Spring and summer bring many fresh fruits and vegetables into your kitchen. You may feel tempted to feed some of these to your dog as a healthy treat — but before you do, you need to know that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs. This guide will help you know what fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs, and which you need to avoid to keep your dog healthy and safe.
Best Fruits To Feed Your Dog
The sweetness of fruit makes it an appealing, healthy snack for your dog. There are several fruits that dogs love that also offer nutritional benefits, making them excellent additions to your dog’s diet. Let’s take a look at some of the best fruits you can offer your dog.
Apples provide vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. They are also a good source of antioxidants and fiber. The fiber in the peel can also help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Apples are one fruit you can feed your dog right after it’s picked, but be sure to cut it into bite-sized pieces before feeding to avoid a choking hazard. Never give your dog a whole apple — even if you think they’re big enough to chomp it down easily.
Like apples, blueberries offer antioxidants and vitamin C. They also provide vitamin K and quite a bit of fiber. All of these provide support to the immune system, which can help your pup fight off illness and lead a longer, healthier life. Both fresh and frozen blueberries make great dog treats.
Peaches are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Their high fiber content can make them helpful for weight management, and the antioxidants provide a boost to the immune system. Cut up peaches to serve them to your dog — no need to remove the skin, but do avoid serving them the pit.
Pears provide vitamin C and vitamin K. These antioxidants help promote eye and skin health. Like other fruits, they are significant sources of fiber. The fruit is packed with minerals, including magnesium, calcium, potassium, and copper, which provide support for the nervous and muscular systems. To serve, simply cut it up and feed it to your pet, leaving the core and seeds behind.
Watermelon is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, B6, and B1. The calcium and potassium in them are also helpful for immunity. Watermelons are made of 92% water, so they can help with hydration, too! Avoid giving your dog the rind or seeds from the watermelon. Dogs can’t digest these, so consuming them can lead to intestinal blockage. Serve seedless watermelon or watermelon chunks with the black seeds removed, and always keep the rind out of reach.
Bananas have many of the same nutrients as the other fruits, but they also have manganese and biotin. Manganese helps your dog absorb the carbs and proteins in their food, while biotin supports healthy hair and nails. Avoid giving your dog the banana peel, because it’s hard to digest. Mash banana into your dog’s food or make frozen banana treats for a tasty option on a hot day.
Cantaloupe has many antioxidants, including selenium and beta-carotene. The potassium in this fruit supports a healthy heart and kidneys, while niacin helps transform food into energy. Chop up bite-sized pieces of this melon to serve to your dog — but much like with watermelon, be sure to leave out the rind.
Dogs can have a small amount of fresh or dried cranberries. They may not like the tart flavor of this particular fruit, but there are some health benefits if you can get your pup to eat cranberries. For example, the antioxidants in cranberries can help treat and prevent urinary tract infections. Keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be a problem, and in the case of cranberries, too many can cause bladder stones.
Strawberries have significant fiber levels to support good digestion and prevent constipation. They also have an enzyme that can whiten your dog’s teeth, and they have large amounts of vitamin C for immune system protection. Dice up strawberries and feed them to your dog raw.
Fruits That Are Toxic to Dogs and Should Be Avoided
While most fruits are healthy additions to your dog’s diet, some are toxic and you should avoid them at all costs. Let’s take a look at these dangerous fruits and what can happen if your dog accidentally consumes them. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has ingested any of the following fruits.
Avocados have a high level of persin. This fungicide is dangerous for dogs, and it’s found in the highest concentrations in the peel and pit. If your dog gets a little bit of the green avocado fruit, it’s not likely to cause serious harm, but it’s best to avoid avocado as much as possible.
Cherries have cyanide in their pits, stems, and leaves. This poison could kill your dog if they eat too much. While the fruit itself is safe, the stems, pits, and leaves are usually attached and your dog won’t be able to tell the difference.
Grapes & Raisins
Though researchers are not sure why, grapes and their dried form, raisins, are highly toxic to dogs. The ASPCA warns that grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure in dogs.
Tomatoes are nightshades, and the green, young tomatoes have high concentrations of the chemicals solanine and tomatine. In large quantities, both of these can hurt dogs. That said, red tomatoes are safe — but if dogs get used to eating the safe, ripe tomatoes, they may get into some green ones, too, which are not safe for dogs.
Technically, dogs can safely eat oranges. The problem with oranges is that they can cause digestive issues if given in large quantities. Also, the peel, seeds, and pith (which is the white lining between the peel and the flesh) are toxic and can cause digestive upset. Since it is difficult to fully remove the pith, many dog owners avoid giving oranges altogether.
Lemons are not usually a problem because dogs don’t like the flavor of these sour citrus fruits. However, some owners are tempted to use oils containing lemon on their dogs. This is dangerous due to the psoralen compounds in the fruit, so keep lemon away from your dog.
Like lemons, limes contain oils that can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and digestive discomfort. Too much lime can be poisonous, and the peel and seeds can pose a choking hazard.
Best Vegetables To Feed Your Dog
While dogs may love fruits, they should only be given in small amounts because of the high sugar content. On the other hand, vegetables are a low-calorie addition to your dog’s diet. Below are some safe vegetables that your dog can enjoy.
Both cooked and raw broccoli are safe for dogs — as long as you don’t season it. The florets contain isothiocyanate, which can upset the stomach, so give broccoli in small quantities and watch for signs of an upset stomach. These vegetables have antioxidants and sulforaphane, which have anti-inflammatory properties. They support good eye health due to the carotenoids they contain. Serve cooked broccoli to give your dog the easiest time eating and digesting it.
Brussels sprouts add vitamin K, B vitamins, and folate to your dog’s diet. These nutrients help boost immunity and metabolism. They are also rich in many minerals, including manganese, calcium, and potassium. The high fiber content can support weight loss. Dogs seem to like the taste, too, so some owners use them as occasional dog treats. Small bites of fresh Brussels sprouts or whole cooked Brussels sprouts are a great way to feed this to your dog.
Peas are often found in commercially-produced dog food, but their tiny size makes them a great treat, too. Avoid canned peas, which can have high sodium content, but fresh and frozen varieties are great. These vegetables have vitamin A, vitamin K, and B vitamins. They also contain iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. They can be dangerous for dogs with kidney problems, but are an otherwise safe food. Serve frozen or cooked peas with the pod removed.
If you are looking for a canine superfood, pumpkin should top your list. It soothes the stomach, removes unnecessary fluid, and keeps the digestive tract running. The vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C in pumpkin protect your dog’s immunity. Mixing canned pumpkin into your dog’s food makes it a tasty treat. Serve cooked or canned pumpkin along with your dog’s food or use this soft, tasty vegetable as an alternative to peanut butter (which may contain toxic xylitol) when you give your dog medicine.
Small bites of cooked sweet potato are a great treat. Be careful with raw sweet potato, which is difficult to digest and can be a choking hazard. These vegetables are known for their high vitamin A levels, which promote healthy skin, coat, eyes, muscles, and nervous systems. They also contain beta-carotene and fiber. Cook sweet potatoes until they are soft, and feed bite-sized pieces to your pet on occasion.
Beets are full of micronutrients that support healthy hair and skin, including manganese, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Dogs that experience hair loss can benefit from the addition of beets to their diet. Beets have a strong taste that some dogs may not enjoy, but if you’d like your dog to enjoy the benefits of this nutrient-packed vegetable, you can mix some cooked beets in your dog’s prepared food.
Crunching on carrots is a great way to help strengthen your dog’s teeth. This vegetable has high fiber content and is full of beta-carotene, and these nutrients help boost the immune system and support a healthy digestive system. The sweet flavor appeals to dogs, making it an excellent healthy treat option — plus, baby carrots are the perfect size to toss to your pet! You can feed both raw and cooked carrots to your dog.
Cucumbers are safe for dogs, and they have a mild, fresh flavor that many dogs like. They have very few calories, so if your dog likes them they can be a great snack to take the place of traditional processed dog treats. Like watermelon, cucumbers have a high water content, which offers a hydration boost. To serve cucumbers to your dog, simply slice or chop them up and offer them — skin, seeds, and all!
Small amounts of kale are safe for dogs, but this snack is one you need to be careful with. While this vegetable is a great source of vitamins, it also contains isothiocyanate and calcium oxalate, which can be dangerous. Use small portions if feeding this vegetable to dogs. Chop up small bites to mix into your dog’s food if you choose to feed this to your pet.
Vegetables That Are Toxic to Dogs and Should Be Avoided
Like fruits, there are some vegetables that dogs should never eat. Some are toxic, while others are hard to digest. Keep the veggies below out of your dog’s diet, and be sure to contact your dog’s vet if you think they’ve gotten into any of these dangerous vegetables.
Technically, dogs can eat store-bought mushrooms without a problem. The danger with mushrooms is that dogs can get used to eating the safe ones, and then eat wild mushrooms when out in nature. Many wild mushrooms are toxic to dogs and humans, so be sure to watch your dog closely if you’re in an area where wild mushrooms grow.
Another member of the allium family, onions contain thiosulfate, so you’ll want to keep these out of your dog’s diet. Onions are considered one of the most toxic human foods you can feed your dog, as all onion varieties and all parts of the plant are toxic. Avoid shallots, leeks, chives, and sweet onions.
The leaves of the rhubarb plant can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and mouth irritation. The stalks are less toxic, but can also be damaging. Rhubarb toxicity can cause symptoms like lethargy, weakness, tremors, and blood in the urine.
A little bit of asparagus is fine for our dog. However, the high fiber content can be problematic and cause issues with your dog’s stomach. The base of asparagus stalks are tough when they’re raw and can be a choking hazard if they’re not thoroughly cooked.
Feed Your Dog Human-Quality Food With The Honest Kitchen
While there are many great fruits and veggies that can give your pet a healthy boost of nutrients, it’s important to always consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic fruit or vegetable. Be on the lookout for the warning signs discussed above, and keep dangerous fruits and veggies up out of your dog’s reach.
As you look for ways to boost your dog’s health with the addition of healthy fruits and vegetables, consider feeding human grade dog food. The Honest Kitchen has a wide range of dog foods that leverage the power of whole foods to meet your dog’s dietary needs, as well as a variety of tasty and healthy dog treats to add to their diet. Browse the available products or use our product selector to find one that is a good fit for your dog.