Fruits For Dogs: Benefits And How To Feed

Fruits For Dogs: Benefits And How To Feed

Amy Thompson

You might have noticed that many raw feeders laugh at the idea of "fruits for dogs." After all, carnivores don’t need them. Or do they?

The truth is that whether you feed raw, kibble, or otherwise, fruits have the potential to significantly improve your dog’s health. Fruits aren't just for humans; they also provide numerous benefits to our dogs.

Fruits are packed with essential nutrients and powerful compounds like polyphenols that can make a substantial difference in your dog's well-being.

The reason why incorporating fruits into your dog’s diet can be so beneficial is largely due to polyphenols, so let's start by taking a closer look at what those are and how they work.

The Role of Polyphenols

If you've ever wondered "can dogs eat fruit?" the answer is yes. In fact, letting dogs eat fruit as a tasty treat is very beneficial because of the polyphenol content.

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plants. These compounds are known for their health-supporting properties and play a crucial role in maintaining overall well-being. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, which can cause cellular damage and contribute to other health problems.

In dogs, polyphenols provide various health benefits, including supporting immune function, promoting healthy aging, and enhancing overall vitality. When your dog consumes polyphenol-rich fruits, these compounds travel to the colon, where they interact with gut bacteria. The bacteria ferment polyphenols, producing beneficial by-products such as short-chain fatty acids. These by-products contribute to a healthy gut environment, supporting your dog's digestive system and immune system.

3 Health Benefits Of Fruits For Dogs

1. Balancing Your Dog’s Gut Health

Gut health is crucial for your dog’s overall well-being. The trillions of bacteria residing in your dog's gut play a significant role in various bodily functions, including digestion, immune system support, and nutrient absorption. When you feed your dog fruit as an occasional treat, you're also feeding these beneficial bacteria, which helps support healthy digestion.

Polyphenols found in fruits are essential for maintaining a balanced gut microbiome. These compounds serve as food for the good bacteria, helping them thrive and outcompete harmful bacteria. This balance is vital for your dog's health, as a healthy gut can support better digestion, enhance immune function, and contribute to overall vitality.

When your dog eats fruits like apples, berries, and pears, the polyphenols can help promote a healthy gut environment and healthy digestive system. These fruits can also help protect the gut lining and support the production of essential vitamins (like Vitamin C) and short-chain fatty acids.

2. Supporting Liver Detoxification

Your dog’s liver is essential for detoxifying the body, and processing and eliminating various toxins encountered daily. These toxins can come from food, environmental pollutants, and more. A well-functioning liver is crucial for your dog's overall health and longevity.

Polyphenols in fruits play a vital role in supporting liver health and its detoxification processes. These compounds help activate enzymes involved in the liver's detoxification pathways. Specifically, polyphenols assist in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification processes, making toxins more water-soluble so they can be easily excreted from the body.

Fruits like berries, apples, and pears are particularly beneficial for liver support due to their high polyphenol content. By incorporating these fruits into your dog’s diet, you can help enhance the liver’s ability to detoxify and protect against the build-up of harmful substances. This support can contribute to better overall health and reduced risk of liver-related issues.

3. Combatting Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress occurs when there's an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body.

Free radicals are unstable molecules with one or more unpaired electrons. They seek to stabilize themselves by stealing electrons from other molecules, causing a chain reaction of damage to cells, proteins, and DNA. This process can lead to inflammation, aging, and other health issues.

Polyphenols act as powerful antioxidants, helping to neutralize free radicals and protect against cellular damage. When your dog consumes polyphenol-rich fruits, these compounds donate electrons to free radicals, stabilizing them without becoming free radicals themselves. This action helps to break the chain reaction of oxidative damage, promoting overall health.

In addition to neutralizing free radicals, polyphenols also support the body's natural antioxidant defenses. They enhance the activity of antioxidant enzymes, providing a multi-faceted approach to combatting oxidative stress. By incorporating a variety of fruits rich in polyphenols into your dog's diet, you can help protect their cells from oxidative damage, support healthy aging, and maintain their overall well-being.

Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, apples, and other fruits are excellent sources of polyphenols that can help combat oxidative stress in your dog.

Best Fruits For Dogs

Introducing a variety of fruits into your dog's diet can provide numerous health benefits, thanks to their rich polyphenol content.

But dog owners still need to be aware that not all fruits are safe fruits for dogs. For example, grapes are well-known to be toxic to dogs. Other fruits may cause an upset stomach or other problems.

So what fruits can dogs eat?

Below are a few beneficial compounds and the dog-friendly fruits you can find them in. Each type of fruit offers unique advantages, and variety is key to ensuring your dog gets a wide range of nutrients and polyphenols.


Flavonoids are known for their health-supporting properties. They can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

  • Flavones: Found in parsley, celery, and hot peppers.
  • Isoflavones: Present in legumes and alfalfa.
  • Flavonols: Apples, berries, kale, and broccoli are good sources. Quercetin, found in these foods, is particularly beneficial.
  • Anthocyanins: Red, blue, and purple berries like blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries.
  • Flavanones: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and clementines contain hesperidin, a potent antioxidant.
  • Flavanols: Berries and apples are rich in catechin, which supports gut health.

Phenolic Acids

Phenolic acids are powerful antioxidants found in the seeds and skins of fruits and vegetables.

  • Curcumin: Found in turmeric, known for its health-supporting properties.


Lignans are found in seeds, fruits, and vegetables and play a role in supporting overall health.

  • Sources: Apricots, broccoli, leafy greens, and flax seeds.


Stilbenes include compounds like resveratrol, which are found in certain fruits and have supportive properties.

  • Sources: Blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, and peanuts.

Why Fresh Is Best

When it comes to feeding fruits to your dog, fresh is always best. Cooking and processing can significantly reduce the nutritional value of fruits, including their polyphenol content. Heating changes the molecular structure of polyphenols, diminishing their beneficial properties.

Studies have shown that cooking fruits and vegetables can destroy many of their valuable nutrients. Boiling, for example, can remove up to 50% of polyphenols, while steaming can cause a 20% loss. Fresh fruits retain their full nutritional profile, making them the best choice for your dog.

Feeding fresh, ripe fruits ensures that your dog gets the maximum health benefits. However, it’s important to introduce new fruits gradually and in small amounts to avoid any digestive upset. Always remove any seeds or stones that could pose a choking hazard or cause blockages.

It's also a good idea to prioritize organic fruits, as several fruits can end up on the "dirty dozen" list, meaning they have a higher pesticide and chemical risk. So if you can afford it ... go fresh and organic!

Safety Considerations When Dogs Eat Fruit

While fruits can be a healthy addition to your dog's diet, it's important to follow some safety guidelines to ensure they benefit without any risks.

  1. Introduce fruits gradually: Start with small amounts to see how your dog reacts. Monitor for any signs of digestive upset.
  2. Remove seeds and stones: Some fruits, like apples and plums, have seeds or stones that can be harmful. Always remove these before feeding.
  3. Avoid toxic fruits: Some fruits, such as grapes and raisins, are toxic to dogs and should never be fed.
  4. Feed ripe fruits: Unripe fruits can be hard to digest and may cause stomach upset. Ensure fruits are ripe before serving.

Remember: if your dog ate any harmful human foods or shows signs of difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian immediately.

By following these guidelines, you can safely incorporate fruits into your dog’s diet and help them enjoy the numerous health benefits fruits offer.

Final Thoughts

When considering healthy treats for your canine companion, it's important to know which fruits and vegetables dogs can safely eat. Fruits like apples, raspberries, frozen peaches, and frozen strawberries make excellent low-calorie snacks that can keep your dog hydrated and provide a nutrient-dense food source.

Just make sure to remove any hard pits to prevent intestinal blockage. Also avoid giving them toxic items like peach pits or tomato plants, for example (the leaves and stems are toxic to dogs).

In addition to fruits, vegetables like asparagus, green beans, and fresh pumpkin are also great snacks for dogs.

By understanding the role of polyphenols and choosing a variety of safe, fresh fruits like those above, you can help your dog live a healthier, more vibrant life!


Which fruits can dogs eat? Dogs can eat many fruits, including apples, blueberries, and pears. These fruits make excellent fruit snacks for your pup and provide essential vitamins and antioxidants. Always remove any seeds or pits, like peach pits, to ensure they are safe for your dog.

Can my dog eat fruit everyday? Yes, most dogs can eat fruit every day as part of a balanced diet. But avoid those with high sugar content to prevent weight gain. Incorporate these snacks in moderation to avoid digestive upset.

What fruit and veg can I give my dog? You can give your dog a variety of fruits and vegetables such as apples, blueberries, green beans, and sugar snap peas. These make nutritious snacks that support your pet's diet and provide essential nutrients. When letting dogs eat fruit snacks like these, always cut them into bite-sized pieces to prevent choking.

What foods are toxic to dogs? Some foods are toxic to dogs, including cherry pits, peach pits, grapes, and certain tropical fruit. These can cause severe health issues, so pet owners should avoid giving them to their dogs. Always research and consult your holistic vet before letting dogs eat vegetables or fruit that is new to their diet.