Can Dogs Eat Plums? A Vet Weighs in on This Summer Stone Fruit
Plums can be a yummy and nutritious snack for humans—but can dogs eat plums, too? While you might want to share a piece of the juicy summer fruit with your pup, this purple fruit could become dangerous if your dog gets their paws on the pit.
Basically: Dogs can eat plums, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should.
We talked to a vet to find out what else pet parents need to know before sharing a few pieces of this stone fruit with their pups.
Can Dogs Have Plums?
Dogs can have plums as long as they eat the part of the fruit that's safe for them. Even then, it's probably best to keep them to yourself.
The flesh of the plum is typically safe for dogs to eat—and filled with nutritious fiber—but the pit is extremely dangerous. Even though pitless plums are technically safe for dogs to eat, it doesn't necessarily mean they make the healthiest treat.
"Just from an overall health perspective, there are other more nutritious treats that you can give your dog," says JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM and Daily Paws contributor. "So even though technically, yes, removing the pit would make the plum safer to eat for a dog, my opinion is it would be better just to not give dogs plums at all and find other treats."
When Are Plums Bad for Dogs?
Plums are bad for dogs when pups get ahold of the very toxic pit.
Pendergrass says the reason plum pits are so toxic to dogs is that they contain cyanide, a chemical that is extremely poisonous to dogs. Your dog doesn't even need to swallow the pit for it to be dangerous. Pendergrass says simply biting into it can release cyanide that could enter your dog's system and potentially lead to poisoning.
Plum pits are also a choking hazard—especially to smaller dogs who have small esophagi, Pendergrass says. The pit also has sharp edges that could damage or tear the lining of your dog's digestive tract.
It's also important to keep dog's away from the stem and leaves of a plum, as Pendergrass states these parts also contain cyanide.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats a Plum Pit?
If your dog eats a plum pit, stems, or leaves, contact your veterinarian or a poison helpline right away. Be sure to monitor them for signs of cyanide poisoning, which include labored breathing, red gums, and dilated pupils, according to the ASPCA.
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Plums
While plum flesh is safe for dogs to eat, Pendergrass says you should be wary of the high sugar content in plums. To her, it's another reason to consider a better snack. However, if your pup is really intrigued with the plum you're eating and you decide to give them a little taste—it's essential to remove the pit before giving it to your dog. Before giving your pup a bite, Pendergrass says it's also important to make sure the flesh isn't overripe or moldy.
Pendergrass recommends feeding only a slice or two of plum to your dog. Avoid feeding any fruit if your dog has diabetes—it's too much sugar. And remember, treats should make up no more than 5-10 percent of your dog's daily caloric intake.
Can Dogs Eat Prunes?
Prunes are simply dried plums, and many people swear by them to keep "regular." While non-toxic, they're not exactly healthy for your pup. Prunes are high in sugar and fiber, and feeding them to your dog can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
"Eating a prune or two is likely safe for a dog," Pendergrass says. "Overall, however, prunes are not a healthy snack choice for dogs."
Other Fruits Dogs Can Eat
If you're looking for other (and potentially healthier) fruits for your pup to snack on, try one of these:
- Pineapple, minus the skin and leaves
- Apples, without the core, seeds, and stem
- Bananas, peeled
- Mango, pit and skin removed
- Oranges, without the peel
- Tangerines, peeled
- Watermelon, minus the rind and seeds
- Cantaloupe, without the rind