10 Facts You Should Know About Dogs Eating Fruits and Vegetables

Taylor A Ritz We all want what’s best for our canine companions and that includes what we feed them. There are a lot of food myths out there, especially when it comes to dogs, so it can be hard to distinguish fact from food fiction. Fruits and vegetables are good for us, but are they good for our dogs? Let’s explore a few common fruits and vegetables you might feed your dog.

1. Can dogs eat pickles?

Pickles are any vegetables that have been preserved in saltwater brine to prevent spoilage. While the term “pickle” can refer to several vegetables that have been pickled, pickles most often refer to pickled cucumbers. While they aren’t outright toxic for dogs the way some other foods are, pickles also aren’t the safest treats for your pooch. Pickles are a great source of essential nutrients such as Vitamins A and K, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and fiber.  Unfortunately, there are also nutritional downsides to pickles. Pickles contain very high quantities of sodium due to the saltwater brine that preserves them. Added salt is not beneficial to most diets, including your dog’s diet. In addition, pickles sometimes contain spices that may cause digestive upset or worse.

2. Can dogs eat celery?

Though dogs don’t require fruits and vegetables in their diet as much as we do, they can still be beneficial. Celery is listed among the vegetables that veterinarians indicate are safe for dogs to consume. This low-calorie vegetable should never take the place of your dog’s actual diet as it will not provide adequate nutrition. Celery can be a low-calorie snack or a treat, but treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s diet. If your dog struggles with obesity, consider using celery as a treat item. Celery is low in fat and cholesterol, an excellent source of fiber, and can even freshen your dog’s breath.

3. Can dogs eat avocado?

Avocados are arguably one of the “trendiest” foods on the market, especially among the younger generations. But should they be shared with your dog? Avocados can cause serious health problems, and even death, in dogs. Though avocados are praised for their nutritional value, they also contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause death in animals that consume the superfruit. Dogs are more resistant to persin than some other animals, but it’s best to keep avocados off the canine menu. Persin can cause vomiting, diarrhea, damage to the heart, and pancreatitis. Persin is not only present in the avocado fruit but in the avocado pits, leaves, and plants as well. 

4. Can dogs eat honey?

Honey not only contains natural sugar but is often reported to have a wide variety of medicinal uses as well. Can you give this natural sweetener to your dog? The short answer is this: yes, you can give honey to your dog. That said, honey has a high sugar content that can easily lead to obesity if given to a dog in large quantities. If a dog is obese or diabetic, do not feed them honey. In addition to weight gain and increasing blood glucose, honey can also cause dental decay. Lastly, raw honey may contain botulism spores, so honey should not be fed to puppies or any dogs with compromised immune systems.

5. Can dogs eat grapefruit?

Not many dogs are attracted to the tart flavor of a grapefruit, but are they beneficial for Fido’s diet? Dogs aren’t able to taste all the flavors we can, but they can detect bitterness. For this reason, dogs often steer clear of bitter-tasting fruits like grapefruit. That said, dogs can eat the flesh of a grapefruit.  While grapefruit may not be toxic to dogs, it may cause digestive issues for your pup. The high acidity of grapefruits may cause loose stools or vomiting in your dog. The rind on a grapefruit, however, has essential oils that are toxic for dogs. So if you do decide to give your dog a grapefruit, make sure you remove the rind first. 

6. Can dogs eat beets?

Beets are a healthy root vegetable with a pleasant, sweet taste and several health benefits for humans. Knowing how good beets are for people, you might wonder if beets can provide the same health benefits to your dog. Beets are nutritionally beneficial for dogs – in small quantities. If you’re going to feed your dog beets, keep some of the following information in mind. Beets are a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, and magnesium. For best results, cook the beets and puree them before offering beets to your dog. This method will make the beets the easiest to digest. Avoid feeding your dog large amounts of beets as this may cause diarrhea. Avoid pickled beets as they contain large amounts of added sodium.

7. Can dogs eat figs?

Figs are a healthy and delicious fruit, high in potassium and fiber. They have also been linked to heart health in humans. But can these dietary benefits extend to dogs too? In general, you can feed your dog figs, but do so with caution. Figs are chock full of natural sugars, potassium, and fiber, making them a great source of energy. The downside to feeding figs to your dog is that there is the potential your beloved canine companion could have an allergic reaction.  To determine whether or not your dog can safely consume figs, begin by feeding them a single fig. Over the following days, make note if your dog has a rash on their skin or mouth, itchy eyes, coughing, or wheezing. If your dog experiences no symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction, limit feeding your dog one or two figs a week at most. 

8. Can dogs eat dates?

Dates are safe for dogs to eat. Dates are an excellent source of fiber, iron, and magnesium. You can even slice dates into homemade dog treats. Like with all treats, you shouldn’t feed your dog too much at once. In the case of dates, a large quantity in a single sitting could easily cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. The high sugar content of dates (about 60-70%)  makes them delicious, but also means overconsumption can easily lead to obesity and tooth decay. If you want to feed your dog dates, do so in moderation and make sure to remove the pit first.

9. Can dogs eat spinach?

Spinach contains large amounts of vitamins A, B, C, and K, iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and more. The high nutritional value of this green roughage makes one wonder why more people don’t feed their dog spinach.  On the other hand, spinach is high in oxalic acid, which block’s a body’s ability to absorb calcium. As with most fruits and vegetables, feed your dog spinach in moderation to avoid any issues. The best way to prepare spinach and avoid losing nutritional value is to steam and then chop it before offering it to your dog.

10. Can dogs eat hummus?

Though hummus is made out of chickpeas, which dogs can eat, dogs cannot eat hummus. This may seem counterintuitive, but hummus has many ingredients in addition to chickpeas. Garlic is the main “problem” ingredient for dogs as it is toxic. While dogs may handle small amounts of garlic, too much can damage your dog’s red blood cells. Hummus also contains lemon juice, which is too acidic for your dog to properly digest. 

Do Your Research

As always, when considering your dog’s diet or health in general, consult your veterinarian with any questions you may have.

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Taylor Ritz

Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She is a former zookeeper and animal trainer. She has her own dog, Dobby, with whom she has bicycled across the U.S. and thru-hiked the Long Trail.

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