Can Dogs Eat Apricots Safely?
Any fruit we give our kids because it’s healthy, will be as good for our furry friends, right? No, not always. It is wise to explore the potential risks of feeding your canine companions any human foods. An example is learning whether dogs can eat apricots safely, and what are the required precautions. It is always best to reach out to your vet for advice before feeding your dog something new.
Let’s explore what you need to know before sharing your apricot with your precious pooch.
The 90/10 rule should be the first consideration before you feed your dog anything besides its usual food. Any treats, human food or dog treats, should only make up about ten percent of a dog’s diet, with the bulk of their nutrition coming from dedicated dog food. Now, let’s get back to the question—
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Can Dogs Eat Apricots Safely?
Yes, your dog can eat apricots, but not all parts of the fruit. The only safe parts of the apricot are the soft flesh and the velvet-like skin. Always ensure you remove the stone, and any stem or leaves that may be attached to the fruit. Those parts of the plant contain trace amounts of cyanide.
Furthermore, cut the apricot into pieces before giving it to your dog, and ensure it is without any sugar or other additives. If you heed these precautions, the skin, and flesh of the apricot are rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Apricots boast several other pretty decent health benefits.
What are the Health Benefits of Apricots for Dogs?
Below is the list of health benefits the flesh and skin of apricots provide.
Vitamins: Apricots are packed with vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Vitamin A promotes eye and skin health, vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system, and vitamin E is critical in metabolizing fat and also the functioning of certain cells. Furthermore, combined, these vitamins strengthen bone density, and helps treat or prevent osteoarthritis.
Beta Carotene: Apricots contain this antioxidant that plays a significant role in preventing cell oxidation and damage by free radicals. Moreover, beta-carotene assists in improving eyesight and is particularly beneficial for older dogs. The antioxidants in apricots can also protect your canine companion’s body from cancer.
Potassium: Apricots contain potassium and soluble fiber, which may help assist in lowering your furry friend’s cholesterol levels, support heart, and kidney function, and help maintain healthy bone density.
Fiber: Apricot flesh is a great source of dietary fiber, which can relieve constipation, help your dog maintain regular bowel movements, promote colon health, and assist in weight management. However, dogs should get their primary nutrition from dog food, which already has sufficient fiber. Too many fiber-filled fruits could cause stomach problems like gas and diarrhea.
Copper: The copper in apricots helps the dog’s body metabolize iron to prevent anemia. Additional benefits of copper are the critical role it plays in the formation of the skeletal system.
What Risks do Apricots Pose to a Dog’s Health?
Dog owners would be wise to always remove stones, stems, and leaves of any fresh fruit before sharing it with their dogs. Similar to cherries, nectarines, and peaches, apricots are stone fruits. Therefore, apricots have a stone encased in the fleshy fruit, and a kernel, encased by the hard shell of the stone.
The apricot pit or stone is toxic and contains trace amounts of cyanide. However, the apricot seeds, or kernels, are also dangerous because they contain amygdalin, a poisonous compound known to release cyanide. If consumed in sufficient dosages, cyanide can do serious harm to your dog. Likewise, the stem and leaves of the apricot tree contain toxic cyanide in small quantities. Therefore, discarding these parts of the plant is crucial.
Further to the toxicity of parts of the apricots, the stone also poses a choking hazard. This risk is more significant for small dogs, and although large dogs may easily swallow the stone, the danger lies in the potential intestinal blockage it could form.
Dog parents should never let their dog eat whole apricots, and store them where curious pooches can’t reach them. Likewise, if there is an apricot tree in the yard, or during a visit to an orchard, fallen fruits should not be left for the dogs to eat.
If you know or suspect your furry friend consumed one or more complete apricots, close monitoring is essential because the risk of cyanide poisoning is high. You might not know how many apricot stones your dog swallowed, and one or two stones will not be life-threatening to a large dog.
What are the Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning?
However, it is best to assume the worst and watch your pooch closely for any of the symptoms of cyanide poisoning listed below, and don’t delay getting Doggo to the DVM if you notice any red flags. In some cases, cyanide poisoning can be fatal.
If there is an issue, you will typically notice symptoms 15 to 20 minutes after your dog has ingested the apricots.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Abnormal breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Bright red gums and mucus membranes
- Convulsions that can lead to death
- Spasms of different limbs
- Bloody stools
- Urinary incontinence
Can Dogs be Allergic to Apricots?
Apricots do not contain known allergens, and should not cause allergic reactions when eaten by a dog. However, any new food you give your dog should be introduced gradually. That gives you time to watch for signs of allergies.
If your precious pooch has an allergic reaction after eating some apricot, you might recognize the problem that might appear as itchy skin, sneezing, or coughing. If you think your dog is allergic to apricots, keep them away from this fruit and reach out to your veterinarian for more information.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Apricots?
You may be wondering about the safety of giving your canine companion dried apricots. The answer is yes, you can—but!
Keep in mind that the process of making dried fruit removes only the moisture, leaving the sugar more concentrated than when fresh. Therefore, you should give your dog fewer dried apricot than you would give fresh apricots.
Be careful with store-bought dried apricots or even trail mix containing dried apricots. Prepacked dried apricots have contents that could harm your pooch. These might include sugar or even the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic for dogs.
The same applies to any other forms of prepared apricots, such as canned apricots, apricot jam and jelly, apricot yogurt, and more.
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Apricots?
If you ever decide to share your apricots with your furry friend, follow these precautions:
Consult your DVM: Always consult your veterinarian before adding a human food type to your dog’s diet.
Check for sugars and sweeteners: Prepacked apricot products may contain unhealthy additives like added sugars that can cause weight gain. It is crucial to inspect the nutritional label before serving it to your dog. Note that the label on some processed apricot products—like apricot jelly or apricot jam—may indicate it to be sugar-free. That is a warning right there because manufacturers often add xylitol or other artificial sweeteners, which are safe for humans but toxic for dogs. Stick to feeding your dog fresh or dried apricots to avoid any adverse effects from natural or artificial sweeteners.
Discard the stems, leaves, and stones: Always remove these parts of the apricot before feeding the fruit to your dog. They contain cyanide, a harmful, toxic compound, and pose a choking hazard to your canine friend. It may be cute to see your pooch playing with an apricot as if it is a ball, but it will be less cute if your pup chokes on the stone.
Cut the apricot into smaller pieces: Cut your apricot into small pieces according to the size of your precious pooch. Chewable pieces can go into the dog’s food, or you can feed small pieces as a treat. Breaking the fruit down makes the apricot flesh easier to swallow and digest.
Moderation: Apricots should never form a part of your canine companion’s regular diet. Serve it as an occasional healthy treat, and never more than 10% of the total caloric content of the dog’s daily diet.