Can Dogs Eat Pears?

close up images of pears

Many owners wonder–can dogs eat pears? If your dog is begging for a bite of the pears you’re snacking on, you may be wondering how to safely share your fruit–below is a breakdown of the risks and benefits of feeding your pup pears.

Are Pears Safe for Dogs to Eat?

As many dog owners know all too well, pups are often interested in whatever human food is on the table. Dogs are known to be facultative carnivores, meaning they can eat fruits and vegetables, but primarily require meat in their diets. This is why it may come as a surprise that many pups enjoy partaking in fruits and vegetables. Many have an affinity for the food group despite their preference for meat, so you may notice your dog begging for your fruit salad, pears included.

Certain fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs to consume, while others can be toxic. This is why it’s important to do your research before sharing a new food with your pet. Pears, in particular, are perfectly safe for dogs to consume in moderation. As long as you serve the fruit properly and your pup doesn’t overindulge, pears can actually be a healthy snack for your dog.

Health Benefits of Pears for Dogs

Pears are exceptionally healthy for humans to consume, offering a plethora of vitamins and minerals, and the same is true for dogs. In particular, pears are high in copper, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for dogs as well as humans. By scavenging harmful free radicals from the body, vitamin C reduces inflammation and delays cognitive aging. Unlike us, dogs are actually able to synthesize their own vitamin C in their livers, but a supplement can never hurt.

Vitamin K is integral to ensuring your dog’s blood has the ability to clot. Because of vitamin K’s clotting factor, vets often administer vitamin K therapy as a treatment for dogs who have accidentally ingested rat poison.

Copper helps a dog’s body absorb iron, meaning it’s crucial to the healthy functioning of your pup’s red blood cells. It’s also important for healthy bones, connective tissue, collagen, and myelin (the protective covering around nerves).

Fiber is essential for keeping hunger and blood sugar in check and regulating digestion. Soluble fiber can also help lower glucose levels and blood cholesterol (and 29% of pears’ fiber content is soluble fiber).

pears in a blue bowl

Risks of Feeding Your Dog Pears

Like any “human food,” pears should be fed to dogs only in moderation. Vets recommend keeping pears to 10% of your pet’s daily food intake or less (i.e. for small dogs, one slice is enough), so make sure not to share too much fruit with your pup in one sitting. An excess of pears could lead to an upset stomach. Be sure to cut pears into small pieces to avoid a choking hazard for your dog.

When feeding your pup pears, be sure to avoid pears with seeds, or de-seed pears before offering them. Moreover, never toss a pear’s core to your pup as a snack. Pear seeds contain traces of cyanide, which is toxic to both humans and dogs when a significant amount is consumed. Cyanide can be lethal as it prevents the body’s cells from using oxygen (which kills the cells), and can be harmful to organs including the heart and brain.

Can Dogs Eat Canned Pears?

Canned pears are convenient and cheap, and are widely available in most supermarkets. If you’re snacking on canned pears or adding them to your meal or baked creation, you may wonder if they’re as safe to offer your pup as fresh pears.

Unfortunately, canned pears are probably not the best choice to feed your dog. Most canned fruits contain added sugar and syrups, which may irritate your dog’s digestive tract. Even worse, consuming an excess of sugar on a regular basis may cause obesity and other complications for your pet (i.e. pancreatitis, type II diabetes). For this reason, it’s probably best to steer clear of feeding your pup canned pears, or any canned fruit for that matter. However, canned pears are not toxic to dogs, so don’t fret if your pup steals a slice by accident.

Can Puppies Eat Pears?

Pears are relatively safe to feed to adult dogs, but you may be wondering whether your puppy can partake in the snack as well. The answer is yes–pears are equally safe and healthy for puppies to consume in moderation. Just be sure to cut the pear into tiny pieces to avoid a choking hazard for your little one. Moreover, you’ll need to adjust the amount of pear you offer to your puppy’s diet, keeping the fruit to 10% or less of their daily food intake. Depending on your puppy’s breed and size, less than a slice might do the trick.

close up image of pears

How to Safely Feed Your Dog Pears

While it’s safe for your dog to eat pears, it’s important to ensure you take the proper precautions when sharing the fruit with your pup in order to avoid choking hazards and other dangers. Firstly, it’s best to choose a pear for your dog that’s fresh and ripe (never rotten–this will cause an upset stomach), and to rinse off the fruit before feeding it to him or her.

Next, cut the pear into bite-sized pieces. It’s important to ensure that your pup won’t choke on the fruit, especially considering that if he or she is overly excited for the snack, proper chewing technique may be tossed to the wayside. Moreover, cutting the pear into small pieces can help you control your pup’s pear intake (and keep it to a healthy 10% of his or her daily calories). It’s also crucial to ensure that your pup’s pear piece doesn’t contain any stem, core, seeds, or leaves. Any of these non-flesh parts of the fruit can pose dangerous choking hazards to your pet.

Moreover, the core, seeds, and leaves of a pear may contain traces of cyanide. Cyanide is a fast-acting, deadly chemical, and although the trace amounts found in fruits like pears are likely not lethal (so it’s okay if your dog accidentally eats a seed or two), it’s still worth taking precautions to avoid your dog consuming it. Cyanide is also found in other fruits, including cherries, plums, apricots, and peaches.

Once you’ve chosen a fresh, ripe pear, washed it, and cut it into pieces of the appropriate size and portion, you can go ahead and feed the fruit to your pup. Try using a pear chunk as a reward for good behavior–foods dogs love can be a helpful training aid. You can even freeze your leftover dog-ready pear pieces and offer them frozen as a cool treat on a hot day (or defrost them if your dog prefers them room-temperature).

Can Dogs Eat Pear Skin?

You might be wondering whether pear skin is safe to feed your dog, or if peeling the fruit is another necessary precaution. Pear skin (as long as it’s washed) is safe for dogs to consume and actually offers added health benefits! Pear skin is rich in fiber, which means it helps regulate digestion, manage weight, and prevent/improve diabetes. It’s also rich in vitamins, nutrients, and flavonoids, which have been proven to prevent cancer. The antioxidants found in pear skin are also heart-healthy: they decrease heart tissue stiffness, decrease “bad” cholesterol, and increase “good” cholesterol. So as long as you wash any residue off of your pup’s pear skin, feeding it to him or her actually provides a nutritional boost.

dog sitting in front of an orange background

Do Dogs Like the Taste of Pears?

When deciding whether to introduce a new food into your dog’s diet, your pup’s personal taste is an important consideration. Most dogs like the taste of pears and other fruit. Interestingly enough, while dogs’ sense of smell is one million times stronger than that of humans, dogs’ sense of taste is only about one sixth as powerful as ours, so your pet might not be as picky as you’d expect. Dogs can still differentiate between sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, so pears’ sweet, fruity taste will likely appeal to them. Moreover, your pup can certainly appreciate the fresh, juicy quality a pear slice offers.

Which Other Fruits Are Safe for Dogs?

Once you’ve introduced pears into your dog’s diet, you may be wondering what other fruits are safe to offer as well. Many fruits, like pears, are a delicious treat with numerous added health benefits for your pup. However, some fruit varieties pose dangers to dogs. Below is the rundown on fruits that are safe for your pup to enjoy.

Apples

Apples make a great healthy snack for your pup. They’re rich in fiber, meaning they regulate digestion and prevent obesity. Apples also contain ample vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin, fur, muscles, and nerves, as well as vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant. Apples’ low protein and fat content means they’re a perfect light snack for your pet, and their high potassium content means they support healthy muscle function.

Bananas

Bananas are just as healthy for dogs as they are for humans; however, their high sugar content means they should be given in careful moderation. But as long as your dog doesn’t overindulge, he or she will reap the benefits of bananas’ potassium and fiber boost. Bananas also contain copper, which is crucial for healthy bones and red blood cell function, and biotin (or vitamin B7), which helps your pup’s enzymes break down fats and carbohydrates.

Blueberries

Blueberries are the perfect healthy sweet treat for your dog, and can even be used as an all-natural alternative to store-bought treats. They’ve come to be known as a superfood due to their incredibly rich antioxidant content (antioxidants prevent cell damage, cancer, heart disease, and more by fending off free radicals in the body). Blueberries contain ample fiber, which means they promote health digestion and prevent obesity (and related complications like diabetes). They also offer phytochemicals, chemical compounds produced by plants that also prevent cancer and cell damage.

close up image of blueberries

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is safe for dogs to consume, but should be offered in moderation due to its high sugar content. Overindulgence in high-sugar foods could lead to weight gain, obesity, pancreatitis, or type II diabetes for your pup, so be sure to monitor his or her intake. However, when properly portioned, cantaloupe offers a variety of health benefits for dogs. It’s extremely hydrating (and it’s important to ensure your dog is consuming enough water). Cantaloupe is also rich in fiber, meaning it helps your pup manage his or her weight and promotes healthy digestion. Melon is remarkably low in calories, making it a great light snack for your pet regardless of his or her dietary needs. It’s rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.

Cranberries

Cranberries are safe for dogs to consume either fresh or dried in small amounts (too many may cause an upset stomach). It’s worth noting that cranberries may be too sour for your pup. But if he or she enjoys their tart flavor, cranberries offer a variety of nutritional boosts. They’re rich in vitamin C (antioxidant that’s beneficial for skin, bone, and muscle), vitamin E (a fat-soluble antioxidant), vitamin K1 (crucial for blood clotting), copper (promotes healthy bones and red blood cell function), and manganese (essential for growth and metabolism). Cranberries are also rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which each offer unique benefits. Soluble fiber regulates blood cholesterol and blood sugar, while insoluble fiber softens stool and supports insulin sensitivity (and both promote healthy digestion and prevent diabetes).

Cucumbers

You might not be aware that cucumbers are actually botanically classified as a fruit. Cucumbers are the perfect light, low-calorie snack for dogs and will give your pup a healthy energy boost. They’re packed with vitamins including K (crucial for blood clotting), C (an important antioxidant), and B1 (which helps the body process carbohydrates), as well as other nutrients like potassium (for healthy muscle function), copper (for healthy bones and red blood cell function), magnesium (which supports muscle and nerve function and promotes healthy energy production), and biotin (or vitamin B7).

Mangoes

Mangoes make a lovely sweet treat for dogs. However, be sure to feed your pup mangoes only in moderation, as its high sugar content can cause health risks like obesity, pancreatitis, and diabetes when consumed in excess. Also, mango pits, like pear seeds, contain traces of cyanide, so be careful to remove the pit before offering your dog a mango. Mangoes are rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as B6 (which boosts the immune system and regulates the blood’s amino acid levels). Mangoes also contain potassium as well as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene (both healthy antioxidants). 

close up image of mangoes

Oranges

Oranges make a great healthy snack for dogs, although they may be put off by the strong citrusy smell. Be sure to peel and de-seed an orange before offering it to your pup to prevent digestive troubles. Oranges are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber for your pet.

Peaches

Peaches are safe for dogs to consume in moderation, but be sure to follow the same guidelines for pears (remove the pit, which contains traces of cyanide, cut the fruit into small pieces, and avoid the sugary canned varieties). Peaches are rich in fiber and vitamin A, and can even help your pup’s body fight infections.

Pineapples

A few chunks of carefully-peeled pineapple are a wonderful treat for a dog. This fruit is rich in vitamin C, which provides a healthy boost to your pups immune system, and also contains vitamins A, E, B6, and K. Pineapples also contain bromelain, an enzyme that reduces inflammation and can help your pup absorb proteins. Bromelain is a powerful nutrient–it’s the reason pineapples are used as a medicinal plant in some cultures.

Raspberries

Raspberries make a great snack for your pup in moderation. They’re low-calorie and low in sugar, as well as rich in antioxidants, fiber, manganese, and vitamin C. This fruit’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful for aging joints, so if you have a senior dog, he or she may particularly benefit from partaking in raspberries. It’s important to note, however, that raspberries contain a small amount of xylitol, a naturally-occurring sweetener that can be toxic to dogs if enough is consumed. For this reason, it’s important to pay special attention to your pup’s raspberry consumption.

Strawberries

Many dogs love the taste of strawberries, and luckily, this fruit is safe for them to consume (in moderation, of course, due to their substantial sugar content). Strawberries are rich in fiber and vitamin C, so they promote healthy digestion and a healthy immune system while also preventing diabetes. They also contain an enzyme which may whiten your pup’s teeth!

close up image of strawberries

Watermelon

Watermelon is safe for pups to consume (as long as you remove any seeds, as watermelon seeds may cause intestinal blockage for your pup). Watermelon is incredibly hydrating for your dog, as it contains 92% water (it’s in the name!). This fruit is also rich in vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as potassium.

Which Fruits Are Not Safe for Dogs?

While there is clearly an abundance of fruits that are healthy and safe to share with your dog, it’s important to note that certain other fruits may be toxic to your pet. These include avocados (which contain persin, a toxin that may cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs), grapes and raisins (which are extremely toxic to dogs and may cause sudden kidney failure), cherries (which contain enough cyanide to be lethal to your pet), and tomatoes (which contain solanine, a substance that’s toxic to dogs and may cause gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, weakness, or confusion).

Summary

Many owners wonder whether it’s safe to feed pears to their pups. The answer is yes, pears are fine to share with your dog as long as they’re fresh, ripe, and properly washed, and you don’t offer your pet the stem, seeds, or core. Pears offer a variety of health benefits for dogs, as they’re high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and copper. So the next time you reach for a pear for yourself, consider offering your dog a slice!

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