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Can Dogs Eat Prunes?
I’m certain you’ve heard someone say prunes are good for constipation. Better still, you might have used it in the past for bowel movements. And one might think, can dogs eat prunes if they have constipation too?
Most dog owners are curious whether their pups can eat anything on their table. To them, this promotes bonding and relationship. However, not everything you eat is good for your dog.
So back to prunes, can your pup eat them? Is it safe?
To make sure we’re on the same page let’s have a rundown of what prunes actually are.
What Are Prunes?
Prunes are basically dried plums. They’re made from varieties of European plum trees. These varieties are intended to be dried and not eaten fresh.
Prunes can freestone (the pit is easier to remove) or clingstone (retains pit). However, most processed and packaged prunes tend to be pitted.
Over the years, prunes have been associated with older people because of their digestive benefits. This is the reason why the industry made efforts to rebrand as “plum raisins” to appeal to the younger generation but that failed.
Prunes can be eaten alone as is commonly done. However, it can also be mixed with chocolate chips and different nuts. You’ve definitely seen prunes in some baked goods before. So yeah, it can be added to bread or cookies, or even breakfast meals such as cereal or oatmeal.
As for the taste, prune still tastes like plum although with a more concentrated sweetness. They’re one of the most plumpy dried fruits you’ll see around.
Can Dogs Eat Prunes?
This is a tough one to answer, there’s no straight yes or no. Your dog can surely eat prunes, it isn’t toxic, especially the pitted ones. However, you shouldn’t purposefully feed prunes to your dog. In essence, your dog can eat it, but you shouldn’t allow it.
Due to the drying process, prunes have a concentrated sweet taste and high sugar content. Your pup will probably gobble it up like candy if your offer it.
While sweet, the consequences your pup will suffer over time aren’t pretty. Therefore it is advised to totally eliminate prunes from your pup’s diet for the greater good.
While prunes are good for constipation in humans, that’s not the case for dogs. It can take your dog from one end to another. Therefore you’ll have your dog move from being constipated to crapping explosively all around the place. We both agree that’s not a nice sight.
Are Prunes Safe For Your Dog?
Well, different dogs will have different reactions to eating prunes. However, prunes are not known to be toxic to dogs. Therefore the difference in reaction is due to different gastrointestinal sensitivity.
Too much fiber or sugar can easily irritate your pup’s digestive system. And this is basically what a prune is filled with. Also note that eating just one prune is unlikely to cause problems, eating too many is where the problem is.
Some of the symptoms that your dog will exhibit when he eats too much prune are;
- Loss of appetite
Once you notice these symptoms, you can just observe him. After a couple of days, he’ll get back to normal. However, if it keeps getting worse, the best course of action is to visit your vet immediately.
Does Prune Have Health Benefits For Dogs?
Prune as fruit contains several micronutrients such as vitamin K and potassium. These are important for several metabolic processes in the body.
Additionally, prunes have a near-zero fat content. Therefore it makes a good snack if you don’t plan on feeding plenty to your pup in one sitting.
For humans, prunes are held in high esteem because of their digestive benefits. This is due to its high content of fiber, folate, riboflavin, iron, and Phosphorus. These are essential for good bowel health and movement.
However, it’s not the same for dogs. Your pup will definitely not get all those nutrients from prunes. Therefore other healthy food with those nutrients should be sourced.
Prunes are known to contain antioxidants called polyphenols. These antioxidants protect the cells from oxidative stress from superoxides.
Although prunes have quite a lot to offer humans, the same cannot be said for dogs. Therefore it’s best to totally avoid putting prunes in your dog’s diet. In the long term, it’ll do way more harm than good.
Risks Associated With Dogs Eating Prune
Prune contains a lot of fiber and sugar. This is the genesis of the problem for your pup. While these two components are important to your dog’s health, too many of them can be dangerous.
Long-term consumption of a high sugar diet such as prunes can lead to weight changes. In this case, we’re talking about obesity. Smaller dogs are even more at risk because of their smaller daily calorie requirement.
An obese dog is predisposed to so many diseases. The most common of them all is diabetes mellitus. Others are heart conditions, cerebrovascular events, etc.
Each plum contains about 3.9g of sugar. Imagine if your dog eats a lot of each, that’s too much sugar!
As for fiber, prunes have a high content. Each serving of prune contains about 8% fiber. That’s too plenty for your pup.
Ironically, fibers are found in other fruits and vegetables, so why is prune different?
Yes, fiber is found in vegetables and other fruits but not as high as in prunes. Fiber in high amounts is always bad for your pooch.
Can Prunes Be Given As Treat To Your Dog?
It is not uncommon to hear people talk about giving prunes to their dogs as treats. Due to its very sweet nature, your dog will surely enjoy it as a treat.
However, it can be dangerous if done consistently. The high sugar content can wreak havoc in your dog’s system if continued.
Also, before giving prunes to your pooch a treat, it is important to know his weight. A 50lb dog and a 20lb dog shouldn’t be given the same amount of prune as treat.
Whatever it is, prune or otherwise, always gradually introduce new food to your dog’s diet. Doing it suddenly can lead to bad gastrointestinal symptoms. You don’t want that.
If you’re considering giving prune to your pup as treat but are still worried, contact your vet for guidance. This is the best thing to do.
What Should I Do If My Dog Accidentally Ate Prunes?
After reading of the likely effect of prune on your dog’s digestive system, one is certain to be alarmed when their dog consumes prune accidentally. However, don’t panic.
If it’s just one prune, then your dog is fine. Remember prunes aren’t toxic to dogs. The dilemma is when your dog eats lots of prunes at once.
In this case, you have to closely observe your pup for signs of gastrointestinal irritation such as vomiting and diarrhea. It usually reduces within a few days and your dog will be back to normal.
However, if it continues, or your dog becomes lethargic, visit or call your veterinarian for guidance. In severe cases, prompt action is needed.
What About Prune Pits?
Most prunes are pitted, meaning their pit is removed. However, prunes with pit are still available.
Prune pit is harmful to dogs because it is sharp, hard, and can’t be digested. Additionally, it contains cyanide just like some other pitted fruits.
Well, one pit doesn’t contain enough cyanide to cause harm to your pup. Although when your dog eats a couple of prunes, cyanide poisoning becomes a thing.
The rough and sharp edges of prune pits can excoriate the surface of your dog’s intestinal tract as it goes down. This will cause discomfort, diarrhea, and most importantly, bleeding.
For smaller dogs, the prune pit can cause obstruction in the digestive system. The same goes for bigger dogs that swallow a big prune pit. Bowel obstruction can be deadly for dogs.
Therefore if you find out that your dog has eaten many prune pits, contact your vet immediately. In the case of bowel obstruction, it may be an emergency and you’ll have to get your dog down to the vet for investigation and treatment.
How About Prune Juice?
As is commonly said, the only fluid your pup should be drinking is water. Prune juice or any other juice is high in fructose. Food high in sugar can easily irritate your dog’s digestive system.
Continuous intake of fruit juice can lead to weight changes. Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, most commonly diabetes mellitus.
Give only water to your furry friend, no other fluid!
Will Prunes Help If My Pup Is Constipated?
For humans, prunes are a go-to when it comes to constipation. Its high fiber content can help bowel movement and overcome constipation. But that’s for humans, it’s not the same for dogs.
Feeding prunes to your pup for constipation can lead to more problems. It can easily take your pup from one extreme of the spectrum to another. That means from constipation you’ll start battling diarrhea.
There are alternatives to prune when it comes to doggy constipation. The first thing to do is to encourage more water intake by your pup. This can help soften his stool and relieve constipation.
Alternatively, you can add carrot or some pumpkin puree for fiber. They have a lot less fiber and sugar than prune, therefore they don’t pose problems to your pup.
If these measures are not able to relieve constipation, or your pup is in pain, then it’s time to visit your vet.
What Should I Do If My Do Starts Vomiting After Eating Prunes?
If you’re sure prune is the only new food in your dog’s diet, then you should carefully observe your dog. This is hoping the symptoms resolve, which they usually do. Make sure to provide plenty of drinking water for your pooch to avoid dehydration.
In a case where your pup has ingested many prune pits, severe symptoms can arise within 12 hours of consumption. This includes vomiting, seizures, rapid and irregular breathing, depression, and even coma.
Prune toxicity is rare but the symptoms can be life-threatening to your dog. Therefore it is best to contact your vet for your next line of action.
Can Dogs Eat Boiled Or Cooked Prunes?
Nice one. Cooking or boiling prunes will not change anything. The nutritional facts remain the same, it’s still high in sugar and fiber.
Therefore even cooler or boiled prune will affect your dog the same way a regular prune would. So cooking it doesn’t make a difference.
Can Prunes Be Added To Your Pup’s Balanced Diet?
This question is usually asked because prunes are recommended for humans due to their micronutrient content and digestive benefits. However, dogs are a different ball game altogether.
Prunes are high in certain minerals like potassium but it is not advised to purposefully feed them to your pooch. This is because your dog can get these nutrients from their already balanced diet.
You don’t need to tamper with their meal. Adding prune to your dog’s diet will lead to an imbalance. However, it’s not wrong to feed exotic meals to your dog every now and then, but there are healthier options.
If Not Prunes, Then What?
If you’re considering giving prunes to your dog because of constipation, then stop right there. There are healthier options that can help your pup’s bowel movement. They include;
- Masked pumpkin
- Canned wet food instead of kibble
These food contain fiber but are not as high as a prune. Therefore they help relieve your dog’s constipation while causing no harm.
Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Prunes?
As we’ve said, they can. However, you shouldn’t feed prunes to your dog. This is because the risks far outweigh the benefits.
While beneficial for us humans, it’s not the same for dogs. With such high sugar content, regular consumption can easily lead to obesity and eventually diabetes. With this comes a host of other health conditions.
Its high fiber content isn’t ideal for dogs. It can easily take your pup from constipation to diarrhea.
If your dog is constipated, never think of prunes, encourage water intake or a healthier source of fiber as mentioned above. Essentially, keep your furry friend away from prunes!
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