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Can Dogs Eat Nectarines? Risk and Benefit Analysis

updated: July 14, 2021

Are you looking to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables you offer your dog? Then you picked the right post to read. The short answer is yes! However, there’s a lot more that you need to know.

Nectarines are a healthy source of vitamins and minerals when fed in moderation. Most dogs love the juicy, sweet flesh, and nectarines make an excellent purée or dried fruit treat for your dog.

With a little preparation, dogs can safely eat many fruits and vegetables, including nectarines and peaches.

In this post we will cover a bit of info about nectarines and peaches, and how you can safely incorporate these fruits into your dog’s diet.

Nectarine Nutritional Benefits

Nectarines are a common summer fruit, and we think of them as a smooth-skinned version of their cousins, peaches.

In fact, peaches and nectarines are considered the same species even though they are classified agriculturally as different fruits.

These two stone fruits are nutritionally similar. Genetically, they’re similar to peaches except the nectarines have smooth skin and peaches have fuzzy skin.

Nectarines and peaches are both delicious and nutritious fruits that are high in fiber. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. They contain about 63 calories per serving, and so fit into a healthy diet for most dogs.

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Here are some of the vitamins and minerals you can expect to find in a serving of nectarines/peaches (as % of daily recommended value):

  • 12% Vitamin C– Good for respiratory problems and to maintain healthy bowels.
  • 9% Vitamin A– Supports liver, lung and kidney health.
  • 8% Niacin- Crucial for overall health and supports gastrointestinal health.
  • 8% Potassium- Required for the functioning of nerves, muscles and enzymes.
  • 10% Dietary Fiber- Assists with digestive health and helps prevent constipation.

Vitamin A

Nectarines have a lot of vitamin A in them. This is essential for the functioning of muscles, skin, nerves and tooth health. Most dog food (if not all) contains the necessary vitamin A requirements for dogs.

Too much vitamin A could cause toxicity; however, the occasional piece of nectarine is not going to cause that.

Magnesium

Nectarines are a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is considered a multifunctional mineral that contributes to bone health. It produces energy at a cellular level that allows the body to efficiently absorb vitamins.

Potassium

Potassium brings balance to your dog’s body. Enzymes, nerves, and muscles are able to work at peak efficiency.

Possible Dangers from Eating Nectarines

When feeding your dog nectarines, you should be cautious about letting your dog play with a whole piece of fruit. While the flesh of the fruit is safe for your dog to eat, there can be side effects, and the pits hold several dangers for dogs.

Stomach Upset

While most dogs can eat a small amount of fruit with no side effects, you want to start with small portions, and gradually build up to larger ones.

Some dogs may be more sensitive to eating a new fruit, and giving too big a portion of nectarines or peaches could lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea.

If a dog’s digestive system isn’t use to eating fresh fruit it could throw things off. Also, in some dogs the fruit can ferment in their digestive tract, leading to gas and flatulence.

So start with small portions, and then increase the amount they eat gradually.

Intestinal Blockage

Nectarine pits are relatively small; however, small dogs may have difficulty digesting them. Depending on the size of your dog, intestinal blockage could be a risk.

Avoid Nectarine Pit

Never give your dog a whole piece of the fruit, or allow them to chew on the pit at the center of nectarines or peaches (or any stone fruit, really). These pits present a real danger to dogs.

Chewing on the pits could break their teeth, leading to higher dental bills and even the loss of teeth.

Also, dogs can easily swallow the pits, which becomes a choking hazard. At minimum, your dog could suffer from unnecessary abdominal pain.

These pits are the perfect size to get stuck in the digestive tract. If that happens, your dog will need surgery to remove it.

Potential for Cyanide Toxicity

Inside the pit is a little kernel that contains a chemical compound called amygdalin. When ingested, this compound turns to hydrogen cyanide in the stomach.

This might not be enough to kill a large dog, but could still be dangerous and lead to toxicity. In small dogs, a single pit could contain enough traces of cyanide to cause a serious reaction, even leading to death.

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Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning in Dogs

  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated Pupils

Animal Poison Control is your best resource for any pet-related toxicity. If you believe your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous/toxic substance, call:

UNITED STATES: (888) 426-4435.

CANADA: (888) 213-6680

UNITED KINGDOM: 01202 509000

Please note: Fees may apply

How to Easily Incorporate Fruit into Your Dog’s Diet

With the pits safely removed, you are free to treat your dog with nectarines and peaches in small amounts.

Start with a couple of small pieces as a treat, and then branch out as your dog becomes accustomed to eating this tasty fruit.

Dogs often enjoy sweets, and fruit is a great way to satisfy their sweet tooth in a healthy fashion.

Start slowly. While most dogs should be able to handle nectarines as an occasional treat, some dogs digestive health may come into play.

There are many different ways to incorporate fruit and vegetables into their diets, so have some fun making special fruit treats for your dog.

Frozen Treats

Take puréed nectarines and freeze them into ice cube trays to make a quick and easy summer frozen treat for your dog.

The summer months can get very hot. This might be a good way to help keep your dog cool.

If you want to get fancier (maybe for a puppy party?), mix the purée with some plain yogurt and add in pieces of other vegetables or fruits like carrots and blueberries.

You can freeze this mix in ice cube trays or even little cups, and you will have your own homemade “pupscicles!”

Dried Treats

Dried fruit, in moderation, can be a tasty and healthy chew treat for dog too!

If you have a dehydrator you can make them yourself. Dried fruit purchased in the grocery store may have added ingredients that you don’t want your dog to have.

It’s easy to overeat dried fruit and that can lead to excess sugar in the body.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can put the fruit on cookie sheets and dry them in your oven on the lowest setting.

It might take 12 hours or longer, but your dog will thank you. Sweet potatoes are a great option for a homemade dried chew too!

Avoid Canned Peaches

Canned peaches might seem like a quick an easy way to add some juicy fruit to your dog’s diet. Unfortunately, the juice often contains excess sugar.

Canned fruit that does not contain added sugar or preservatives might be okay in very small amounts.

Enjoying the Fruits of Success

Once your dog has become accustomed to eating nectarines and peaches, you will start to look forward to the Dog Days of Summer and the bounty of the fruit harvest. These fruits are a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, and contain many vitamins and minerals that your dog will benefit from.
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Author Biography

Jen Clifford has a B.A. in Biology from Reed College. She was a field biologist for several years, and then spent 10 years working in veterinary medicine as a receptionist and technician.  Jen is currently a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her tribe of pets. She is a passionate animal lover who is dedicated to helping people find solutions to their pet-related challenges.

To read more of Jen’s work, check out her website: https://mywickedtribe.com

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