As humans, we need lots of fruit and veg in order to stay fit and healthy. It can be tempting to assume other animals have similar basic needs as us. However, while there are similarities between you and your dog’s diet, you should always double check every food before you feed it to your dog. Some foods are seriously toxic and can cause your dog serious harm, while other foods are more complicated; not exactly poisonous, but also not advisable. Plums belong to this second category.
Are Plums Dangerous for Dogs?
Our advice for plums and dogs is that it is best if you categorize plums as an ‘unsafe’ food. To help you understand why plums deserve to be given the label ‘dangerous’, here are the three ways that plums can harm your dog:
- They have too much sugar
All fruits contain a lot of sugars and should be considered treats. If you are wondering ‘how much plum should you feed your dog?’, you must remember that dogs are generally carnivores, so fruit will never be a fundamental component of their diet. Depending on your dogs preferences, a bit of banana here or there can make a great treat. But, if you ever give plum to your dog, the high-sugar content should mean you give them very small amounts, very rarely. You should also completely avoid canned plums, as they will have a particularly high sugar content. Ultimately, it is probably better to not encourage a love of something so unhealthy for them. Stick to healthier fruits.
- The pit is toxic
The pit is the real problem when it comes to plums. The first of two big issues that the pit presents is that it is poisonous for dogs. Like many fruit pits and seeds, when crushed, a plum pit releases cyanide. This is, unsurprisingly, very poisonous for your dog. A small amount may cause gastrointestinal issues, but cyanide can also be seriously fatal. This risk of death is the number one reason you should contact your vet if you suspect your dog has devoured parts of a whole plum. You should also remember that fruit pits often splinter. A small amount of pit could be embedded into the plum flesh if you cut too close to the pit.
- The pit is a choking hazard
The second major danger of plums for dogs is that they can be a serious choking hazard. The level of hazard it presents will depend on the size of your dog, but you can’t assume your dog is safe just because they are big. Pieces of pit that have splintered off can catch in the throat of any sized animal, causing irritation, discomfort, or much worse. There have also been cases where many pits have collected together to form a serious choking hazard for even the biggest dogs.
Are Plums Good for Dogs?
Although it is advisable to stay away from plums, if you are wondering ‘can dogs eat plum?’, unfortunately, the answer is not entirely simple. If you want a simple answer, it is safer to stay away from plums than to tempt fate and potential health problems. However, while there are many fruits that are poisonous or toxic for your dog, plum is not one of them.
While plums are not recommended for dogs, if you are wondering ‘are plums poisonous to dogs?’ the answer is actually ‘no’. Unlike grapes and raisins, which can cause vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems, as well as, potentially, kidney failure, the flesh of plums is not toxic. Almost all the problems relating to plums, including some toxicity, is related to the plum pit.
As the flesh of the plum is not inherently toxic, you may think it is a good addition to their diet. After all, you may already be occasionally feeding them other fruits, such as banana or apple flesh. However, there are potentially two issues you must be aware of if you are considering plums for dogs.
- First of all, plums have a very high sugar content, which makes them inappropriate as a regular addition to healthy dog diet.
- Secondly, feeding carefully prepared plum flesh to your dog will encourage them to try and sneak bites of whole plums they may come across in your kitchen or elsewhere, which can result in digestion of the toxic pit and other problems. Accidents happen, but you don’t want to encourage them.
It is worth noting, however, that some people cite some benefits of feeding carefully prepared plum to your dog. This is because it has vitamin C, which is great for your dog, and it is predominately made of water, so may be a particularly useful food in summer if you live in a very hot climate. It will help ensure your dog is getting enough water throughout the day.
Ultimately, whether to feed plum flesh to your dog, or not, is up to you. Some people say plum flesh has enough benefits for your dog to warrant the risk. However, it is vital that you are confident that you know how to fully remove the pit, will not feed them too much sugar, and are committed to keeping whole plums far out of reach from your dog when they are not meant to be eaten. A dog who loves plums will attack a whole pack if they get the chance, perhaps consuming lots of pits in the process, which is very dangerous.
What to Do If Your Dog Ate Plum
Considering that the flesh is mostly fine in small quantities, the level of concern you should have if your dog eats plum accidentally depends on how much they ate, the quality of the plum, and which part of the plum they have eaten.
If your dog is healthy and has just nibbled at the side of a ripe plum, they are likely to be okay. However, you may want to keep an eye out for any symptoms of something more serious over the next few days. Remember, it is always better to call the vet than to ignore that voice of concern in your head. You should also be particularly cautious if your dog has any existing health issues, such as diabetes, due to the sugary content of plums.
However, if the plum was over-ripe, mouldy, fermented or processed in any way, you should contact your vet to be safe. Similarly, if your dog swallowed plum pit, you should contact your vet. Remember that even a small amount can poison your dog or lodge in its throat.