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In addition to being really tasty, prunes have numerous health benefits. Prunes can help to improve multiple health issues in humans and help to keep us healthy and even help to reduce the risk of contracting several contagious diseases. As loving owners, it’s understandable if you’d want to give prunes to your dogs as treats or maybe even as a part of their diet. Now, we have to answer the question, can dogs eat prunes?
It’s best to do your research and ask questions before you feed anything other than their dog food to your dogs. Their digestive system is different from ours so if your plan is to keep them healthy you should make sure whatever you want to feed them as a treat or add to their diet is safe for that purpose.
What are Prunes?
Prunes are dried plums. Plums are oval-shaped juicy and fleshy fruits. They have a seed (usually called a stone or pit) at the center with the sweet and edible flesh around it. The pits can’t be eaten and should be thrown away unless you intend to plant them. They usually have many varieties but not all of them can be dried and turned into prunes.
Drying them gives them a wrinkled appearance and dark color. Drying them also increases the sugar concentration because of the low water content and they usually have more macronutrients, calories, fibers, and minerals.
Can Dogs Eat Prunes?
Yes, your dogs can eat prunes but it isn’t recommended even in small amounts. First, anything that isn’t made specifically for them shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake. This is commonly referred to as the 90/10 rule and you should follow it strictly when feeding your dogs with anything not meant for them.
Secondly, even though they are omnivores, their digestive systems are different from ours and some things we can consume can be toxic to them like xylitol. If you want to give them other treats, whatever you want to use to make up that 10% should be treated that are safe for them to consume.
Prunes don’t usually contain seeds and are not toxic like some other fruits but they can lead to serious health problems. Even though they can eat them, you should keep them away. Fresh plums are very different from prunes. The fresh plums have a lower concentration of sugar because they contain more water, and they also have less fiber than prunes.
Can Prunes Be Harmful to Dogs
Prunes are just dried plums and dried fruits usually have much higher sugar concentrations. The pits are usually removed from the plums but not in all cases so if you’re buying any and you’re not sure if the pits are intact you should check them yourself before feeding them to your dogs.
The pits can be a choking hazard so you should do your best to make sure your dogs don’t come across any. The pits can also cause an intestinal blockage if they get lodged in our dog’s digestive tract and in most cases, the only way to remove them is through surgery. They also contain amygdalin. When ingested the acid in their intestinal tract will dissolve the outer layers of the pits and this will release the toxins into the body.
Amygdalin slows down the ability of their bodies to deliver oxygen to the tissues and organs. This causes them to suffocate slowly and it can lead to cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness, going into a coma and even death. If your dog eats prune pits and you begin to notice signs like abdominal pain, severe panting, gagging, unusual inactivity or unresponsiveness, loss of appetite and dilated pupils, contact your veterinarian immediately.
The effects of amygdalin in most cases can’t be reversed and can become fatal very quickly so if you notice any signs do not hesitate to get help.
You should also keep your dog away from your trash cans because they can end up eating prune pits that you’ve thrown away or prunes that are already going bad because they’ve been in there for a while.
This is also a general rule that should be followed so they don’t end up eating food that has gone bad or objects that can choke them. If you leave them to themselves, they’ll definitely get into trouble so you have to monitor them and put checks in place.
The high sugar content can also lead to numerous issues. Dogs don’t handle too much sugar properly and it can lead to short-term problems like diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, bloating and stomach aches.
Continuous consumption of high amounts of sugar can lead to problems like addiction and it might sound weird talking about a dog addiction but if they like it so much and enjoy the sugar rush that they get from the excess sugar they will adjust their behavior and do anything to get you to give them the sugar.
It can also lead to other long-term health problems like obesity and diabetes which can worsen conditions like arthritis in aging dogs and open the door to other serious conditions and will definitely shorten your dog’s life.
Consumption of excess sugar can also lead to dental issues like cavities, loss of teeth and root canals. The pits are also very hard and can damage their teeth if they try to chew on them. Loss of teeth or a toothache might be just a nuisance to humans but dogs use their teeth for a lot of things so it will be very difficult for them to get by like this. Even if you don’t feed them with prunes you should have their teeth checked at least once a year so any budding problems can be discovered and treated early.
Prunes also have very high fiber content and even though they are very helpful for overcoming constipation in humans, this isn’t the same for dogs. This amount of fiber will lead to severe stomach upsets and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating. If your dog is constipated, prunes won’t help and are more likely to make it worse. It will clear up after a while in most cases and you could give them more water to help. If it doesn’t get better, contact your veterinarian.
What About Cooked, Canned or Other Types of Prunes?
Boiled prunes are the safest form of prunes but they still contain too much fiber to be considered good for your dogs. Canned prunes are usually stored in some form of juice and this greatly increases the sugar content so you should avoid these too. No matter the form, prunes are still bad for your dogs and shouldn’t be given to them.
Can Dogs Drink Prune Juice
Prune juice will have the same effects as eating regular prunes so they should be treated the same way. Giving them any other liquids like juice can cause rapid dehydration and lead to other health problems because of additives and preservatives and the high concentration of sugar.
Prunes are fine for you and even healthy but if you want to treat your dog to something nice there are so many other healthy alternatives like watermelons and even plums (without the seeds of course), but these should all be given in moderation. The best solution though will be to give them dog treats. These are made with their needs in mind and won’t expose them to any health issues but remember to follow the 90/10 rule.
If they had just a few there isn’t much to worry about. Just watch them for a few hours and if any minor signs of discomfort show up, they should clear up after a while. However, if they ate a large amount and start vomiting or have diarrhea then monitor them over the next 24 hours and if their condition doesn’t improve, contact your veterinarian.
To quote Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) from Jurassic Park “but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should”. Yes, your dogs can eat prunes but the risks are not really worth it. There are a lot of other healthy fruits and foods that your dogs can eat and you wouldn’t have to worry about their health. Even with the numerous benefits, they have for humans, prunes are not good for dogs so if your dog ever eats prunes and you notice any symptoms you should contact your veterinarian.