Many of us like to share our favorite foods with our dogs. It’s easy to believe that if a food is good for humans, it would be good for dogs, too. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. For example, if you have wondered if dogs can eat plums, the answer is a definite NO. In fact, dogs can be poisoned by eating the pit or large seed in a plum or even the foliage from plums.
Learn more about dogs and plums in our guide below.
Plums are technically drupes or stone fruit. They contain a large pit in the center. They belong to the same family as peaches, nectarines, and apricots.
Plums contain a large amount of vitamin C which makes them good for building muscle, healing the body, and forming blood vessels. Phytochemicals in plums can help reduce inflammation and are good for heart disease. Like prunes (dried plums), plums contain a lot of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as a natural laxative. Plums also contain a lot of potassium which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
Plums are also high in antioxidants which can protect against cell and tissue damage. This can help protect against diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.
The high fiber in plums can also help reduce spikes in blood sugar levels.
One cup of sliced prunes has only 76 calories.
Despite these health benefits for humans, there are some reasons why you should not give them to your dog.
Can I Give My Dogs Plums?
Technically, dogs can eat the soft flesh of the plum if it is sliced and peeled. It’s high in sugar so it’s not the best treat for your dog but the flesh is not toxic.
However, you should not give your dog a whole plum which includes the pit or stone, or any foliage that grows with the plum. The pit contains cyanide, along with some other chemicals, which can poison your dog. So does the foliage, in smaller amounts.
In addition, the pit can be quite sharp, especially at one end. If your dog chews on it, it can cut or tear the gastrointestinal lining or lead to a blockage. Choking is also a possibility if your dog tries to eat the pit from a plum.
Are There Risks with Giving Your Dog Plums?
Yes, there are several serious risks associated with giving dogs plums, along with other stone fruit. The most serious concerns with plums involve eating the pit. The plum pit contains several toxins including hydrogen cyanide, amygdalin, prunasin, and cyanogen. If your dog eats the pit, these toxins are released in the intestines and move in the bloodstream through your dog’s body.
The foliage and roots of the plum can also cause gastric irritation and respiratory distress.
Symptoms of plum poisoning can include:
- Bright pink or red gums
- Difficulty breathing
Plum poisoning can be fatal within one hour if it is not treated immediately.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten a plum pit, take him to a veterinarian right away.
The pit of the plum can also cause an obstruction if your dog tries to eat it, especially for smaller dogs. Choking is also a possibility if your dog tries to eat or swallow the pit. The pit is also very sharp on one end so if a dog tries to eat or swallow it, it’s possible that it can tear the esophagus, stomach lining, or intestines.
Other stone fruit include peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apricots. You should take similar precautions with these fruits for the same reasons. Giving your dog a bite of the flesh may be all right but do not let him eat the stones or pits. And, like plums, they may be high in sugar.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Plums?
We don’t recommend that you give your dog plums at all. It is possible to give your dog the soft, peeled flesh from plums, in small amounts, but it’s probably better not to encourage your dog to develop a taste for plums at all. Not only is the plum flesh very high in sugar which makes it a less than desirable treat for your dog, but if your dog begins to like plums, there’s a greater risk that he may find and eat a whole plum, including the pit.
Even giving your dog the flesh from the plum can be problematic if the flesh is overly ripe, moldy, or fermented. Canned plums generally have even more sugar than fresh plums so they are not a good option.
If you really want to give your dog a taste of plums, we suggest that you find a dog food or treat that safely includes a dash or taste of plums in the ingredients.
Although plums can be a healthy addition to human diets, they are not a good treat for dogs. Since they are a stone fruit, the pit contains cyanide and other chemicals which can be fatal to dogs if ingested. Even the foliage from plums can be harmful to dogs. You can give your dog a few bites of the soft, peeled flesh from a plum but it is high in sugar and we don’t recommend that you make this a routine part of your dog’s diet. To be safe, it’s best to avoid giving plums to dogs. If your dog eats a plum, see your veterinarian immediately, especially if you think your dog has ingested the pit.