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Food & Diet

Not So Pumped About Plum

At A Glance

Plums are all things nice. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. But are plums good for dogs? That’s a hard one to answer. The flesh of a plum is harmless, but other parts of the fruit, especially the pit, contain amygdalin which gets converted into hydrogen cyanide inside a dog’s body.

  • Plum poisoning can lead to severe muscle spasms, uncontrollable bowel movements, drooling, and vomiting. It can also prove to be fatal.
  • The pit of the fruit has a rough and uneven surface and can cause internal injuries if it gets stuck in the GI tract of dogs.

Last Updated on: February 2, 2023

 

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to including plums in your dog’s diet. Plums may be delicious and lend themselves very well to decadent desserts, but their biochemistry makes them a controversial dietary choice for dogs.

So, can dogs eat plums?

I’d err on the side of caution and say no.

Here’s why.

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Plums Are Not Entirely Safe for Dogs

Strictly speaking, the fruit’s juicy flesh is safe for canine consumption. Packed with nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, Vitamins A, K, and C, and carbohydrates, it can offer significant dietary benefits to dogs.

So why the red flag?

Because all the other parts of the fruit are not fit for canine consumption for the following reasons.

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Plums Can Cause Toxicity

Plums belong to the Rosaceae species, known for its high concentration of amygdalin. Therefore these stone fruits, too, have lots of amygdalin in their pits (up to 17.5 mg/g), stems, and even foliage.

Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glucoside that, when ingested, is hydrolyzed into cyanide in the small intestine. And cyanide can be severely toxic to dogs.

That’s why the entire plant poses a threat to your dog’s well-being and why I prefer to not share plums with Cofi despite the guilt trips he tries sending me on.

One could argue that I can easily deseed the fruit and feed him the flesh. But why should I risk it with plums when there are other dog-safe fruits he can snack on? That’s me being extra cautious, you might say, but I’d rather not take the chance.

Caution: There are at least 40 different varieties of plums known to us, which come in tempting colors, including red, purple, black, green, and yellow. These gorgeous colors may even catch your pet’s eye. Unfortunately, none of them are entirely safe for canine consumption.

As Dr. Linda, a UK-based veterinary surgeon, explains, “Plums are one of several fruits that contain hydrogen cyanide, which is extremely toxic to dogs if eaten. If your dog is suffering from plum poisoning, you will likely notice vomiting, tremors, difficulty breathing, and it can be fatal within an hour if not treated right away.”

The Pits Are A Choking Hazard

US-based Veterinarian Dr. Susan Konecny says, “The main issue with dogs and plums revolves mostly around the ingestion of the pit. The pits can be sharp, which means they could damage the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Also, if the pit is crushed, it can release cyanide, which is toxic to dogs.”

Plums are stone fruits, meaning they have a massive pit inside them. Not only does the pit contain a high amount of amygdalin, but it is also large enough to get stuck in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

While one plum seed will not put your dog in danger, it can still choke your pet and cause breathing difficulties. Not just that, plum pits are coarse and have rough edges. If your dog mistakenly swallows one, it can suffer from internal cuts and bruises.

Plum pits can lead to dental injuries too.

The Fruit is High in Sugar and Carbs

Although nutrient-dense, plum flesh also contains a large amount of carbohydrates and sugars. Even if you allow your dog to snack on it at times, eating too much can lead to:

  • Sudden weight gain
  • Spike in blood sugar levels
  • Diarrhea

That’s why plums are a big no-no for dogs, especially the small breeds and obese ones. Plum flesh can do them way more harm than good.

To avoid any such mishap, it’s best to keep your pet away from plums.

Plum Poisoning In Dogs

Dogs will be dogs and get themselves into unforeseen situations. If such an incident should involve accidentally eating plums, you must be wondering how much plum is toxic to dogs.

Approximately ~2 mg of cyanide per kilogram of your dog’s body weight is enough to cause acute poisoning. On average, one plum pit weighing 10g contains up to 9 mg of cyanide. So, it can cause poisoning in puppies and small dog breeds that weigh below 5 kg. But medium to larger breeds will not be affected by just one pit.

In addition to amygdalin, plums also contain other toxins like cyanogens and prunasin. None of these toxins agree with a dog’s digestive system.

Symptoms

Cyanide poisoning leads to immediate asphyxiation in the body cells of dogs. Telltale signs of plum poisoning include:

  • Difficulty in breathing accompanied by intense wheezing and heavy panting
  • Reddening of the tongue, gums, and mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Body tremors and disorientation
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Dizziness, confusion, fainting
  • Sudden respiratory collapse

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, rush it to a vet immediately. When not treated on time, plum poisoning can be fatal. In case your vet advises you to make your dog throw up as an immediate counteractive measure, follow these steps.

Caution: Although plum poisoning is bad for all dogs, it can affect some more than others. Dogs with liver diseases are usually more susceptible to toxins – their body cannot expel the poison as efficiently as healthy dogs can.

So, what to do if your dog eats a plum pit or any harmful part of the fruit?

Rush to the vet without further ado, because you may have less than 2 hours to save your dog after clinical signs of poisoning start showing.

Diagnosis

Once you’re at the vet’s, they will thoroughly analyze your dog’s stomach contents and may even ask for the food sample that led to the poisoning. If the tests confirm cyanide toxicity, they will start with the treatment immediately.

You may be required to share your dog’s medical history, including food allergies and chronic medical conditions with the vet.

Treatment

The most effective antidote to cyanide in animals is Hydroxocobalamin. When supplemented with a consistent supply of 100% oxygen, it can successfully negate the effects of cyanide poisoning.

However, the most commonly used treatment includes an intravenous (IV) shot of sodium nitrite or sodium thiosulphate. Both are equally effective in neutralizing the effect of cyanide in dogs.

Amyl nitrite can also treat plum toxicity in dogs and can be administered either through inhalation or IV.

No matter which mode of treatment your vet chooses, your pet may require to be hospitalized for 24 hours so it can be under careful observation. Your dog will also need to be administered fluids and oxygen during its recovery period.

Apart from toxicity, plum pits can also cause blockage in your dog’s GI tract. In some cases, the vet may suggest surgical removal of the pit or its parts before releasing your four-legged friend.

Recovery

When treated on time, dogs can recover from plum poisoning. So do not delay treatment under any circumstances. Let the vet handle the case. Your dog may end up spending a fair few days at the hospital, so be prepared for the expenses.

I recommend investing in good dog insurance that can cover the cost of treatment. You can refer to this dog insurance buying guide to understand what each provider offers and which suits your requirements the best.

Plums for Dogs: Yay or Nay?

So, are plums ok for dogs to eat?

While I agree that some of the flesh from a de-seeded and deskinned fruit can be given to dogs occasionally, I prefer not to give any to Cofi. Dogs don’t need fruits to meet their nutritional requirements. Most of what they need should come from animal sources.

Fruits and vegetables should only be given as occasional treats. Since there are many fruits, like mangoes, watermelon, etc., that are safe for them, why give them plums?

It is always better to be safe than sorry because plum poisoning is no joke. Neither you nor your dog needs to bear the trauma of experiencing such a medical emergency.

dog with plums

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens If My Dog Eats Plums?

Although rich in nutrients, plums also contain toxins like amygdalin, prunasin, and cyanogens. These toxins are hydrolyzed into cyanide inside a dog’s small intestine and can lead to plum poisoning when eaten in bulk.

The pit, too, can be dangerous and cause GI tract obstruction.

Can Dogs Eat Plums Without the Pit?

Plum flesh is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. But it also contains a whole lot of carbs and sugar. While dogs can eat plum flesh in moderation, too much can be detrimental to their health.

Diabetic and obese dogs are especially at risk here. That’s why it is best not to give plums to dogs.

How Many Plums Are Toxic to Dogs?

That depends on the size of the dog and its underlying health conditions. While one plum pit won’t harm medium to large-sized dogs, it can cause toxicity in pups and pooches that weigh under 5 kg.

Leave it off your dog’s daily menu and include other dog-safe fruits in its diet instead.

Can Dogs Eat Plums and Peaches?

While the flesh of both fruits is safe for dogs, most vets recommend that you keep your pet away from plums. This is because the toxic biochemical compounds found in most parts of the plant can cause cyanide poisoning in dogs.

However, when given in moderation, bite-sized pieces of peaches are safe for dogs.

Should I Induce Vomiting If My Dog Eats a Plum?

Unless advised by experts, you should not induce vomiting. Rush your dog to a vet instead.

Cyanide poisoning sets in fast and can even be fatal if not treated promptly. So let the experts take care of this, and don’t try home hacks.

Can Dogs Have Plum Juice and Plum Jam?

It is not advisable to give your dog store-bought juices or jams in any flavor, including plums. Supermarket products may be safe for human consumption, but these contain a lot of sugar or sweeteners like xylitol.

In addition, most have preservatives, synthetic colors, etc., none of which are safe for your dog.

Are Plum Trees Poisonous to Dogs?

Yes, very much so.

All parts of a plum tree, with the exclusion of the flesh of the fruit, contain amygdalin, besides other toxins.

Even if your dog accidentally chews on some part of it, it still stands the chance of getting plum poisoning. Keep an eye out for plum trees whenever you’re outdoors with your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Prunes (Dried Plums)?

It is best to avoid feeding prunes to your dog. Prunes contain the same nutrients and fiber as plums but in concentrated amounts. While the excess fiber in the fruit can cause diarrhea in dogs, the high sugar content also isn’t good for their health.

While nibbling on a prune may not do your dog any harm, it’s best to keep the fruit away from it.

 

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.


Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.