in moderation, of course.
Because although pineapple has many of these excellent advantages, it also comes with some critical health risks to be aware of before feeding. First, we'll go over these potential hazards, after which we'll explain how much pineapple is OK and how it should be prepared so that it is safe.
Health Risks: Is Pineapple Bad for Dogs?
For all the good that pineapple does, it has its dangers. You can avoid these by making sure you serve your dog pineapple in moderation and in the right amounts according to your pet's size.
It's Got Lots of Fiber
Although we mentioned the benefits of fruits that are high in fiber, it's good to know that too much fiber could lead to stomach issues like diarrhea. This may prevent your dog from absorbing important nutrients, which can then lead to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition. Bad diarrhea also causes dehydration, which can be dangerous.
As a food that is high in water and fiber, pineapple may not be suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Although both hydration and fiber are needed for the digestive system to work, when fed in excess, they speed up the system unnecessarily, which leads to defecating frequently and possibly accidents inside the house.
Not all dogs enjoy or like pineapple, and some could very well be allergic to the fruit. You should begin by feeding your dog a small amount and then monitoring them for the next 24 hours for any signs of an allergic reaction.
Watch for reactions such as
- skin rashes
- weight loss
- lack of energy
If you notice these or any other adverse reactions, do not offer the fruit again and contact a vet for assessing the situation and advice.
It Won't Stop Them from Eating Poop
Some owners have been led to believe that pineapple will help their dog stop eating their own fecal matter (a behavior called coprophagia). This is not true, so do not force your dog to eat the fruit in hopes of stopping this behavior.
The concept behind the theory is that the pineapple’s enzymes will make the poop weird-smelling and repel the dog. However, you cannot feed pineapple all the time and every day. Plus, a dog that finds poop to be tasty is not likely to be deterred by a weird smell.
Coprophagia can be a behavioral problem, or it can indicate that your dog is not getting enough nutrients. So, if your pet is doing it, consult a vet to make sure the food you are feeding your dog matches its nutritional requirements and offers a complete and balanced diet that keeps your pet healthy.
Loaded with Natural Sugar
Pineapple is very sweet, thanks to the natural sugars it contains. Your dog could develop diabetes or obesity, or even cardiovascular issues if you serve this on a regular basis.
Pineapple is very sugary, which makes it unhealthy when fed in large amounts.
This is critical to watch for, especially if you have a breed that is predisposed to developing diabetes. Some examples of such breeds include Bichon Frise, Pugs, Schnauzers, Golden Retrievers, and Australian Terriers, to name a few.
Also, obesity is a growing problem among pet dogs, so make sure you're not feeding too many treats, and the overall diet does not contain too many calories. Treats should make up no more than 10% of the overall food intake, and it's better to favor healthy treats rather than ones that are high in sugar or fat.
As pineapple is a sugary fruit, it should only be fed as an occasional treat rather than a daily snack.
Choking and Digestion Hazards
The leaves, skin, and core of pineapple are tough, spiky, and very difficult to digest. You don't want your dog to get hold of any of these parts, as they can cause him or her to choke if the piece is too big and the dog gobbles it up too quickly without chewing.
Should your dog swallow these pieces of pineapple, the sharp parts could damage the intestinal tract or cause a gastrointestinal blockage, resulting in discomfort and a possibly life-threatening situation for your pet.
Signs of a bowel obstruction can include vomiting, loss of appetite, straining during defecating, and diarrhea. Should you notice these symptoms, a vet will help you assess the situation and determine whether your dog needs to be examined.
Feeding Guidelines: Pineapple for Dogs
Next, let's talk about how to offer your dog this fruit safely:
How Much Pineapple Can My Dog Eat?
A few small chunks are OK for most dogs, depending on their size. A small breed might enjoy a single chunk, while a medium breed could have two, and a large breed could have three. Remember that moderation is key when it comes to serving naturally sweet fruit treats.
As a general rule, a 10-pound dog can eat three bite-sized chunks of pineapple, twice per week.
Pineapples are safe and beneficial to dogs only when used occasionally and in treat-sized portions.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
A good rule of thumb is that vet-approved dog food makes up 90% of your pet's daily diet, and 10% is left for all snacks and treats. Also, the amounts of pineapple you can feed depend on how sensitive your dog's stomach is. Start with a small piece and see you your pup reacts before moving to larger amounts.
How Often Can I Feed My Dog Pineapple?
It's best to keep this as a once a week or maximum twice a week treat. This will ensure your pet avoids developing adverse reactions in terms of their digestive system, prevents developing diabetes or obesity, and keeps pineapple as an exciting treat that offers variety.
How to Prepare Pineapple for Dogs?
- Begin by selecting a fresh pineapple. Go organic if you can, as this reduces the risk of pesticides present on the fruit. Fresh pineapple will have a bit of give when you squeeze them but also have a firm shell.
- Once you have your pineapple home and are ready to serve, carefully cut off the bottom and crown.
- Then stand it up and thoroughly trim the sides. Get rid of any eyes you see.
- Next cut the pineapple in half down the center. Then cut the halves into four lengthwise pieces, removing the core from each long piece.
- Lastly, cut the fruit into chunks and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until your pet is ready to eat them.
What About Frozen, Dried, Canned or Cooked Pineapple?
A frozen chunk makes for a nice treat on a hot day, and if you have a bigger dog, this should not be a problem. But for smaller dogs, this could pose a serious choking hazard. It's probably best not to take the risk and stick with fresh regardless of size, so treat time can remain fun and safe.
It is also advisable to let the pineapple thaw before serving it (unless it is hot and trying to use the pineapple as a refreshing treat). However, make sure your dog’s teeth are not too fragile for the frozen pineapple flesh.
No, dried pineapple is not recommended. Dried fruits such as pineapple contain large amounts of sugar compared to fresh produce. The sugar amount stays the same even after the water has been removed, making it very easy to overdo it with sugar when eating dried fruit. Stay away from dried fruits when it's time to treat your dog.
Cooked pineapple won't harm your dog, but it may lose some of the nutrients as part of the cooking process. So, while it won't really do any harm, it won't do the same amount of good as fresh would.
Xylitol and added sugars are the two dangers of canned pineapple. Xylitol is a sweetener that is very toxic for dogs and can cause vomiting, weakness, staggering around, and even seizures. Added sugars have a negative impact on the blood sugar levels of your pet, even more so if you have a diabetic dog.
With canned pineapple, you also have the risk of your pet missing out on the enzymes and nutrients, which can be lost in the canning process. Just stick with fresh pineapple for the best results.
Per 100g of pineapple, you get the following:
- 50 calories
- 0.1g fat
- 0mg cholesterol
- 1mg sodium
- 109mg potassium
- 13g total carbs
- 10g sugar
- 0.5g protein
You also get the following helpful vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B-6
As you can see, pineapple is full of healthful nutrients, but it's also very sugary, which makes it unhealthy when fed in large amounts.
Yes, pineapple is OK for dogs in moderation. However, this is not a staple food, and you should always feed your dog vet-recommended pet food and provide plenty of clean, fresh water.
However, with proper serving sizes, portion control, and correct preparation, pineapple can be a safe, fun, and natural way to treat your dog and offer some variety to their regular diets.
We all want to spoil our canine babies with treats that are not standard doggy fare, and the juicy, tropical pineapple is the perfect example.
Pineapple is exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system. It is also packed with water and fiber, thus keeping dogs satiated for hours. Not to mention, dogs love the pineapples' sugary taste.
Once your dog tastes pineapples, it will beg you for more. Do not fall for it - food begging in dogs is part of their evolutionary survival strategy. However, pineapples are safe and beneficial to dogs only when used occasionally and in treat-sized portions.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Ivana Crnec is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine specialized in domestic carnivores. She graduated from the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. Ivana is a certified canine nutritionist and also certified in HAACP food safety system implementation. She currently works as a veterinarian while completing her postgraduate studies. Her research has been published in international journals.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your dog's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.