The short answer is yes, in moderation, prunes can be safe for dogs to eat. However, it’s important to keep in mind that prunes are high in sugar and calories, and they should be given to dogs only as an occasional treat and not as a regular part of their diet.
As a dog owner, you want to make sure that your furry friend is getting all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy. But at the same time, you also want to keep them safe and avoid giving them anything that could potentially harm them.
This includes being careful about the types of human foods you offer as treats.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the answer to these questions and provide some helpful information about feeding prunes to your dog.
What Are Prunes?
Prunes are a type of dried fruit that is made from plums. They are often used as a natural laxative and have been known to have a number of health benefits for humans.
That’s great for humans, but what about dogs? In short, prunes should only be given to healthy, adult dogs. Puppies and senior dogs may have a harder time digesting prunes and could potentially experience digestive issues as a result.
Health Benefits of Prunes for Dogs
While prunes should not be given to dogs as a main source of nutrition, they do have some potential benefits when given in small amounts.
High Amounts of Fiber
One of the main benefits of prunes for dogs is their high fiber content. Fiber can help to keep a dog’s digestive system regular and can also help ease your dog’s constipation.
Prunes are also high in antioxidants, which can help to boost a dog’s immune system and protect against various health problems. Antioxidants can help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which can cause cell damage and lead to various health problems.
Vitamins and Minerals
Prunes are also a good source of important nutrients, including vitamin A and potassium. They are also a good source of iron. These nutrients can help to support a dog’s overall health and well-being.
As mentioned, prunes are often used as a natural laxative due to their high fiber content.
If your dog is experiencing constipation, a small amount of prunes may be able to help them get things moving again. Just be sure to speak with your veterinarian before giving prunes to your dog for this purpose, as there may be other underlying health issues that need to be addressed.
Finally, let’s not forget that prunes can be a delicious treat for dogs! Most dogs seem to enjoy the sweet, slightly tart flavor of prunes, and they can be a great way to reward your furry friend for good behavior or to simply show them some extra love.
Do Veterinarians Recommend Feeding Prunes to Dogs?
It’s important to note that veterinarians may have different opinions on whether or not to feed prunes to dogs. Some veterinarians may recommend prunes as an occasional treat for dogs, while others may advise against feeding them to dogs altogether.
In general, prunes can be safe for dogs to eat in moderation, but it’s important to be cautious and to only offer them as an occasional treat.
A veterinarian can provide personalized advice based on your dog’s specific needs and health status, and can help you determine whether or not prunes are a suitable treat for your furry friend.
Constipation Can Be a Sign of Serious Underlying Issues
If your dog is constipated, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Constipation can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, and it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan in place to help your dog feel better.
Here are some signs that you should consult with a veterinarian right away:
- Your dog has not had a bowel movement in two or more days
- Your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort while trying to defecate
- Your dog is lethargic or has a loss of appetite
- Your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea in addition to constipation
In some cases, constipation can be relieved with home remedies and lifestyle changes, but in other cases, medication or other more aggressive treatment may be necessary.
When to Avoid Feeding Prunes to Your Dog
While prunes can be safe for dogs to eat in moderation, they should be avoided or given in very small amounts to certain dogs due to their high sugar content.
One group of dogs that should not be fed prunes because of their high sugar content are dogs that are overweight or prone to obesity.
Dogs that are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. The high sugar content of prunes can contribute to weight gain and may worsen underlying health conditions.
Another group of dogs that may not be suitable candidates for prunes due to their high sugar content are diabetic dogs.
Dogs with diabetes are unable to properly regulate their blood sugar levels and need to be very careful about the types of foods they eat. The high sugar content of prunes can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for diabetic dogs.
Finally, small dogs may also be more sensitive to the high sugar content of prunes and may be more prone to experiencing digestive issues or other side effects.
Feeding Prunes to Your Dog
If you want to give your dog a prune as a treat, it’s important to do so in moderation. Offer small pieces of a single prune and make sure they have access to plenty of water.
More Fiber Should Equal Higher Water Intake
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. It passes through the digestive system mostly unchanged, and helps to bulk up the stool and prevent constipation.
When you increase your dog’s fiber intake, it’s important to encourage them to drink more water. This is because fiber absorbs water as it moves through the digestive system.
This helps to soften the stool, making it easier to pass. If your dog doesn’t consume enough water, the fiber can actually have the opposite effect and cause constipation.
It’s also important to remember that prunes should only be given to dogs that are fully grown and healthy. Puppies and senior dogs may have a harder time digesting prunes and could potentially experience digestive issues as a result.
It’s also a good idea to remove the pit from the prune before giving it to your dog. The pit can be a choking hazard and could potentially cause an intestinal blockage if ingested.
Potential Risks of Feeding Prunes to Dogs
While prunes can be safe for dogs to eat in moderation, there are a few potential risks to be aware of.
1. High Sugar and Calorie Content
One of the main risks of feeding prunes to dogs is the high sugar and calorie content.
Prunes are naturally sweet and are often used as a natural laxative due to their high fiber content. While fiber is beneficial for dogs, the high sugar and calorie content of prunes can be lead to weight gain and other health problems in dogs, such as diabetes and dental issues.
It’s important to limit the amount of prunes you give your dog and to only offer them as an occasional treat, rather than a regular part of their diet.
2. Digestive Tract Issues
Another potential risk of feeding prunes to dogs is the possibility of digestive issues. While prunes can be helpful for dogs that are experiencing constipation, they can also seriously upset your dog’s stomach.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach or has had digestive issues in the past, it’s important to be cautious about feeding them prunes.
3. Choking Hazard
It’s also important to remember to remove the pit from the prune before giving it to your dog. The pit can be a choking hazard and could potentially cause an intestinal blockage if ingested.
Even store-bought pitted prunes can still have the occasional pit still intact.
4. Not Suitable for All Dogs
Finally, it’s important to note that prunes may not be suitable for all dogs. Puppies and senior dogs may have a harder time digesting prunes and could potentially experience digestive issues as a result. It’s a good idea to speak with your veterinarian before giving prunes to your dog, especially if they are a puppy or senior
5. Watch Out for The Pits!
Prune pits contain trace amounts of cyanide. Cyanide is a toxic chemical that can be harmful to both humans and animals when ingested in large amounts.
The good news is that the very small amounts of cyanide found in prune pits are not considered toxic to dogs. The exception to this would be if your dog happened to swallow several prune pits at once.
That being said, it’s still a good idea to remove the plum pits from any fresh plums or prunes that you give to your dog to avoid a choking hazard and/or intestinal blockage.
It’s also worth noting that while the risk of cyanide poisoning from plum pits is low, it’s not impossible. In rare cases, dogs that eat large quantities of plum pits or consume high amounts of cyanide over a prolonged period of time may be at risk of cyanide poisoning.
The following symptoms of cyanide poisoning in dogs may include:
- difficulty breathing
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
Safe Ways to Treat a Constipated Dog
Before giving your dog prunes for constipation, consider these healthy options (and check with a veterinarian):
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and can help to bulk up the stool and get things moving. You can feed your dog canned pumpkin or make your own pumpkin puree. Just be sure to use plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which can be harmful to dogs.
Adding some wet food to your dog’s diet can help to increase their water intake and soften the stool.
Bran is high in fiber and can help to bulk up the stool and get things moving.
Psyllium husk is a type of soluble fiber that can help to soften the stool and make it easier to pass.
The amount of psyllium husk that you should give a dog will depend on the size of the dog and the severity of their constipation. It’s generally recommended to start with a smaller amount and increase slowly as needed.
Here are some general guidelines for giving psyllium husk to dogs:
- For small dogs (under 20 lbs): Start with 1/4 teaspoon once or twice a day
- For medium dogs (20-50 lbs): Start with 1/2 teaspoon once or twice a day
- For large dogs (over 50 lbs): Start with 1 teaspoon once or twice a day
It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines and the appropriate dosage may vary based on your dog’s specific needs.
Canned Green Beans
Green beans are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a good option for dogs who are constipated.
It’s important to note that you should only feed these foods to your dog in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. If your dog’s constipation persists, consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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In conclusion, while prunes can be safe for dogs to eat in moderation, it’s important to be cautious and to only offer them as an occasional treat.
It’s also a good idea to remove the pit and to be aware of any potential digestive issues that may arise. As always, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian before giving any new foods to your dog.
The bottom line is that there are better, safer ways to treat a constipated dog.
Neves, A. (2021, November 22). Can Dogs Eat Prunes? (Dried or for Constipation). Dog Advisory Council. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from https://dogadvisorycouncil.com/can-dogs-eat-prunes/
Plum. (n.d.). ASPCA. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/plum
Constipation in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospital. (n.d.). Vca. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/constipation-in-dogs
Jegede, O. (2021, August 26). 12 Effective Home Remedies For Constipation In Dogs. Veterinarians.org. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from https://www.veterinarians.org/constipation-in-dogs/