Can dogs eat plums?

Health and Wellbeing

Although dogs do need a lot of animal-based protein and fat to stay healthy, our hounds are actually omnivores with strong scavenging instincts. It means that out in the wild, your pup would pick meat first but wouldn’t turn their nose up to anything else they find that smells tasty. So while fruits might not be top of the list for a dog’s dinner, they can make appetising and tasty treats. Especially for your fur-iend who always wants a bite of whatever you’re having. But what fruits can a dog eat?

Can dogs eat plums?

We’ve talked about peaches and cherries previously, so let’s look at their cousin in the “Prunus” family, the plum. If the other fruits in the family are safe for canines, can dogs eat plums too?

CAN DOGS EAT PLUMS?

Yes, dogs can eat plums and these succulent snacks are perfectly safe for your pooch to try as long as they have been pitted. Plums are non-toxic and have a few vitamins and minerals, but they are actually mostly made up of water. (About 85%.) All in all, it means that dogs can eat plums as a special sweet treat that’s all-natural and doesn’t have any nasties.

As with any human food, even healthy fruits and veggies, it is important that plums are always fed in moderation to make sure your pooch doesn’t get a pup-set stomach from overeating them. Plums contain a lot of fibre and natural sugars, and although they are perfectly safe in moderation, too much can make your pup’s belly hurt. (But they would have to eat a few plums before it made them ill!)

You might have seen that dogs can’t eat plums, which isn’t strictly true. The flesh of the fruit is perfectly safe for dogs to eat. However, the stone inside the fruit can be dangerous. So rather than say that dogs can’t eat plums outright, we say plums are safe as long as they are pitted.

CAN DOGS EAT PRUNES?

Yes, dogs can eat prunes. They are just dried plums so they are still safe for dogs to eat, but you must make sure they are pitted.

Research in humans suggests that something in prunes helps to stop and even reverse bone loss. It’s possible this benefit transfers to dogs, so the occasional prune could help to keep their skeleton strong.

But, prunes do have more calories than plums, since they’re naturally dried, which removes the moisture and concentrates all the nutritional elements so they’re more nutritionally dense than plums. (It’s similar to how we create Pure!)

CAN DOGS EAT PLUM JAM?

Plum jam might be delicious, but it is jam-packed with sugar which isn’t good for dogs in high amounts. However, it isn’t toxic so your pooch could have a tiny bit of jam on occasion as a very special treat, like a slither of jam on a small toast crust. Just don’t feed it to them often or in significant amounts because eating such high sugar foods could make your pup hyperactive, and over time could lead to diabetes or obesity.

IS IT OK FOR DOGS TO EAT PLUMS?

If you’re wondering can dogs eat plums, and are they any good for your friend, don’t worry. It’s ok for dogs to have plums as long as you remove the stone.

Plums are mostly made up of water (about 85%), and they have very few calories, little carbs, next to no fat, and no sodium so there’s nothing inside the fruit that is particularly bad for dogs. In fact, they contain a few essential nutrients, but they don’t have huge quantities of goodness and because your pooch should only eat a slice or two as a treat, they won’t be eating enough to really benefit their health. It certainly won’t hurt them though, and plums make a natural and healthy treat option.

Plums do contain fibre which helps to keep your pooch feeling full and going to the toilet on time. There’s also some vitamin A, C, K, and a couple of B vitamins, as well as minerals like potassium, copper, and manganese.

However, these vitamins and minerals aren’t in very high amounts, so your pooch still needs to eat complete and healthy dog food that provides all of the essential nutrients they need. But a little extra isn’t going to hurt your pooch, and it’s certainly a more natural and healthy snack than something like bacon or brown biscuits. Plums are also packed with antioxidants, which are always a good thing to treat your pooch to.

ARE PLUMS BAD FOR DOGS?

No, plums are not necessarily bad for dogs. As I said, they are mostly water and don’t contain anything in the fruit’s flesh that could make your dog unwell, like salt. The only real problem with plums is the stone.

Firstly, plum stones pose a choking hazard to dogs, and they can also cause obstructions in their digestive tract. Plus, because one end of the stone is sharp, it could irritate and injure your dog’s oesophagus or intestines if it’s swallowed.

Secondly, plum stones contain amygdalin, a naturally-occurring compound found in most fruit seeds and stones including those inside peaches and cherries. Amygdalin is released when a stone or seed is crushed and is turned into cyanide by the body.

If you’re into crime shows or novels, you’ll know that cyanide is highly poisonous.

Thankfully, there shouldn’t be enough cyanide in a single plum stone to put your pup’s life at risk. It might make them ill though, and if they swallow a stone your pooch is very likely to face stomach upset and blockages as mentioned above. One plum pit isn’t enough to kill a dog through toxicity, but it could be a big choking risk that might endanger your dog.

So no, plums themselves aren’t bad for dogs, but the stone in the middle of the fruit can be a problem. Always remove the stone (or pit) before feeding your dog some plum.

DOGS AND PLUM TREES

ARE PLUM TREES POISONOUS TO DOGS?

Yes, all parts of a plum tree are poisonous to dogs except for the flesh of the fruits.

Plum trees are from the “prunus” family, which also include other trees such as cherriesapricots, and peaches. All parts of this family of plants are toxic to dogs except for the fruit, provided it’s an edible variety. In which case, the fruit is sometimes safe for dogs to eat, but you should always check first and ask your vet if the fruits are suitable for your pooch.

Damsons and gages are varieties of plum, so the same rules apply to those trees and fruits too.

If you have a plum tree in your garden, make sure your pup isn’t treating themselves to a pick ‘n’ mix from the fallen fruits. Windfallen plums on the ground are tempting morsels for hungry hounds, but your dog is very likely to eat them whole and make themselves ill.

Firstly, most dogs do not know when to stop and will overindulge. With sugary and fibre-rich foods like plums, it does mean that overeating will cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Secondly, your pooch is very likely to eat the stone if left unsupervised to hoover up windfallen fruits. Finally, fallen plums could begin to ferment, producing alcohol that can intoxicate your dog.

So if you’re lucky enough to have a plum tree in your garden, or pass one on your walkies, make sure your pup isn’t picking up any fallen plums.

RECAP: CAN DOGS EAT PLUMS?

Yes, dogs can eat plums as long as you remove the pit and cut the fruit into small pieces. As with any new food, you should only feed plums in moderation and introduce them slowly to your pooch to prevent illness.

Prunes are just dried plums, so they are technically safe too, but their nutritional content is more concentrated so the amount your pooch can safely eat is a lot smaller. It’s also important to never let your pup eat the plum’s pit because swallowing it can cause them injury or illness.

Instead of plums, try feeding your dog a meal packed with all the goodness of plums, without any of the risks. Pure is healthy, natural and bursting with nutrients, providing your dog with nourishment from the inside out. With a Pure diet, we hope for dogs to see better bellies, better skin and better stools.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.

Sources
  1. Scavengers can be choosers: A study on food preference in free-ranging dog Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 216, July 2019, 38-44