A dog eating fruit may sound counter-intuitive, but dogs are actually omnivores. They indeed derive most of their nutritional needs from fat and animal protein.
But most dogs will willingly eat fruit too, given a chance. Many pet owners will attest to their pooches stealing some when they think no one is looking.
Fruit often helps to supplement a dog's diet, providing nutrients it couldn't process from the meat. But not all fruit is good for dogs, and some can be very toxic. The quantity of fruit consumed also matters. More often than not, less is better.
Can Dogs Eat Plums?
Yes, dogs can eat plums, but there are precautions to take to ensure your pet’s safety. The pit is toxic and a choking hazard and needs to be removed. Also, veterinarians recommend you stick to the approved serving size because high-sugar fruits may cause health problems like obesity and gastrointestinal upsets to canines.
Dogs were designed to get their core nutrition from protein and fat. They can handle sugar safely only in small quantities.
Health Benefits: Are Plums Good for Dogs?
Plums are perhaps not the most nutrient-rich foods, but they have their benefits. Your dog could use some of what plums offer as part of a balanced diet.
Plums Are Good for Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for your dog's system. It removes free radicals that are harmful to the body. It boosts your dog's immune system. This vitamin also works to help reduce cognitive aging and inflammation.
Having said this, dogs don't necessarily require a dietary source of vitamin C. They are perfectly capable of synthesizing this vitamin in their livers. However, a little external supplementation doesn't hurt, so a slice or two of plum is okay.
Extra Dose of Vitamin A
Plums are also a relatively good source of vitamin A. This is an essential vitamin for dogs and needs to be a part of their diet to keep them healthy. Vitamin A contributes to a lot of important things in a dog's system. Eyesight, nerves, and muscles all require vitamin A for optimal health. So do a dog's skin and coat.
A dog that doesn't get sufficient vitamin A in its diet will have unhealthy skin and fur. Night blindness can also set in. Your dog's muscles could also deteriorate, and it will feel weak and listless. Good quality kibble will have all the vitamins your dog needs, in the right quantities. However, if you treat your dog to other foods, fruits with important vitamins can be a good option.
An overdose of vitamin A can be toxic, but the occasional slice or two of plum shouldn't cause trouble. Your dog will enjoy his treat and get a little extra vitamin A to keep him healthy.
Dogs are generally active critters and need water to stay hydrated. An always accessible bowl of clean, fresh water is indispensable. But chances are your dog will appreciate some fresh plum after running around on a hot summer day. Plums are 87% water and make for a quick, tasty way to get your dog feeling refreshed.
Health Risks: Are Plums Bad for Dogs?
Plums do contain some useful nutrients such as vitamins A and C., but they're not exactly a nutrition bomb, and giving your dog too much is not a great idea.
They can be an occasional healthy snack, but there are some things you need to know first.
The Pits are a Problem
You need to be absolutely certain you don't feed your dog any plum pits, for several reasons. First, there's the shape of the seed. Smaller dogs especially can easily choke on a plum pit when trying to swallow it down.
Sometimes, the pit can also be very sharp. It could damage your dog's digestive tract and even get lodged in the intestine. A severe case may require costly and painful surgical intervention.
Then there's the cyanide factor. If crushed, the plum pit will release significant levels of amygdalin, which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide. This compound is as toxic to dogs as it is to humans. If enough plum pits are consumed, your dog could end up very ill. For this reason, you've got to make sure that any plum you feed your dog is pitted correctly.
High Sugar Content
We've already said it, but fruits generally contain lots of sugar, and plums are no exception. Dogs were not designed to consume sugar in big quantities. Too much can easily lead to health problems, from tooth decay and digestive upsets to obesity and diabetes.
Plums contain a fair amount of sugar and should be fed only every now and then. Canned plums should be avoided entirely as they often contain added sugar. It's easy to succumb to temptation because many dogs have a sweet tooth and will beg for anything sugary. But keep your pet's health in mind and don't get carried away.
It's unfortunate, but many modern dog breeds are prone to obesity, heart problems, and diabetes. If your dog is at risk or already has a health condition, best consult your vet first. Your vet may advise against giving your four-legged pal any foods containing sugar.
Be Sure to Wash Thoroughly
Just like most fruits and veggies these days, plums are often treated with pesticides. Residues of these chemicals may still be on the fruit when you buy it. Needless to say, neither you nor your dog needs to ingest any.
Wash the plum thoroughly under running water (and, of course, remove the pit) before feeding your dog. And if at all possible, go for organically grown ones. They might be more expensive, but they're sure to be free of harmful chemicals.
Serving Size and How to Feed?
Many dogs love fruit and sweet stuff in general and will gladly take any that you offer. It's up to you to make sure your dog is getting a healthy treat in the right amount.
A serving of plum or other fruit a couple of times a week is plenty for your dog.
Be Sure to Remove the Pit
We can't over-emphasize this one. Plum pits are not safe for your dog and need to be removed before you serve any plum. So after washing the plum under running water, cut out the pit and throw it in the bin.
Feed your dog only the flesh of the plum. Once the pit is out, you can cut him a slice or two and let him enjoy his snack.
Don't Feed Too Frequently
A serving of plum or other fruit a couple of times a week is plenty for your canine. Dogs can eat fruit, but don't handle it as well as humans. Too much fruit simply equals too much sugar for your pet. And if your pet already has a health condition like diabetes, fruit may best be avoided altogether.
While plums are not as rich as some other fruits, they still contain useful nutrients.
Pit aside, there's nothing a plum has that is poisonous for your dog.
Eating 100 grams of plum will give you 46 calories. At 0.3 and 0.7 grams, respectively, the fat and protein content is negligible. But sugar comes in at all of 9.9 grams from a total of 11 grams of carbs per 100.
There isn't much fiber either, with only 1.4 grams for every 100. This is why plums are not something to feed to your dog too often. Canned plums will usually have added sugar and make matters worse, so please use only fresh ones.
Lots of Water Content
At 87%, plums consist of mainly water. This is the reason they're not as nutrient-dense as some other fruits that have less moisture content. For your dog, though, the water is a plus. Your pet will likely appreciate a refreshing slice of plum after a good run or play session.
Plums Do Provide Some Vitamins
While not the richest source, plums still contain vitamins A and C in good amounts. One hundred grams of fresh plum will give you 345 IU of vitamin A and 9.5mg of vitamin C. There's also a sizeable quantity of vitamin K, with 6.4ug per 100 grams. Plums are also a source of some other vitamins, among them E and B6, but in smaller amounts.
Washed and pitted, plums are a safe addition to your pet's diet as an occasional treat.
The pits need to be removed as they are toxic and a choking hazard. And the amount of plum your pet receives needs to be small to control his sugar intake. Much as dogs love it, sugar is not good for them.
Plums are certainly not indispensable, however. Your dog will not lose anything much by not eating any. It's your choice, and there are other good fruits to choose from too. Apples, blueberries, and mangoes are all good options.
Will one plum pit kill a dog?
No, the one plum pit will not kill a dog because of the toxins, but it may pose others kinds of health threats. Plum pits do contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs, but your pet would have to eat several pits to make them lethal. Chocking and intestinal blockages, however, are a real danger. Therefore, you should never feed your dog plum pits.
The pits can be very dangerous not only because they are toxic because most little dogs cannot chew the pit up but will swallow them hole. This can easily get stuck in your dog’s stomach or intestines causing a blockage. I have had to remove a fruit pit out of a very small dog’s intestine. This dog snuck the plum out of the grocery bag and swallowed with pit whole. This type of surgery can be very expensive and sometime have a not so happy outcome.
Make sure that anything that you feed your dog is cut into small enough chunks to not cause a problem if it was not properly chewed. Some dogs will get so excited about a tasty treat that they take the fruit and swallow it whole.
- Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM
Sara Redding Ochoa, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, was raised in Calhoun, LA. She knew since she was a little girl that her dream was to become a veterinarian. Dr. Ochoa attended Louisiana Tech for her undergraduate school, and then attended St. George University to complete veterinary school. After graduating, Dr. Ochoa moved to east Texas and has been working as a small animal and exotic veterinarian.
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.