When your dog turns on the wet mouth and mooch eyes at your breakfast banana, you can share. In fact, your dog can eat most fruits that you eat. Start with small bites and learn what fruits agree with your buddy’s tummy and taste buds.
Offer your pup an apricot sliver, apple slice or melon bite. Watch for his reaction. If he sniffs and turns away, throw out the fruit and try another time. If he trots off with it, follow the dog and make sure the treat gets eaten. You do not want it half-chewed and abandoned in a corner or behind his bed. Fruits like blueberries are snacks for the dog but stains for the carpet. If he eats a piece of fresh fruit and looks for more, give another piece or two. Start with small portions and watch for flatulence or diarrhea. If this happens, cut back on portions or change fruits. Or you can give the fruit after a meal, or mixed as a kibble topper, to minimize tummy upset.
Pick up frozen fruit medleys for convenient treats. Choose mixed berries or melon chunk blends with no sugar. When you add them to your fruit salad or cereal, toss a couple in the dog dish as a snack. In hot weather, offer a frozen melon ball or strawberry instead of ice cubes or ice cream. These fruits thaw quickly and make cool treats. Dogs, especially puppies, enjoy the chilled fruit because it cools their gums.
Your dog may ignore raw apple in favor of stewed apples or applesauce. If he spits out fresh blackberries, try a few stewed berries on his kibble. For a finicky or sensitive-stomach dog, cook the fruit to break down fiber and make it more palatable. Microwave the fruit until it is tender. No sugar or other sweetener is necessary. For a handy dessert, look for stewed fruit baby food with no salt or sweeteners. And check out dehydrated fruit for you and your dog to share on hikes and trips.
Remove seeds from apples, apricots and other fruits. Hard seeds are not digestible and can harm your dog if he ingests any. Peel thick-skinned fruits such as pomegranate, as tough skin pieces ripped off and swallowed are a choking hazard. Avoid grapes or raisins, as these fruits contain a toxin that can cause canine kidney failure. Keep chocolate-covered fruits away from your dog: Chocolate is tempting but toxic to dogs. Talk to your vet about dog-edible fruits. She can advise you on your dog’s overall health and the fruits most suited to his diet.
Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.