If you’re a huge fan of healthy eating and you love dogs, you’ve probably wondered whether nectarines can be given to our four-legged friends as dog food.
After all, if dogs eat almost anything you put in front of them, this healthy fruit will surely make a great addition to your dog’s diet, right?
Can Dogs Eat Nectarines and Apricots?
Your dog can eat nectarines, but only in moderate amounts. Although this stone fruit has many health benefits, its sugar content and potentially hazardous pits can cause problems that’ll significantly impact your dog’s health.
Apricots are also safe for dogs to eat in moderation, though they pose the same risks to dogs. We’ll get into these risks later on in the article.
Nectarines – Quick Facts
Nectarines are a species of fresh fruit commonly grown during summer. They’re similar enough in appearance and taste to peaches that most folks confuse the two.
However, if you pay attention to the skin texture of these two stone fruits, you can easily tell the difference between them. While nectarines have smooth skin, peaches have fuzzy skin. Nectarines also happen to be smaller.
This juicy fruit is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, providing numerous health benefits, which we’ll get into in the next section.
Health Benefits of Nectarines
As mentioned earlier, nectarines are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. As such, they can be a healthy treat that dog owners can share with their pups from time to time. So, let’s take a closer look!
Vitamin A is great for your dog’s vision, immune system, and growth. Also, when dogs eat food that’s rich in this vitamin, it improves the overall health of their livers, kidneys, and lungs.
Here are some of the nutritional benefits provided by vitamin A in nectarines:
- Sharp eyesight
- Good growth
- Normal cell function
- Healthier organs
All told, when dogs eat nectarines, they’re sure to reap the immense benefits vitamin A provides.
Vitamin C is the seek-and-destroy vitamin; it’s an anti-oxidant that seeks out and attacks harmful free radicals responsible for weathering your dog’s cognitive functions over time. It also helps with respiration and bowel movements in dogs.
Magnesium carries energy across your dog’s body. It’s also essential for proper brain function, a steadily pumping heart, bone health, and energy production.
Expect the following nutritional benefits when your dog eats food that’s rich in magnesium:
- Strengthened bones
- Higher levels of energy
- Functioning nervous system
Part mineral, part electrolyte, potassium works at the cellular level to transfer energy around the body. This essential mineral is a must for the optimal performance of muscles and nerves because they depend on the electrical charges created by this electrolyte. So potassium is great for your dog’s muscles as it aids muscle contractions.
Just like us humans, fiber is good for dogs as well. Dogs’ bodies take longer to digest it, though, as it’s a complex carbohydrate that ferments in the large intestine of dogs.
Fiber stimulates the bowels, allowing the dog to excrete its stool without any issues. As such, the fiber in nectarines can help with diarrhea, but make sure to consult your vet first.
And if your canine friend happens to be diabetic, fiber can help to regulate and get fluctuations of the glucose levels in its blood under control.
Fiber also helps with weight loss, which is why it’s great for dogs on a diet. It makes the animal feel full, even when they’ve only taken a few calories.
In summary, fiber, in reasonable quantities, is good for dogs in that it:
- Aids natural bowel movements
- Maintains cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood
- Helps to manage the dog’s weight by making it feel full
What Makes Feeding Your Dog Nectarines Bad?
As has already been established, nectarines provide a host of nutritional benefits in addition to being a tasty treat. So what might make them bad for dogs?
Stomach upset, cyanide poisoning, and pits that pose a choking hazard are just some of the reasons this fruit poses a danger to dogs.
A diet that contains too much sugar is bad for anyone, and our canine pals are no exception. In addition to wrecking your dog’s teeth, excess sugar consumption can also cause weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity in dogs. In addition, the bone health of an overweight puppy will be impacted due to the animal not getting around as much.
On that note, it’s extremely important that you avoid canned nectarines, canned peaches, and similarly processed fruit like the plague. The added sugar in canned fruit can be astronomical, therefore disastrous to a dog’s tooth health, resulting in tooth decay over time. So keep that in mind if you don’t want your pet to have difficulty sinking its teeth into juicy flesh later on in its life.
Canned fruits also contain preservatives and other additives, which you’ll want to keep out of your dog’s diet. Therefore, as convenient as it is to feed the dog fruit from a can, think twice before heading over to the grocery store to get a can of nectarines. Instead, aim for organic and fresh nectarine.
High Dietary Fiber
Another reason why nectarines aren’t suitable as dog food, other than in minimal amounts, is because they contain too much fiber. Foods containing too much dietary fiber aren’t kind to your dog’s digestive system, and nectarines are chock full of the stuff.
As a result, the high fiber in nectarines will trade a serious blow to your dog’s digestive health, causing vomiting or diarrhea due to an upset stomach.
The Nectarine Pit
It’d be a serious if your dog ate a nectarine or peach pit. It’s unsafe for dogs to eat fruit like nectarines and peaches simply because the nectarine pit (and similarly peach pits) is dangerous when swallowed.
Nectarine pits constitute a choking hazard, which can be fatal if first aid isn’t provided on time. Also, a swallowed nectarine pit could cause an intestinal blockage in particularly small dogs.
In addition, nectarine pits contain trace amounts of cyanide, which can cause cyanide poisoning if your pooch crushes the pit with its teeth. You’ll know your pet’s been poisoned if it has dilated pupils, is throwing up repeatedly, panting excessively, or behaving erratically.
You probably won’t feed your dog a rotten nectarine. However, you should know that when this fruit decomposes, it produces ethanol, which is highly toxic to dogs. Therefore, ensure that any fruit you give your pet is at the peak of freshness.
How to Safely Let Your Dogs Eat Nectarines
Nectarines make a great occasional treat for your dog when given in moderation. But always consult your dog’s vet first before you give your dog peaches, nectarines, or other human foods.
With that said, here are some ways owners can ensure their dogs eat nectarines safely:
It’s best to introduce nectarines into your pet’s diet little by little. Doing so will help you determine if the fruit sits well with your animal’s stomach.
If the dog takes to the fruit, remember that the high amounts of sugar in nectarines can have negative effects on the animal’s health. So exercise restraint during treat time.
Remove the Pits
Always make sure to remove nectarine pits before feeding this fruit to your pup. That way, you’ll save your furry friend a trip to the vet and prevent a potentially fatal medical emergency.
Pay Attention to the Dog’s Size
When adding nectarines to the pup’s palate, keep your dog’s body size in mind. Smaller dogs can’t handle portions that fit larger dogs and are more likely to suffer if they end up swallowing a pit.
Only Give Nectarines as a Treat
As much as it’s safe for dogs to eat this fruit, we must stress that it’s only safe for them to consume the fruit in small quantities. So always limit feeding your pet nectarines to when it’s time for a reward or a treat.
Fun Ways Your Dog Can Eat Nectarines
If you’ve decided on adding nectarines to your dog’s diet, here are some cool ways to go about doing it:
Consider making a nectarine puree for a summer treat, placing it in ice cube trays, and freezing it. Your dog will get a sweet treat that cools it down during summer.
Alternatively, you could try mixing pureed nectarines with yogurt and other fruit and vegetables.
To satisfy your dog’s sweet tooth, try giving it dried nectarines to chew on. You can use a dehydrator to dry the fruit. Alternatively, the nectarines can be lightly baked in the oven.
What Fruits Cannot Be Given to Dogs?
There’s a long list of fruits that are bad for dogs. They include:
- Fruits that are high in citrus, like lemons
The above list is far from exhaustive, so consult your vet for a fuller list.
So, can your dog eat nectarines? Yes, dogs eat nectarines just fine, so long as they’re consumed in moderate amounts.
Nectarines have high amounts of sugar, which can cause all sorts of health problems in dogs like bad teeth, diabetes, and obesity when consumed in excess. So, to be on the safe side, only give your dog nectarines as an occasional snack, and ensure that you don’t feed the dog canned fruit.
Moreover, the nectarine pit is dangerous when swallowed and contains trace amounts of cyanide that can be released if crushed underneath the dog’s teeth. So make sure to remove the pits and only give portions that are appropriate for the dog’s size.
If you own a dog or happen to be pet-sitting for a friend, keeping the above things in mind will protect its health.