Is it safe to give fruit to cats and dogs?

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Fruit is an important part of balanced nutrition for humans, but is it safe to give fruit to cats and dogs? If you're tempted to share nature's dessert with your furry friend, you'll be happy to know you can include fruit in your pet's snack routine — as long as you stick to veterinarian-approved fruits and keep preparation best practices in mind.

Some fruits can be toxic to your pet, so it's crucial to double-check with your vet before sharing your fruit salad. And remember: Balance is the cornerstone of healthy pet nutrition. Practice moderation when feeding healthy treats to your dog or cat.

 brown dog eating apple

Can Dogs Eat Fruit?

So, can dogs eat fruit? Generally speaking, the answer is yes, but only certain kinds and in limited amounts. Moderation is the key to incorporating fruit into your dog's meals. Excessive ingestion of fruit (even safe fruit) can cause intestinal irritation, diarrhea or bloating. A good rule of thumb is to limit any food outside of your dog's primary nutrition to less than 10% of their overall calorie intake.

Additionally, remove any choking hazards, such as ball-shaped pieces of fruit, seeds, pits and stems. Some seeds, pits and stems are also toxic.

Safe Fruit for Dogs

Here are some safe fruits for dogs. Since recommended quantity depends on your pup's daily caloric requirement, check with your vet for guidance on portion size. Always cut fruit into bite-sized pieces that are appropriate for your dog's mouth.

  • Apples: High in fiber, apples are a great source of vitamins A and C. Apple seeds contain a compound that can release cyanide, so never offer them the core. Avoid the stem as well.
  • Apricots: Apricots are a yummy, sweet treat, but remove the leaves, stem and pit prior to serving, as these parts of the fruit are toxic to pets.
  • Bananas: Bananas contain potassium and carbohydrates.
  • Blackberries: Full of antioxidants and fiber, this berry also packs vitamins A, C, K and E.
  • Blueberries: Blueberries contain strong antioxidant properties and are considered a superfood for humans and dogs.
  • Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe contains beta-carotene, a pigment that supports eye health (and gives this melon its orange color).
  • Cranberries: Cook this berry in water with no added ingredients to share it with your pup. Avoid dehydrated cranberries that are coated in sweetener.
  • Mango: To serve this tropical fruit to your dog, peel it and remove the pit, which is toxic to pets, to avoid digestive issues.
  • Peaches: Skip the canned version, which has added sugar, and opt for fresh peaches (no pit!) for a vitamin A boost.
  • Pears: Pears are high in fiber and copper. Remove the core and seeds.
  • Pineapples: Fresh pineapple is a wonderful sweet treat. Cut off the prickly skin and remove (or cut around) the core before serving.
  • Strawberries: This yummy berry contains vitamins B1 and B6.
  • Watermelon: Over 90% water, watermelon can help keep your pup hydrated when temperatures rise.

Can Cats Eat Fruit ?

Most dog-safe fruits, including those mentioned previously, are also safe for cats in moderation and with proper preparation. Unlike dogs, however, cats don't have sweet taste receptors on their tongues, so they may not be as interested. However, shape and texture can intrigue cats. Experiment and see if you find a fruit your cat loves!

Safe Fruit for Cats (That They May Be More Likely to Enjoy)

Try these fruits with your fur baby for a refreshing snack. Like with dogs, offer them in small, bite-sized pieces that don't pose a choking hazard for your kitty.

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon (seedless)

 Cutting a strawberry in half

Preparation Pointers

If your dog or cat is on a special meal plan for allergies, gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, kidney or liver disease, or any other chronic or acute condition, it's particularly important to check with your vet first. Once you have their seal of approval, prepare your fruit of choice by peeling or slicing it and removing the pit, seeds and stem. In addition to potentially being toxic, these parts may pose a choking risk, lead to intestinal blockage or even damage your pet's teeth.

Then, consider what size to cut the chunks into. A good rule of thumb is to keep the pieces the same size as your dog's or cat's kibble. You can also compare the pieces you're prepping to the size of their favorite treat.

Fruits to Avoid With Dogs and Cats

Is it safe to give fruit to cats and dogs? While the general answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no. Consuming the wrong fruit can pose serious health risks for your pet. Never offer your dog or cat the following fruits:

  • Cherries: Cherry pits contain trace amounts of cyanide, which is toxic to dogs and cats and can be lethal. They're also a choking hazard.
  • Grapes and raisins: These fruits can cause lethargy and digestive issues, including diarrhea and vomiting. They may even cause kidney failure in cats and dogs, so keep them away from your furry friends.
  • Avocados: Avocado pits are a recipe for intestinal tract obstruction, and the flesh can cause upset tummies in dogs and cats.
  • Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits) can irritate your pet's stomach due to their high acidity.

Can dogs eat fruit? Can cats eat fruit? Absolutely — as long as it's vet-approved and served in moderation.

If you're looking to add some variety to your pet's snacks, you have many safe options to choose from. Just as you would when searching for the right dog food or cat food, watch your pet closely when introducing anything new and contact your vet with any questions. They're here to help!

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.