Can Dogs Have Nectarines?
In the days of old, our ancestors fed their domesticated canine friends whatever scraps were left over from their meals. Bits of fruit, unwanted pieces of meat, and maybe even the occasional grains supplemented whatever small animals these early dogs could hunt on their own. Back when we lived in nature and packaged foods did not exist, we, and our dogs, ate whatever calories we could get our paws on. If it didn’t kill you immediately and it kept your stomach full, it was considered an excellent meal.
Fast forward to today, and most of us aren’t worried about simply getting enough calories—we, and our dogs, can be a little pickier. We have the ability to eat for optimal nutrition rather than short-term survival, so many of us spend hours trying to formulate our pets’ diets for the best health results. Inevitably, we often look into the foods we know are healthy for us. Sweet, juicy nectarines are a perfect example of a health food we would love to share with our dogs. We know that fruit is great for us, but should we share it with our furrier friends? Can you give your dog nectarines?
Yes, dogs can safely eat nectarine flesh. If Fido pulls some uneaten nectarine slices out of your trash can, you have no reason to worry, because this fruit is not harmful for dogs. In fact, some dogs enjoy the sweet, juicy treat from time to time, and there may even be some small health benefits. Just remember to always remove the pit first before giving it to them!
Health Benefits & Nutritional Info
One of the most well-known health benefits of nectarines (and most fruits) is the high fiber content. Though many breads, cereals and even junk foods are fortified with extra fiber, fruit is one of the natural, whole food ways of increasing fiber intake. Higher fiber diets have been shown to prevent and treat all sorts of health problems in both human and animal studies.
But what is fiber? It actually isn’t a vitamin or a mineral. The term ‘fiber’ is how we describe the bits of plants that our bodies can’t adequately digest. Dogs cannot digest fiber, either. For the most part, only grazing animals can digest fiber. This is why cows can live on nothing but grass.
Even though dogs can’t digest it, fiber has a powerful impact on their bodies. There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber, which sucks up water and ferments on its way through the body, and insoluble fiber, which absorbs water but does not ferment. It is best to achieve a fairly equal balance of both types of fiber, which is easy to do if you feed your pet balanced diet. Nectarine fiber tends to ferment quickly, so if your dog eats too much of it, they may wind up with diarrhea.
The most immediate, obvious benefit of the fiber in nectarines is the effect it has on the digestive system. While too much soluble fiber can lead to diarrhea, too little fiber is one of the leading causes of constipation. The fiber in nectarines can help a sluggish digestive system get back up to speed. Fiber’s digestive support also reduces the risk of developing colon cancer, which is often deadly.
Supplementing your dog’s diet with high fiber foods may help with another, less talked-about problem: swollen, sore anal glands. High fiber foods result in bigger bowel movements, which can help to relieve impacted glands. This means your dog will stop dragging his rear across the floor all the time!
Things to Keep in Mind
Nectarines contain many beneficial vitamins and minerals, but it is not recommended to feed your dog enough nectarines for them to serve as a primary source for these nutrients. Dogs require a vastly different balance of vitamins and minerals than humans do, which means that they do not need large amounts of fruit to stay healthy. While humans thrive on diets fairly high on high-carbohydrate plant foods, dogs require a different balance of macro-nutrients—one that involves more protein and fewer carbohydrates. This is because, though dogs have become more omnivorous as a result of their living with humans, they remain, biologically, carnivores.
This is also why vegetarian dogs should be fed specially-formulated kibble, and not simply a mix of whole fruits and vegetables. Dogs who get a significant amount of their calories from fruit will wind up malnourished. Nectarines should be a rare treat, not the base of your dog’s food pyramid!
When feeding your dog nectarines, there is one thing to keep in mind: remove the pit first. Nectarine pits are big enough to be a choking hazard and a potential intestinal blockage. They also contain small amounts of cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. If your dog accidentally swallows a nectarine pit, take them to the veterinarian to make sure it does not create an intestinal blockage.
Overall, nectarines are a safe choice for anyone looking to treat their dog to small amounts of fruit. The high fiber content may improve digestion, and the sweet taste is sure to have them licking their chops. Just make sure you remove the pit first!
Dog Eating Nectarine Video: