Plums are a delicious and nutritious fruit for humans, but what about our canine friends? Can dogs eat plums safely, or are they toxic to them? In this article, we will explore the benefits and risks of feeding plums to your dog, and how to do it properly.
What are Plums?
Plums are a type of stone fruit that belong to the same family as peaches, apricots, cherries, and nectarines. They have a thin skin that can be red, purple, yellow, or green, and a juicy flesh that can be sweet or sour. Plums also have a large pit in the center that contains a seed.
Plums are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and water. They can help with digestion, immunity, skin health, and hydration. However, they also contain a lot of sugar, which can be harmful for dogs if consumed in excess.
Can Dogs Eat Plums?
The answer is yes and no. Dogs can eat plums, but only the flesh part. The pit, leaves, stems, and roots of plums contain cyanide, which can be toxic for dogs. Cyanide can cause vomiting, breathing difficulties, skin irritation, drooling, watery eyes, rapid heartbeat, convulsions, bright red gums, coma, and even death in severe cases.
Therefore, you should never feed your dog plums that have the pit or any other part attached. You should also avoid dried plums (prunes) and canned plums that have added sugar or preservatives. These can cause weight gain, diabetes, or other health problems for your dog.
If you want to give your dog some fresh plum flesh as a treat, you should wash it well, cut it into small pieces, and remove the pit carefully. You should also limit the amount you give to your dog. Plums should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Plums?
Cherry plums are a type of plum that are smaller and sweeter than regular plums. They have a red or yellow skin and a yellow flesh. Cherry plums are also edible for humans and dogs, but the same precautions apply. You should only feed your dog the flesh part of cherry plums and remove the pit and any other part that contains cyanide.
Cherry plums are also high in sugar, so you should only give them to your dog occasionally and in moderation. Too much sugar can cause dental problems, obesity, diabetes, or pancreatitis for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Plums?
Dried plums are also known as prunes. They are plums that have been dehydrated to remove most of the water content. Dried plums are often used as a natural laxative for humans because they contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that can stimulate bowel movements.
However, dried plums are not recommended for dogs. They contain too much sugar and sorbitol for dogs to handle. They can cause diarrhea, dehydration, bloating, gas, or intestinal blockage for your dog. They can also increase the risk of dental decay and obesity.
If your dog needs help with constipation, you should consult your vet for a safer and more effective solution. You should also keep dried plums away from your dog’s reach and never feed them to your dog.
How to Feed Plums to Your Dog Safely
If you decide to feed plums to your dog as an occasional treat, you should follow these steps:
- Wash the plum well under running water
- Cut the plum into small pieces
- Remove the pit and any other part that contains cyanide
- Give your dog one or two pieces at a time
- Monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort or allergic reaction
- Stop feeding plums if your dog shows any adverse symptoms
You should also check with your vet before feeding plums to your dog if your dog has any medical conditions or dietary restrictions. Some dogs may be allergic or intolerant to plums or other fruits.
Alternatives to Plums for Your Dog
Plums are not the best fruit for dogs because of their high sugar content and potential toxicity from cyanide. There are other fruits that are safer and healthier for dogs to eat. Some examples are:
- Berries: Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. They can help with immunity, digestion, and urinary health. You can feed your dog fresh or frozen berries as a treat, but avoid dried or canned berries that have added sugar or preservatives.
- Oranges: Oranges are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and water. They can help with hydration, immunity, and electrolyte balance. You can feed your dog peeled and segmented oranges as a treat, but avoid the peel and seeds that can cause digestive upset or choking.
- Kiwi: Kiwi is a tropical fruit that has a fuzzy brown skin and a green flesh with tiny black seeds. Kiwi is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber. It can help with immunity, blood clotting, and digestion. You can feed your dog peeled and sliced kiwi as a treat, but avoid the skin and seeds that can cause irritation or obstruction.
- Bananas: Bananas are a popular fruit for dogs because they are soft, sweet, and easy to digest. Bananas are high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and fiber. They can help with muscle function, nerve function, and digestion. You can feed your dog peeled and mashed bananas as a treat, but avoid the peel that can cause choking or blockage.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkin is not technically a fruit, but it is often used as one in cooking. Pumpkin is a type of squash that has a thick orange skin and a bright orange flesh with seeds. Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. It can help with vision, skin health, immunity, and digestion. You can feed your dog cooked and pureed pumpkin as a treat, but avoid the raw pumpkin, skin, stem, and seeds that can cause digestive upset or obstruction.
Plums are a tasty fruit for humans, but they are not the best choice for dogs. Plums contain cyanide in their pits, leaves, stems, and roots that can be toxic for dogs. Plums also contain a lot of sugar that can cause health problems for dogs if consumed in excess.
If you want to feed plums to your dog as an occasional treat, you should only give them the flesh part of plums and remove the pit and any other part that contains cyanide. You should also limit the amount you give to your dog and monitor them for any signs of discomfort or allergic reaction.
There are other fruits that are safer and healthier for dogs to eat than plums. You can choose from berries, oranges, kiwi, bananas, or pumpkin as alternatives to plums for your dog. These fruits are low in sugar and high in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber that can benefit your dog’s health.
Remember to always check with your vet before feeding any new food to your dog. Some dogs may have allergies or intolerances to certain fruits or other foods. Your vet can advise you on the best diet for your dog based on their age, breed, size, activity level, and health condition.