As far as tropical fruits go, the pineapple is one of the most distinctive and iconic around.
They’re exported and enjoyed worldwide from their warmer climate origins, and are enjoyed by millions of us as a snack, a dessert or, indeed, an occasionally controversial pizza topping.
We may enjoy pineapple – but does your dog? Can dogs eat pineapple? Should dogs eat pineapple at all, even if it’s safe? Let’s explore the facts.
Is pineapple good for dogs?
Those of us who are welcoming healthier food options into our lives often wonder if we can extend that same notion to our pets too.
And of course, any time you eat something that your dog finds new and unfamiliar, they’re sure to be curious about what you’re eating – and whether it’s something they’d like.
However, lots of conscientious pet owners realise that what we can eat doesn’t always match what dogs can eat, and vice versa.
What’s more, some surprising fruits and vegetables, such as grapes an garlic, actually pose serious health risks to dogs, because they are toxic.
Luckily, pineapple is not toxic to dogs – and they are safe for dogs to eat, providing you and your dog are sensible about it.
Fresh pineapple is very distinctive in look, texture and flavour. The strong aromas of pineapple will prove very enticing for your pet, and luckily that is backed up by lots of goodness packed into pineapples that will help them stay healthy, active and alert.
Pineapples contain numerous vitamins, as well as trace elements of iron and zinc, that can help to boost your dog’s mental sharpness, immune system and overall energy levels.
It can be a superb treat for those dog owners who are looking to make sure that their pets recover fast from being under the weather – or just want to prevent particularly sensitive dogs from falling ill so often in the first place.
While it won’t replace a health regimen, and certainly not a healthy and balanced diet, pineapple fed to dogs can certainly complement it.
Similarly, the sweet taste and overall appeal of a pineapple chunk or two can make it a far healthier reward for good behaviour and training than a lot of other alternatives.
Come the summertime, thoughts often turn to making sure that your dog is beating the heat in the best way possible. This is so often a challenge for even the most dedicated dog owner.
Pineapples pieces, when frozen, can really help here though. Your dog will love such a cool and sweet snack after a few hours of running around the park under the hot afternoon sun.
Dangers of pineapple for dogs
For all their many benefits, pineapples also hold some dangers for dogs that need to be kept in mind. One of those relates to ensuring that feeding your dog pineapple is done in moderation.
Had humankind never domesticated dogs, our beloved pets would have never thought to try eating pineapples in the wild.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that, even after centuries of domestication and friendship, dogs have digestive systems that aren’t so well adjusted towards fruits, vegetables and plant-based food.
Two of the biggest dangers of dogs eating pineapples come from both the external rind of the fruit, and the tougher central stem of it too.
Both of these might be seen by a plucky pooch as a fun challenge to sink their teeth into, but neither comes advised.
There’s next to no nutritional value in the rind or stem, or even the prickly leaves, of a pineapple.
After all, you or I wouldn’t eat them, so dogs should be no different. The toughness of these components of the pineapple also make them very high in choking potential.
However, even ordinary diced pineapple chunks can pose this risk too. Whenever introducing a new kind of food to your dog, it’s wisest to do it from your hand, to give your pet the chance to sniff and taste something new.
However, this also means you’re close at hand if your pet tries to gulp something down too fast.
If your dog gets an upset tummy from eating pineapple, it may be wisest to consider another treat for them.
Different kinds of dogs react differently to the challenges that come with digesting different kinds of fruits, and it may be that your dog just isn’t up to the task.
More than all of this though, it’s important to only stick to feeding fresh pineapple pieces to your dog.
While tinned pineapple is definitely a convenient option, the syrup in which these chunks get stored in the can is incredibly rich in sugar, and even artificial sweeteners that can prove toxic to dogs.
How much pineapple can a dog eat daily?
Pineapples probably shouldn’t form a massive component of your dog’s diet – too many of any fruit leads to an upset canine stomach, and despite the high vitamin B6 and Vitamin C content of pineapples, they can’t replace the nutritional value of a dedicated dog dinner.
However, as a supplement, you’ll find that one or two little chunks of pineapple for small dogs and no more than five pieces for larger breeds per day, mixed in with food or served as treats, can help to boost immunity and energy levels. Bright eyes and a shiny coat are sure to follow.
Of course, if you are using pineapple as a treat for your dog, exercising moderation is even more key.
A dog who adopts an outlook of having every little action that he or she takes rewarded is sure to become spoilt!
What to do if your dog eats pineapple
Even the most well-behaved dogs sometimes just can’t help themselves when temptation comes calling – it seems we aren’t so different from our canine companions after all in that respect.
Dogs have a remarkable talent for getting to places they shouldn’t, especially if treats they shouldn’t be trying to eat can be found there.
Dogs who have eaten pineapples before are more likely to try and get to them again, and this can cause problems if they are sinking their teeth into a whole one.
Dogs who get frustrated with the tough outer skin of a pineapple might start gnashing at it and tossing it around like a ball, and that can really put your home in danger of breakages and accidents!
If your dog is gorging on pineapple, it’s best to interrupt the action as soon as you become aware of it and let the pooch know this behaviour won’t be tolerated.
Similarly, you’ll want to identify quickly whether or not your dog has come to be at risk of choking or the like through this naughtiness.
Dogs tend to gulp down food they shouldn’t have faster when they know they’ve been caught or are about to be caught, so being firm but calm will help prevent your dog gulping down too much pineapple flesh at once and risking choking.
However, if your dog has instead somehow got his or her jowls around some canned pineapple chunks, you must first ascertain if those have used the artificial sweetener xylitol in their sauce or syrup.
That sweetener is very toxic for dogs, and if you feel your pet has consumed some, definitely consider the help of a vet here.
Overall though, your dog is unlikely to suffer much more than an upset tummy and a lesson well learned if sneaking pineapple pieces.
Make sure you reinforce not to do this again, and you can avoid more serious incidents from cropping up in the future.
This isn’t an issue for vet intervention unless you have cause to believe your dog has eaten the toxic sweetener, xylitol, or you have noticed that he or she is showing signs of blocked airways or digestion.
While it’s pretty high in naturally occurring sugars – meaning it’s not a good idea to be a very regular treat or meal supplement over the long term – pineapples contain enough vitamins and minerals to be valuable parts of your dog’s diet.
The strong smell and flavour of pineapple is likely to make is a solid favourite snack for your pet, and it will help them with health and vitality thanks to a host of vitamins and minerals.
Pineapples are best served to dogs fresh and in chunks, whereas those pineapples found in cans mixed with syrup are too high in sugar content to be of any value, health wise.
Dogs who eat the outer skin of the pineapple, or the core of one, are more likely to develop complications from blocked airways or digestive tracts.
This is why it’s best to stick to pieces you’ve prepared for your pet yourself.