Can I Give My Dog Pineapple?
There are a handful of foods that we love to eat even though they cause us pain—as spicy food lovers who dream of eating chili peppers like popcorn can attest. But, spicy food aside, there’s one painfully delicious choice that we indulge in every summer: Pineapple. If left to their own devices, many children will eat this sweet, juicy fruit until their tongue is raw and their stomach burns. But, even though pineapple can cause a little bit of discomfort if we overdo it, we rest easy in knowing that it is a healthy food. Between the vitamins, the fiber, and the high water content, what’s not to love?
So, since we love pineapple, we may decide that we want to share it with our furry friends—after all, who hasn’t surrendered to a pair of big puppy eyes peering up at them from under the table? But, as pet owners, we have learned to take care in the food choices we make for our pets. Is this okay? Can dogs have pineapple?
The answer: yes, dogs can eat pineapple, but not as a staple food. Because this fruit is high-fiber, high-water, and very low in protein, it should serve only as a treat or a supplementary food. When considering your dog’s portion sizes, approach pineapple the same way you would approach apples or strawberries. Eating too much of any fruit can cause digestive problems in the short term and weight gain in the long term.
Health Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Pineapple
As far as sweet treats go, there are few more beneficial to your dog’s health than pineapple. This fruit is high in fiber and water, which makes it an excellent choice to promote digestion and ease constipation. The water content will keep your dog hydrated, and the dietary fiber (which soaks up water) will act like a natural laxative that sweeps out your dog’s intestinal tract. Fiber has the added benefit of lowering the risk of digestive cancers and protecting heart health.
But fiber isn’t pineapple’s only claim to digestive fame. This fruit also contains high levels of an enzyme called bromelain, which is great at breaking down proteins (including the proteins in your tongue, which is why your mouth hurts if you eat too much!). Dogs, who eat high protein diets, can benefit from consuming bromelain in part because it will ‘do the job for them,’ breaking proteins down into amino acids that can be more readily absorbed. This takes a huge load off your dog’s digestive system and allows them to absorb more nutrition from their food. For the enzyme benefits, though, make sure to feed fresh pineapple—canning often destroys bromelain.
This is one of the reasons why veterinarians often recommend pineapple as a treatment for a condition called coprophagia. What is coprophagia? It’s the fancy name for the condition that causes dogs to eat their own excrement. While the exact causes of coprophagia are difficult to pinpoint, many veterinarians think that it may be the result of an absorption problem, which pineapple can alleviate. Other veterinarians think that pineapple contains a chemical that changes the flavor of your dog’s feces, making it unappetizing to them. Dogs are weird.
Pineapple is full of vitamins and minerals, too. One of these vitamins, Vitamin C, is readily produced inside the bodies of most dogs, but those who are dealing with old age, illness, or severe stress may benefit from getting more of it in their diet. Pineapple also contains manganese, which promotes bone health, and minerals like iron, calcium, and zinc.
This fruit contains many different chemicals that prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. The cancer prevention comes from the high levels of antioxidants, which kill the villainous free radicals out to damage your dog’s cells. There is some evidence that bromelain may aid in shrinking tumors and soothing discomfort associated with chemotherapy, too.
The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple are helpful for inflammatory illnesses like arthritis. Eating pineapple may reduce swelling in the joints, which both alleviates pain and improves your dog’s mobility. While pineapple is not a substitute for veterinary care, feeding it and other anti-inflammatory foods may help ease their discomfort.
Things to Keep in Mind
As with all fruits, pineapple should only be fed to dogs in moderation. While it is not a poisoning risk, too much pineapple can cause a severe upset stomach and diarrhea. When preparing pineapple for your dog, stick with fresh or frozen, and make sure the tough outside peel is removed completely. If your dog eats too much pineapple and winds up sick, it usually is not serious, and you do not need to seek veterinary care unless symptoms are severe or they carry on for more than 24 hours. Pineapple allergies are rare in dogs.
Overall, pineapple is a great sweet treat for your dog. It aids digestion, lowers the risk of cancer, and discourages your dog from indulging in that nasty habit of eating their own feces. Everybody wins!