Which upsides and downsides do you need to be aware of for each one?
Sweet fresh juicy fruit! It goes down a treat with dogs, literally!
A piece or two up your sleeve can be a great choice to reward training victories. Served up by nature and overflowing with nutrients and fibre, fruit can offer dogs a bunch of health benefits too.
(That said… dogs don’t “need” fruit like humans do. Too much fibre can give them the squits, and sugar fuels weight gain, so please go easy!).
Here’s my pick of the crop.
Pineapple is great because it contains bromelain, a special enzyme which makes meat easier to digest. That’s good news for dogs with tummy problems, and a rarity in the fruit bowl!
Pineapple also contains loads of vitamins and minerals: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron… aaand breathe.
But be careful, big chunks of pineapple can get stuck in your pup’s throat. Be sure to chop it up small.
Strawberries are great because they contain manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin C, E & K, which can support nerves, cells and immune systems. Whew, what a haul.
But be careful, strawberries contain a protein which can give some dogs an allergic reaction. Watch out for swollen lips and other signs their mouth is irritated.
Blueberries are great because they’re the perfect size for treats, and they’re less sugary than most fruit.They’re also stuffed with vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants that help repair cell damage and can protect against cancer.
But… hmm, I'm drawing a blank here. Blueberries rock! You can even freeze them for extra crunch.
Apples The flesh contains lots of vitamin A & C, and apple skin is just the kind of fibre doggy guts love. But be careful, you need to remove the apple core (it’s a choking hazard) and the seeds (they contain traces of cyanide, which is a poison, eek!).
Bananas They’re packed with vitamin C, manganese, potassium and biotin, which is essential for a strong canine heart and kidney function. But be careful, they can be seriously fattening due to their sugar content, so are best saved for special occasions.
Blackberries They’re jammed with antioxidants to fight free radicals (which cause cell damage). They also contain vitamin A and C to support your dog’s immune system and healthy skin. But be careful, a blackberry overload can cause doggy diarrhoea due to the extra-high fibre content!
Cantaloupe melon It contains vitamin A, B and C: a triple whammy! These support your dog’s digestion and a strong immune system. But be careful, it’s quite high in sugar, so don’t go overboard.
Honeydew melon It’s high in vitamins B and C, potassium, copper and iron. But be careful, too much of it can cause diarrhoea, and the sugar content can cause weight gain. A treat for occasions only, and not for diabetic dogs!
Watermelon Well, the clue’s in the name. As well as a range of vitamins, watermelon contains a lot of water. This makes it a great fruit to hydrate a thirsty pup in the height of summer. But be careful, the seeds can block a dog’s intestines and the rind can upset their stomach, so focus on the flesh only.
Cranberries They contain vitamin C and… it’s a matter of debate but… some people say they can help dogs fight UTIs (urinary tract infections) thanks to their acidic nature. But be careful, cranberries are a bit on the sour side. If your dog pulls a funny face, cranberries might not be the fruit for you.
Coconut flesh It contains anti-inflammatories which can combat doggy arthritis, skin allergies, and bowel disease. But be careful, coconut is fatty and high in calories, so it’s not the best fruit for dogs with delicate stomachs or weight issues.
Kiwis They’re bursting with vitamin C and potassium, plus flavonoids and carotenoids, which are great antioxidants (protect against cancer, help cell rejuvenation, and strengthen the immune system). But be careful, the skin can be a choking hazard and kiwi seeds are toxic, so make sure you get rid of those bits first.
Mango It contains carotenoids, potassium, vitamins and trace minerals. The skin is very fibrous, which can be a good or bad thing (it depends on your dog). But be careful, you need to remove the large pit from the middle. It contains traces of cyanide, which is toxic to dogs, and can block their insides.
Oranges They’re overflowing with vitamin C to support a strong immune system. But be careful, the citrus oil you find inside orange peel is an irritant. Be sure to cast it aside!
Pears They contain copper, vitamin A and C for skin health and immunity, and vitamin K, which helps blood to clot. But be careful, you need to remove the seeds as they contain traces of cyanide (poisonous!) and chop the pear up small so it’s not a choking hazard.
Raspberries They’re rich in B vitamins, copper, folic acid, magnesium, and manganese. These nutrients have antioxidant properties and can reduce joint inflammation. But be careful, raspberries contain traces of xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Less is more!