Dogs can be the strangest eaters. One minute they are scarfing down an entire plate of spaghetti and the next they are turning their nose up at a grape.
For a species that has no qualms licking their privates in front of the company, they can be surprisingly reluctant to try certain human foods. Why does your dog hate fruit and what should you do about it?
Check out these tips and tricks for some insight.
Dogs have very different tastes to humans
It may come as a surprise, but dogs have very different tastes to humans. Dogs have a lot fewer taste buds than humans. Dogs have around 1,700 vs. humans who have 9,000 on average.
So while a dog can taste sweet they are unable to detect more intricate flavors and the burst of sweetness may not appeal to all canines.
Dogs are also sensitive to tastes that are not healthy for them and while it may not stop all dogs from eating food they shouldn’t, it may be why they won’t eat an offered treat.
Some fruit is dangerous for dogs to eat
Not all fruit is created equal. Although fruits are a great naturally sweetened treat for a human the same is not always true for a dog. There are fruits and vegetables that a dog cannot safely eat, including:
- Grapes – grapes are highly toxic to dogs and should be avoided at all costs. Grapes can cause sudden, immediate kidney failure which can prove fatal in a short amount of time.
- Avocado – avocados contain persin which is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting and diarrhea
- Cherries – Cherries contain cyanide. The fleshy part of the fruit does not contain enough cyanide to hurt a human but could prove dangerous to a dog.
- Tomatoes – green tomatoes contain the substance solanine. While a red tomato is usually safe for dogs, there can sometimes still be enough solanine present in a ripe tomato to cause harm.
Some other fruit is safe to feed a dog as long as the seeds are removed, such as apples. Apple seeds, like cherries, contain cyanide but in a much lower concentration.
Dogs are carnivores
Dogs are naturally carnivores and while it’s not dangerous to feed them some fruits and vegetables they do not need to eat plants for a healthy diet.
A dog’s diet should be rich in animal proteins. Dry and wet dog foods approved by vets are formulated to suit the dog’s required diet.
Feeding fruit as a snack or a treat is fine but don’t stress out if they aren’t interested. Some dogs might prefer to chew on rawhide or a bone instead of an apple.
Some vets might recommend feeding low-calorie vegetables such as green beans alongside pet food to encourage weight loss in overweight dogs but this practice shouldn’t be started without first consulting a vet.
Remove all seeds and peels before feeding most fruits
Apple and orange seeds can be toxic to dogs and can also get caught in their throat. An apple that has been removed from the core, sliced, and had seeds removed can be a delicious treat.
Ensure that fruit with tough or fibrous peels is removed. A dog’s teeth are not designed to chew up fibrous material effectively and a large piece of banana or orange peel can be a choking hazard.
Dogs probably won’t like salty or tart fruit
Dogs’ tongues are designed to detect certain tastes differently than humans. Also, dogs are especially sensitive to salty tastes because dogs have a natural salt heavy diet from eating animal protein.
Fruit that doesn’t taste particularly salty to humans but maybe to a dog includes cantaloupe. Another taste some dogs may avoid is tart or bitter. Bitter tastes are often associated with things that are dangerous to eat, so most dogs will avoid fruit like lemons, limes, and even oranges.
Why should a dog eat fruit?
If a dog is a carnivore, why should they eat fruit at all? Fruits are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are healthy for humans as well as dogs.
They can improve immune system health, eyesight, and the health of a dog’s coat. Some fruit can also help with digestive issues and reduce some types of inflammation.
Fruit can be a great low-calorie snack especially in senior dogs and dogs with weight issues. Most fruit will be lower in calories than dog treats.
Make sure to avoid overfeeding
The fruit is a great snack for a dog, but it’s important for a dog not to be overfed. Weight issues and obesity are common problems in dogs that are fed table scraps and given human food.
It’s important to monitor the food intake of a dog, both their normal pet food and any table scraps or treats they are offered. Fruit and vegetables can be offered as a treat or a snack, but shouldn’t be included as a substantial additional part of a dog’s diet.
A vet can provide information in regards to what a healthy diet looks like for a dog based on their breed, size, and weight.
Try a few different options
While it’s possible a dog might just not like fruit, there is a chance they don’t like the specific fruit they’re offered. If a dog doesn’t like apples it doesn’t mean they don’t like strawberries.
Trying a few different options might produce a snack that a dog does enjoy. A few snack ideas to get a dog to eat fruit might include apples with a little peanut butter or frozen pieces of pineapple for a refreshing summer treat.