Summer is in full swing, and that spells out lots of amazing times for dog owners! From beautiful summer walks, to beach days, to simply relaxing at home, there’s so much to do with your beloved pup in the warmer months.
Summer is also a great time of year for fresh, delicious, local produce, especially fruit. And with so much amazing fruit being grown across BC in the summertime, it can be tempting to share these delicious treats with your furry friend.
The good news is that many types of fruit are not only safe for your dog to eat, but they often offer health benefits as well. That being said, there are a few key fruits that aren’t safe for your pup and should be avoided completely. With this in mind, these are seven summer fruits to treat your dog to this year (and also four fruits you need to avoid giving to them completely).
Strawberries are a common sight in the summertime, especially in BC, where berries are a specialty at farms across the province. Not only are these delicious fruits great for people, but they’re also healthy for your dog.
Strawberries are both delicious for humans and dogs alike and they’re loaded with healthy nutrients. Strawberries are a great source of antioxidants, fibre, and vitamin C, making them a brilliant summer treat for your furry friend. Strawberries also have a special enzyme in them which is thought to whiten teeth and improve dental health, which is just another great benefit of this fruit for your dog.
The only thing to bear in mind with strawberries (and most other fruits on this list) is that they’re high in natural sugar. So make sure strawberries are an occasional treat, and only give your dog one or two at a time to keep their sugars at a healthy level. We also recommend chopping them in half or even quarters to protect your dog from a potential choking hazard.
No summer would be complete without watermelon. Did you know that dogs love it as well?
These delicious, water-rich fruits are a tasty way to stay hydrated on even the hottest summer days, and this goes for your dog as well. Watermelon is low-calorie, low-sodium, and free from fat and cholesterol, making it a particularly healthy option for a dog-safe summer treat.
Watermelon has a fair amount of antioxidants, including the compound lycopene, which can protect your pup from harsh sun and heart issues.
Like strawberries, watermelon is fairly high in natural sugars. However, thanks to the fibre in watermelon, these sugars are released into the bloodstream more slowly, meaning they won’t have a big spike and subsequent drop in their blood sugar level.
To feed your dog watermelon, ensure the pieces are cut to the proper size, and are free of seeds and rinds, as these can actually cause blockages in the digestive system of your pup. You can even freeze pre-cut pieces of seedless watermelon for a cold, refreshing summer treat for your dog.
Cantaloupes are a fantastic choice of summer fruit for dogs. Even a small amount is absolutely loaded with important nutrients, such as vitamins A, B, and C. It also contains vital minerals like magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and more, making it an even healthier choice for dogs of all breeds.
As with watermelon, it’s important to ensure your dog only eats the flesh of the cantaloupe, since the tough, fibrous rinds can create digestive issues if eaten. Cantaloupe is also similar to watermelon in terms of its sugar-to-fibre ratio, however it’s still important to only give this sweet treat to your dog in moderation.
Blueberries are a British Columbian staple, and nothing quite compares to getting a fresh pile of them as a delicious summer snack. And did you know that they’re also a great choice of treat for your dog?
You may already know about the great health benefits of blueberries. They’re low in calories and fat, and full of vital antioxidants and nutrients to keep you healthy, such as vitamins A, C, and E, which are particularly vital for dog health.
For most dogs, blueberries can be given without being cut up, since they’re usually small enough to not be a choking hazard. However, if you have a small dog or a dog that sometimes chokes due to eating too quickly, you can always mash or blend the blueberries for a healthy and refreshing summer treat.
5. Summer apples
Although many types of apples come into season in the fall, there are a number that ripen in the summertime as well. Many dogs love the crunchy texture of apples, and they’re quite a healthy snack to boot.
Apples have lots of calcium, fibre, antioxidants, and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, all of which are vital to a healthy dog diet. Many apples also contain less natural sugars than other summer fruits, making them a great choice for pups with blood sugar as a concern.
When feeding apples to your dog, it’s vital that you wash the skin thoroughly to remove any pesticides or other chemicals that may harm your pet. You’ll also need to make sure not to give them the core of the apple, and take special care that there are no seeds—they contain cyanide that can severely harm your dog if ingested.
Another iconic summer fruit, peaches are actually a great treat for your pup! Peaches have lots of vitamin A in them, which is essential for eye health, clear skin, and a strong immune system for dogs and people alike.
As with apple seeds, it’s vital that you don’t allow your dog to eat the pit of a peach. Not only is it a serious choking hazard due to its size, but also it contains enough cyanide to make dogs seriously ill. We recommend cutting up fresh peaches into small slices and only giving a little to your dog to make sure they don’t eat too much sugar.
Depending on where you are in the world, summer can be a great time for delicious, ripe mangoes. While these incredible fruits are a favourite of people, they’re also a great treat for your dog.
Mangoes contain a huge amount of vitamin C, which can go a long way in supporting your dog’s immune system and overall health. They’re also loaded with important minerals like potassium and magnesium, which aid in the nervous and muscular systems, natural enzyme production, and nutrient absorption.
When giving mango to your dog, ensure they only have a little at a time, as these fruits contain quite a bit of natural sugar. Like other fruits with hard pits and tough skins, ensure you’re only feeding the edible flesh of the fruit to your dog to prevent choking.
4 Summer fruits to avoid giving your dog
While there are many amazing summer fruits that are completely safe to feed your dog (in moderation), there are a handful that should be avoided at all costs in order to keep them safe and healthy. These four summer fruits are not safe to feed your dog.
Avocadoes are a delicious and healthy fruit for people, but this is not the case for dogs. Avocados contain a toxin called persin in the skin, leaves, pit, and flesh of the fruit. Although persin is harmless for people, it’s very dangerous for your dog to eat, potentially causing diarrhea and vomiting.
Unless you painstakingly remove the pits from every single cherry, it’s not a good idea to feed these delicious fruits to your dog. The pits contain a fairly concentrated amount of cyanide, which can be a serious health risk to your pup if too much is ingested. It’s a good idea to play it safe and make sure your dog doesn’t eat cherries at all.
- Grapes (and raisins)
Grapes (and their dried counterparts, raisins) have been found to be extremely toxic to dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. Even just a few raisins or grapes can be toxic enough to cause acute kidney failure in your dog—a serious problem that will require immediate veterinary care.
Although not everyone considers tomatoes a fruit, they’re a very common sight on summer produce shelves. While they’re a great option for summer salads and other dishes, they should never be fed to your dog. The green leaves and vines of tomato plants contain a dangerous toxin called solanine. Although the tomato itself normally won’t contain this compound, it’s better to play it safe and avoid giving tomatoes to your dog entirely.
As you can see, there’s a surprisingly long list of delicious summer fruits that are perfectly safe and healthy to give your dog. And while there are a few that you should be careful to avoid, the vast majority are great choices when prepared properly and given to your dog in moderation.
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