Every dog owner finds themselves wanting to slip their dog a tasty treat from their plate now and then. Or perhaps their dog finds some food on the ground, like pears under a tree. Surely if it's a healthy choice, like fresh fruits and vegetables, no harm can be done - right? But as a dog owner, you may wonder can dogs eat pears? Are pears safe for dogs? Are pears good for dogs? How much can my dog eat?
Below, we'll tell you all you need to know about if it's safe for dogs to eat pears, how to go about feeding pears to your dog, and how much pear dogs can eat before running into issues.
Can Dogs Eat Pears?
In moderation, yes - it is safe for most dogs to eat pears. Pears can make a delicious healthy snack. While dogs are carnivores and do not need pears, or any other fruits, to have a balanced diet, small bites of ripe pears can serve as an occasional treat.
Keep in mind that treats, even healthy ones like pears, should never make up more than 10% of your dog's daily calorie allowance. Small dogs, in particular, require fewer calories than you might suspect, and it would be very easy to overfeed your dog pears.
Health Benefits Of Eating Pears
Pears offer many health benefits to humans, and dogs can also enjoy some of these. However, remember that a dog's diet does not require pears, and they can achieve any of these nutritional benefits through other means.
Pears are a good source of vitamin C. For humans, this vitamin plays a powerful role in supporting a healthy immune system. For dogs, their immune system does not require as much vitamin C.
Pears contain many different minerals which dogs can benefit from, such as potassium, copper, zeaxanthin, and anthocyanins lutein. These support wellness all over the body, particularly in the eyes.
Wait, sugar is listed as a benefit? Yes! The sugars found in pears are released slowly into the bloodstream. This means that, compared to many fruits, pears won't cause a blood sugar spike. And this makes fresh pear a good choice for diabetic dogs.
Fiber is key for optimal digestion and gut health, and pears are full of dietary fiber. Fiber helps keep the digestive tract regular, firms up bowel movements and supports good bacteria within the stomach and intestines.
Pears contain many polyphenol antioxidants. This helps reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation throughout the body, and increase blood circulation. They're great for combating heart disease! Most of these antioxidants are found in the pear's peel.
The Downside Of Dogs Eating Pears
While pears are typically safe for dogs, there are some instances where they should be avoided.
Dogs are not the best at chewing. In the wild, dogs would rip bites of meat and swallow it without chewing it much at all. This is why most dog food is formulated as a kibble so that if a dog swallows it without chewing, it won't block its airways or esophagus.
Never feed a whole, fresh pear to a dog. While they will likely chew it somewhat, a chunk will likely get stuck in their throat. Instead, cut the juicy pear into bite-sized pieces. What constitutes "bite-sized" will scale with the size of your dog.
When feeding pears to your canine companion, it is crucial that you cut away the pear core to remove all pear seeds.
Pear seeds and core contain trace amounts of amygdalin, which can be toxic when metabolized. The same is true of apple cores and apple seeds.
This chemical compound, when ingested, releases cyanide throughout the body and can lead to cyanide poisoning.
Each seed only contains a small amount of this cyanide-producing compound. A dog would have to eat multiple pear's worths of seeds to be affected. However, this sometimes happens, particularly if they eat fallen pears under a pear tree, and cyanide poisoning can be fatal.
As mentioned above, pears themselves have a slow-absorbing sugar molecule. However, canned pears are often packaged with syrups and juices, which significantly increases the amount of sugar soaked into the pear and makes canned pears contain too much sugar for your dog.
A dog's diet is high in sugar can lead to dental issues, irritate your dog's digestive tracts, and lead to diabetes and obesity.
Overweight dogs should stick to an approved diet. Pears may have health benefits, but if your dog needs to lose weight, it's best to avoid all human treats. Even healthy snacks can derail a strictly controlled diet and lead to weight gain.
Some dogs experience stomach upset easily, especially with most fruits. A dog's diet typically does not contain sugar, so although pears have a diabetic-friendly type of sugar, it can still cause upset stomachs in dogs.
If you have a dog with a sensitive stomach or prone to an upset stomach, it's best not to feed them pears or consult with your veterinarian first.
What Is The Best Way To Feed Pears To Dogs
If you'd like to feed a pear occasionally to your dog, choose a fresh pear. Keep the skin on - remember, that's where the antioxidants are! - are carefully cut out the core.
Dice the pear into bite-sized pieces, and offer your dog pear in small pieces and quantities. Don't feed your pet the whole pear at once! With any new treats, it's best to offer a bite and wait a day to see how your dog's body reacts.
Frozen pears are a particularly tasty treat on hot days, and the juicy flesh is very hydrating! However, it's even more important that you cut the pear into small pieces if you're going to chill them before offering them to your dog.
Some dogs love slurping up smoothies. Blend some peaches with plain Greek yogurt and make a smoothie.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Pears Can My Dog Eat?
Like any other treats, Pears should only be given as a treat, and a dog's daily treat shouldn't make up more than 10% of its calorie allowance.
If you need further advice or if your dog has underlying health conditions, it's best to speak with your veterinarian first to determine if pears are safe for your dog to eat.
Can Dogs Eat Canned Pears?
Canned pears should be avoided. While fresh pears have a high level of natural sugars, they are absorbed into the bloodstream slowly. Canned pears, however, are often canned with syrups or juices, and this liquid soaks into the pear and greatly increases the amount of sugar in them.
Can Dogs Eat Under Ripe or Overripe Pears?
They can, but be watchful. Underripe pears are firmer and harder to chew, increasing the chance of your dog choking on them. Overripe pears start to ferment, and dogs are more sensitive to the alcohol content of fermented sugars and could quickly have alcohol poisoning.
Do Dogs Like Pears?
Not all dogs like fruits. Therefore, don't be surprised if your dog isn't interested in taking a piece.