June 26, 2020

Can Dogs Eat Pomegranate?

Dog Food Guide

Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

Pomegranates are one of nature's superfoods. They taste great and look great sitting on your table in the fruit bowl. Getting kids to eat their fruit is easy when you have a pomegranate around.

But what about dogs? Are they able to enjoy the great taste and health benefits associated with pomegranate, like ample Vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants?

We did some research, and it turns out that dogs CAN enjoy pomegranate, but there are some caveats before you go dishing some out to Rufus. Keep reading to discover all you need to know about giving your dog some pomegranate.

Can Dogs Eat Pomegranate?

Yes, dogs can eat pomegranate. The fruit is not toxic, and the arils and juice have many health benefits. Still, the peel should not be fed to dogs to avoid intestinal blockages. Follow the recommendations with serving size, as pomegranates are not suitable for all dogs and may cause vomiting and stomach upset.

If your dog gets hold of a pomegranate and begins to eat it, rest assured it is not toxic, as is the case with chocolate, for example. Pomegranates are actually very good for dogs, thanks to their nutritious content. [1.],[2.]

And the juices, extracts, and fruit can all be offered to your pet as a means of reaping the benefits of the food. There are also pomegranate treats available and some dog foods that use pomegranate, which is a tasty and safe way for your dog to enjoy the fruit without you having to worry about him eating too much of it.

However, although pomegranate is not poisonous, it can make dogs sick and give them tummy troubles. Depending on how sensitive a tummy your pooch has, he may or may not be able to eat fresh pomegranates. But don't worry, even if your dog has a sensitive stomach and has a hard time digesting the fruit, you can always offer the pomegranate juice or extract.

Health Benefits: Are Pomegranates Good for Dogs?

Eating fruit is a good idea when you are human. After all, it gets you vitamin C, is relatively low in calories, fills you up, and tastes great. [3.] But what about eating fruit like a pomegranate when you are a dog?

The good news is that the health benefits of pomegranate extend to dogs too.

Here are some of the great benefits associated with the consumption of the fruit

Powerful Plant Compounds

Pomegranates contain punicalagin and punicic acid. Punicalagins are powerful antioxidants that are found in pomegranate juice and the peels of the fruit. These are such potent compounds they have three times the antioxidant properties of green tea and red wine. [4.]

Pomegranate extract powder is made from the fruit's peels, thanks to the super high amounts of antioxidants and punicalagin. As for punicic acid, it is found in pomegranate seed oil and is the primary fatty acid found in the arils of the pomegranate.

pomegranate seeds

Reduces Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death for dogs, but a recent study has shown that pomegranate extract is very effective in reducing heart disease in dogs. As a part of a dog's diet, pomegranate extract can help reduce the onset and progression of oxidative stress-induced canine heart disease. [5.]

May Help Fight Arthritis

Arthritis in dogs is a heartbreaking thing to watch, especially if your dog is normally very playful. Offering pomegranate may be a great way to keep those joints feeling great. Arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints, and pomegranates feature anti-inflammatory plant compounds. Thus, the consumption of the fruit may help reduce the inflammation and help your dog feel better.

May Help Fight Infections of the Bacterial/Fungal Type

Plant compounds found in pomegranate might help fight microorganisms that compromise health. The pomegranate has been shown to combat certain types of bacteria and the yeast Candida albicans. The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects may also guard against infections/inflammation of the mouth – gingivitis and periodontitis being two such examples.[6.]

Good Gut Health

One study showed that supplementing your pooch's diet with pomegranate peel extract can have a good effect on their overall gut and digestive health. Just don't give them raw peel – it's hard for dogs to digest. [7.]

Health Risks: Are Pomegranates Bad for Dogs?

Thankfully, pomegranates in and of themselves are not bad for dogs. They will not need to be rushed to the vet after consuming the fruit. That being said, there are still some cautions to keep in mind so you can safely feed this fruit to your pup.

Toxicity

Pomegranates are not toxic to dogs- thankfully, dogs can enjoy these fruits with no worries on their owner's part. Although the fruit may cause diarrhea and even vomiting in sensitive dogs, there is nothing dangerous about consuming pomegranate, and your dog's tummy should soon settle.

Steer Clear of Whole Fruits

Do not feed your dog the whole pomegranate fruit. Granted, this is not harmful to dogs; it's just going to be very hard for the dog to digest. If a food is not digestible, the dog's digestive system will try its best to get rid of the fruit and recover as fast as it can. They could vomit as the peel is hard for their digestive system to break down.

Unless the vomiting lasts longer than usual or is severe in nature, there's no need to take the dog to the vet. But because of the risk, never feed your dog a whole pomegranate.

Choking Hazard

Because the pomegranate peel is hard to chew and swallow, you should also avoid giving your dog the fresh peel. If you want to reap the benefits pomegranate peel can have on your pet's health, choose pomegranate peel extract or powder to supplement your dog's food.

Dogs are known to gobble up their food quickly, and a whole fruit or large piece of peel can easily block your dog's airways and cause a choking hazard. Never feed your dog a whole pomegranate or the peel.

The Seeds

The seeds aren't bad for your dog, but they can be a bit hard to digest for dogs with sensitive digestion. If your dog is prone to tummy trouble, you may wish to crush them up and then add them to your dog's food. Or even better, just offer your dog pomegranate powder or extract.

Upset Stomach

Pomegranates are known to cause an upset stomach for some dogs. Even a small amount of pomegranate may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It is not dangerous, but if your dog does suffer from these symptoms, it's better to steer clear of this fruit.

The tannins in pomegranates may lead your dog to experience an upset stomach. These tannins are the helpful plant compounds we discussed earlier, namely punicic acid and punicalagin. Some dogs may experience tummy upset; others will not.

When giving your pet pomegranate for the first time, let them only have a little and keep an eye on your dog to see how they react. If you see any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, tummy pain, or discomfort, it's better not to feed your dog pomegranate.

Serving Size and How to Feed?

Dogs can eat pomegranates, and tossing them a few arils is OK. Never feed the peel or the whole fruit, but the juice and arils are fine.

Letting your dog eat the fresh fruit may not be the best option. 

Introduce the food slowly and offer just a little taste if it's the first time your dog is eating some pomegranate.

Although pomegranates are a healthy superfood full of beneficial nutrients, letting your dog eat the fresh fruit may not be the best option.

Actually, the best way for your dog to experience the health benefits of pomegranate is to make treats using pomegranate fruit or extract or to supplement your dog's food with it.

For example, you can make pomegranate squash dog treats:

  • 1 cup Butternut squash, cooked and pureed
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds

Preparation: 

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Mix squash, pomegranate seeds, egg, and OJ together, set aside.
  3. Put arrowroot powder and 1 tbsp of water in a medium saucepan, whisk on low heat until it gets thick.
  4. Add the arrowroot mixture to a saucepan and mix.
  5. Fill a pie pan with the mixture and bake for 30 min or until pie breaks from the edges.
  6. Cool the pie and serve it.

Pie can be refrigerated for three days. (Original recipe here.)

pomegranate on table

Nutrition Facts

Pomegranates taste great, are low in calories, and offer plenty of great vitamins and minerals for your dog.

They are a sweet and healthy treat, and your dog will really like the taste.

Nutritional Values

Pomegranates are quite healthy for you and your dog! It's just 72 calories, 27 g of carbs, and 5g of fiber in one half-cup serving. There is a pretty large amount of natural sugar, coming in at 89g – so this is a treat to keep in moderation. You get 9mg of vitamin C, and 33 micrograms of folate, also.

What Are Some Other Great Things About Pomegranate? 

Potassium – This helpful nutrient keeps the kidneys functioning well. Heart function, muscle function, and digestion are also driven by potassium. It's important to keep this nutrient in balance, as it can be lost if your dog experiences diarrhea, vomiting, or suffers from irritable bowel disease.

Antioxidants – Free radicals are uncharged molecules produced from oxidation. The damage they produce can lead to arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, and even cancer in some cases. Antioxidants help protect your dog against harmful free radicals and keep his body from being damaged as a result. They also promote good eye health, allergy resistance, and a healthy heart.

Vitamin C – This is just one of those helpful antioxidants. Even though dogs can synthesize their own vitamin C, providing some supplementation gives them a boost and may help amplify the good health effects that this antioxidant brings, such as eye health, a healthy heart, and a strong immune system.

FiberFiber is just as important for dogs as it is for humans! Fiber helps your pooch digest and may help lower the risk of colon cancer for your dog. Elimination is faster when there's enough fiber in the diet, so exposure to carcinogens is limited. Fiber may also help lower symptoms of constipation and diarrhea if you have a pup that suffers from such issues. [8.]

Vitamin K – Vitamin K-1 is sold as a supplement for dogs (and cats) that aids them in blood clotting and helps prevent bleeding issues. This supplement often comes in the form of a chewable tablet. However, your dog can reap the benefits of Vitamin K from the consumption of a pomegranate. [9.]

Bottom line: Can Dogs Have Pomegranate?

Pomegranate is good for dogs; there's no question about that. The best way to feed your dog a pomegranate is to work it into a treat; in this way, your dog can enjoy the health benefits of other foods like eggs along with the fruit.

Make sure that you offer your dog a small amount at first to see how they like it, and to verify that they do not have any negative reactions to the food.

Once you know they like it, you can integrate pomegranate into your dog's diet to provide a healthy and tasty way of keeping him topped up with beneficial nutrients and vitamins.

Pomegranate for Dogs - FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Pomegranate Seeds?

Yes, dogs can eat pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate seeds, also called arils, are not toxic to dogs and can be considered a healthy treat. Still, seeds are difficult to digest in large amounts, and they can make your dog sick. Follow our feeding guidelines, as pomegranate seeds may cause stomach upsets, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs.

Can pomegranate seeds hurt dogs?

Yes, pomegranate seeds can hurt dogs when fed in large amounts because they are very difficult to digest. Pomegranate is not toxic to dogs, but the edible seeds, also known as arils, are known to make some dogs sick, causing stomach aches and vomiting. You don’t have to worry if your dog gobbles up a small number of pomegranate seeds, and your dog won’t need to see a vet unless you see severe signs of tummy trouble.

Vet's Comment

Any time you introduce a new food to your dog, it is best to just give a small amount to start with to make sure it won't upset their stomach. Some dogs can be more sensitive to new foods than others, and if your pup has a sensitive tummy, you might want to avoid trying new foods.

If your dog does vomit or have diarrhea after trying something new, it's best to feed them something bland and easy on the tummy for a few days until they are back to normal. Rice and boiled chicken or cooked beef are easy on your dog's digestive tract and will get them feeling better.

- Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM

Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Leonie McKinlay

DVM

Dr. Leonie McKinlay has always had a special fondness for animals and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Calgary and then her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Since graduation, Dr. McKinlay has been working at the same small animal practice, caring for dogs and cats.

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.

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