You probably know that some fruits are healthy for dogs and can be a great addition to their diet. However, some fruits are the opposite — highly toxic, causing stomach upset, tremors, vomiting, and even death.
In this article we’ll answer the question “Can dogs eat plums?” and talk about what to do if your dog has eaten a plum or a plum pit.
Can Your Dog Eat Plums?
Unlike many fruits, which are either fully safe or fully toxic to dogs, plums are a bit more complex. Technically, the flesh of plums is safe for your dog and may provide them with some healthy vitamins.
However, the rest of the plum, including the pit, stem, and leaves, contain plant compounds that are highly toxic to dogs. So while your dog can safely eat plum fruit itself, you should always cut it up to reduce the risk of plum poisoning or choking.
Health Benefits of Plums For Dogs
Plums are not as rich in nutrients as many other fruits, especially when it comes to dogs’ unique needs.
That being said, plums are high in vitamins A and C as well as fiber. Dogs don’t usually need supplementation of these vitamins, but enjoying them occasionally won’t hurt.
Vitamin A helps support eye and skin health, while vitamin C is important for immune system regulation. Fiber not only helps with digestion and regulating bowel movements, but also plays a vital role in maintaining blood sugar levels. If your dog suffers from occasional constipation, the occasional slice of plum as a treat may help.
Health Concerns Of Plums for Dogs
The main concern about plums for dogs is what could happen if they happen to swallow the pit. Plum pits, foliage, and stems contain a compound called amygdalin. When the body processes this compound, it converts it into hydrogen cyanide, a deadly poison.
Consuming amygdalin in high enough quantities can cause cyanide poisoning in dogs, sometimes known as plum poisoning.
Signs of plum poisoning in dogs include:
- Redness in the mouth, especially on the gums and tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Confusion or distress
- Loss of balance
- Foaming at the mouth
- Loss of consciousness
- Respiratory failure
These symptoms can set in very quickly, even within an hour of poisoning. If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten a plum pit and notice these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
While this is the most obvious and serious health concern of plums for dogs, it is not the only one. Plum pits are a choking hazard, especially for small dogs, and can become lodged in the intestines, greeting an obstruction. Make sure you always remove the pit and cut the fruit up into small slices before giving it to your dogs.
Another concern around plums is that they are high in sugar. For this reason, they are not a good choice for overweight or diabetic dogs. Make sure not to give your dog plums except as an occasional treat to avoid unregulated blood sugar levels and unhealthy weight gain.
How To Get Your Dog To Eat Plums
If your dog doesn’t seem interested in eating plums, there is no reason to push them. There are other fruits that provide better nutrients with lower sugar levels and no bad effects. Dogs can safely eat (and love!) apples, watermelon, blueberries, bananas, and many other fruits.
However, if you want to give your dog the extra fiber from plums, try incorporating them into treats or dropping small pieces in their kibble. Don’t give them prunes, as dehydrated fruits have even higher concentrations of sugar than fresh fruits. The same goes for plum or prune juice, which have the high sugar content without the benefit of healthy fiber.
Some Plum Dog Treat Recipes
If you want to incorporate plums into your dog’s diet, try a plum dog treat. You can find dog treats containing safe amounts of plum fruit sold commercially, or you can try your hand at making a homemade recipe, like this recipe for plum and cinnamon dog treats.
Remember that, as with any treat, plums and other fruit should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet!
What Should I Do If My Dog Swallows a Plum Stone?
If your dog has swallowed a plum pit, call your vet right away. The good news is that a single pit is not enough to cause poisoning. Your canine friend would need to eat multiple ones to get to that point. Much more serious, however, is the potential for the pit to cause an intestinal blockage or even internal injury, since pits have a sharp edge.
Your vet will probably tell you to watch carefully for signs of poisoning, bowel obstruction, or other distress, and make an appointment to get your pet seen as soon as possible.
Should I Induce Vomiting If My Dog Eats a Plum?
Since plum fruit itself is safe for dogs, there is no need to induce vomiting. If your dog has eaten a whole plum including the pit, it is unlikely that it has consumed high enough quantities of cyanide to cause a problem. It may experience stomach upset, though.
Make sure you give your pup plenty of water if they have eaten a plum with the pit. Monitor them for signs of plum poisoning and call your vet immediately if they seem to be exhibiting symptoms.
Can Dogs Have Plum Juice?
In general, it is not a good idea to give your dog plum or prune juice. These juices are extremely high in sugar and lack the fiber content necessary to provide any real benefit. If your dog is constipated, talk to your vet about other, healthier ways to improve and regulate their digestion.
The Answer To “Can Dogs Eat Plums” Is Yes
While plum fruit is technically safe for dogs, the pits and stems are highly toxic and can cause poisoning. Meanwhile, the fruit, while fine as a treat, doesn’t provide significant health benefits and is high in sugar. If your dog is interested in plums as an occasional treat, make sure to cut them up before sharing!
If your dog has a favorite plum-based treat, share the recipe in the comments below.
Curious about what other fruits your dog can or can’t eat? Visit this blog about dogs and lemons.
For a homemade treat your dog can enjoy, visit our recipe for Made-to-Beg-for Homemade Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats.