These Popular Summer Fruits Are Toxic to Dogs, Experts Caution
They're healthy for humans but not for pups.
There are many things to consider to keep your dog safe in the summer. Common dangers include heat stroke, fleas, ticks, sunburn, and drowning (no, not all dogs know how to swim). Another thing to watch out for is toxic foods. Sure, your pup might be able to sneak a bite of unseasoned chicken from the BBQ—but some summer foods could cause serious issues. Here, a veterinarian tells us the warm-weather fruits that could be harmful to dogs. You'll want to keep these pieces of produce far away from your pup.
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Peaches and cherries can cause tummy aches.
The good news: Summer fruits like peaches and cherries aren't inherently toxic to dogs. "If your dog gets a pitted cherry or a slice or two of some peach, it should be fine," says Matthew McCarthy, DVM, a veterinarian and founder of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital in Queens, New York. Unfortunately, these summer fruits can cause distress if your dog downs an entire plate. "You would not want to overdo it, as too much could certainly cause some digestive upset with vomiting and diarrhea," McCarthy adds. "But this can pretty much apply to any treats for most dogs."
However, their pits are toxic.
When it comes to peaches and cherries, it's the pits, leaves, and stems you have to worry about. "These parts, especially the pits, contain cyanogenic glycosides, which sounds vaguely like cyanide—the favorite of crazed cult leaders and condemned war criminals—because it is," says McCarthy. "And while swallowing a cherry pit may be something we've all done and is relatively harmless with the pit usually passed in your stool, the difference is that dogs will often chew things pretty thoroughly before swallowing."
This chewing causes the formation and release of cyanide, which interferes with your dog's oxygen metabolism. "Dogs will have dilated pupils, bright red mucous membranes, panting, difficulty breathing, and go into shock," says McCarthy. A similar reaction could occur if your pup munches on the leaves and stems of these fruits.
Even if your dog manages to gulp down a peach pit or a number of cherry pits without chewing, it's possible they could wind up with an intestinal blockage, says McCarthy. "So if you suspect that your dog has ingested any cherry or peach pits, whether chewed or not, or their associated foliage, it is best to contact your local veterinarian or animal ER as soon as possible," he says.
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Dogs should never eat grapes.
Both grapes and raisins should also be kept away from dogs. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), even one grape or raisin can be fatal. "Ingesting the fruit could potentially lead to acute (sudden) kidney failure in dogs," they write. Oddly enough, research has yet to identify exactly which substance in the fruit causes this toxicity. If your dog swallows one, contact your vet immediately.
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Avocado is also off-limits.
Avocados may be one of the most refreshing summer fruits for humans, but they're not safe for dogs at all. The AKC notes avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and myocardial damage in dogs. The pit can also cause choking or an intestinal blockage. Again, if your dog downs one, contact your vet immediately.
Some fruits are safe.
If your four-legged friend has an appetite for fruit, don't despair; there are plenty of varieties that are safe for them to consume in moderation. According to the AKC, bananas make a good once-in-a-while treat since they have a decent amount of sugar, but they're also high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, and fiber. Blueberries are another safe treat, especially if you're using them to play catch. Similarly, strawberries and raspberries are on the approved list. Oranges (sans the peel), seedless and rindless watermelon, pineapple or mango chunks, and cucumbers also make the cut.