There are a variety of fruits that are both safe and nutritionally beneficial for your dog. This includes fruits like bananas and apples, but are plums a safe snack?
If you notice that your beloved pooch has gone and eaten a fallen plum from your tree, is this potentially dangerous? The answer is not as simple as you’d hope. While a few bites of plum flesh may be okay every now and then, the high sugar content in a plum can be harmful to your pooch, so it’s a good idea to avoid giving it intentionally. If your pooch has eaten an entire plum with the pit, there are several reasons for concern.
Why shouldn’t your dog eat plums?
Several fruits are safe for dogs to eat, like apples and blueberries, so what makes plums different? A few slices of plum for your dig shouldn’t be an issue, other than high sugar levels, but the main reason for them to not eat plums is the pit inside the fruit.
The branches and leaves of plum trees and the pit inside the fruit contain low levels of cyanogenic glycosides (cyanide). If your dog crushes the pit up and digests it, this can potentially poison it, especially if you have smaller dogs or cats. The amount of cyanide within a plum pit is generally not enough to cause any life-threatening issues, though it can make your dog sick enough to need a visit to the vet. If the plum is overripe or moldy, some of the toxins from the pit can be transferred into the flesh of the plum too.
Apart from toxicity, the plum pit can get stuck in your dog’s throat or digestive tract, causing them to choke. Plum pits often have sharp edges and if swallowed whole, can cut its mouth or throat and potentially perforate its digestive tract.
Pits from other fruits also contain cyanide, like apricots and peaches, and so should also be avoided. In fact, most fruit pits should be avoided if possible, because of the potential poison and sharp edges.
Sugar is another important concern for your pooch. Plums are high in sugar content, which is not good for your dog. As mentioned, while some fruits are fine for your pooch, plums are much higher in sugar than bananas, apples, or blueberries. Small amounts of natural sugars are good for your dog, but a sugar overload can potentially be fatal, especially in small dogs.
In the short term, this spike in sugar intake can make your dog sick or even be fatal. In the long term, taking in too much sugar over a long period can create insulin production issues and potentially lead to diabetes.
What if your dog eats a plum?
If you notice your dog has eaten a plum or two, it is likely no reason to panic. Make sure the pit is not stuck in your dog’s throat or causing any visible discomfort. Take away any remaining plum, and if your dog hasn’t swallowed the pit, they’ll most likely be fine.
In small amounts, the flesh of a plum is fine to give your pooch on occasion. Plums are made of mostly water — around 80% — and so can aid in hydration on a hot day. But remember that plums contain high levels of sugar that can be potentially harmful for your pooch. The pit is the most important factor to be concerned about, due to the risk of choking and potential poisoning.
If your dog does get hold of a plum, there is no reason to panic! As long as they are showing no signs of distress, your beloved friend should be fine.
Featured Image Credit: Tony Hisgett, Flickr