The words ‘prunes’ and ‘plums’ usually appear side by side. Sometimes even interchangeably.
Now, prunes are basically dried plums. To manufacture prunes, plums are first dehydrated and then soaked in water before being pitted.
Prunes are typically eaten as a snack. But they can also be added to other foods as seasoning.
If you consume prunes regularly, you must have wondered at some point whether you can also share these fruits with pets like dogs. Well, this article shall offer more insights into prunes and dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Prunes?
Dogs can eat prunes. Prunes are loaded with important nutrients, including dietary fiber which can promote healthy digestion. The fruits also pack antioxidants that may protect your dog from chronic diseases.
But while dogs can eat prunes, these fruits may not be the best treat for your pooch. One argument against serving prunes to dogs is that the snacks tend to be worryingly high in carbohydrates and might throw your dog’s blood sugar levels out of balance. And the fact that prunes are dried means the fruits might promote dehydration in dogs.
So, due diligence is paramount before serving prunes to dogs.
The Good About Prunes for Dogs
1. Prunes May Aid Your Dog’s Digestion
Prunes are technically fruits. And as with most fruits, prunes are incredibly high in fiber.
Fiber can aid your dog’s digestion in many ways. For starters, the nutrient is noted for its ability to bulk up the stool. The process of adding bulk to stool is instrumental in regularizing bowel movements, thereby easing indigestion and constipation.
Fiber can also nourish your dog’s gut microbiome. These are the useful microorganisms, including bacteria and parasites, which inhabit your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown that keeping an animal’s gut microbiome healthy may offer protection from various chronic illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
In addition to fiber, prunes also contain sorbitol. Sorbitol is sugar alcohol noted for its natural laxative effects. The compound can serve as a natural remedy for constipation in dogs.
2. Prunes May Promote Weight Loss
The high fiber content in prunes is not only useful in aiding digestion. It might also help promote weight loss.
Fiber-rich foods are noted for their incredible filling effects. Mixing prunes into your dog’s food can help to control the portions the animal can down in a single meal. Ultimately, this could promote weight loss.
3. Prunes May Protect Your Dog’s Bones
Degenerative bone diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis are common in humans and canines alike. Fortunately, this is another area where your pooch may benefit immensely from consuming prunes.
Prunes have demonstrated remarkable efficacy against osteoporosis. The fruits can minimize the risks and even reverse the effects of bone wastage resulting from osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases.
4. Prunes May Lower Your Dog’s Blood Sugar
Prunes are reasonably high in carbs. That makes them an unwelcome treat if looking to regulate your dog’s blood sugar levels.
However, prunes aren’t known to cause substantial blood sugar spikes. That’s mainly due to their tendency to rev up adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is a hormone that aids blood sugar regulation.
The high fiber content in prunes may also inhibit blood sugar spikes. Note that much of the fiber move through your dog’s stomach undigested. In the process, it carries with it a substantial amount of carbs, preventing these sugars from getting absorbed into the bloodstream.
5. Prunes May Benefit Your Dog’s Heart Health
Not only do prunes have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. These fruits can also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The fact that these two are the biggest risk factors for heart disease explains why prunes can protect the health of your dog’s heart.
Prunes’ positive effects on your dog’s heart come from their high concentration of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
6. Prunes May Protect Your Dog From Chronic Illnesses
We’ve already mentioned heart disease and osteoporosis as some of the chronic medical conditions that prunes can help avert in dogs. But they’re not the only ones.
Prunes are packed with antioxidants like polyphenols. These compounds can cushion your dog from many other chronic diseases, including diabetes and inflammatory conditions like cancer.
The Bad About Prunes for Dogs
a) Prunes Are an Unhealthy Treat for Dehydrated Dogs
Prunes are dried plums. The process involved in manufacturing prunes deprives these fruits of all-important moisture.
Therefore, prunes may promote dehydration in dogs and even worsen the symptoms for already dehydrated dogs.
b) Prunes May Cause Diarrhea
Prunes are high in fiber, a nutrient known to ease indigestion and constipation. However, fiber may also produce a laxative effect and induce unnecessary diarrhea.
It’s worse considering that prunes are high in both fiber and sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that further enhances the fruits’ laxative effects.
c) Prunes May Predispose Your Dog to Diabetes
Plums, the fruits where prunes come from, may not cause a substantial rise in your dog’s blood sugar levels. Research has also shown that plums may ramp up the release of adiponectin, a hormone that keeps blood sugar in check.
However, the same may not always hold true for prunes. During the drying process, prunes may be coated with artificial sweeteners to enhance their flavors. Consuming these additives might predispose your dog to blood sugar-related diseases like diabetes.
d) Prunes May Be Nutritionally Deficient For Your Dog
Prunes tend to be high in carbohydrates than proteins and fat. Unfortunately, dogs require more proteins and a substantial amount of fats in their diets.
So, while prunes can still provide many nutrients, the fact that these snacks are low in protein makes them almost nutritionally useless for dogs.
The Ugly Side of Prunes for Dogs
Most of the above-listed adverse effects of prunes for dogs may not occur overnight. But depending on the quantities consumed, you can expect allergic reactions almost immediately. That’s especially if you’re feeding prunes to your pooch for the first time.
Symptoms of prune allergy in dogs can range from digestive disorders like vomiting and diarrhea to respiratory problems like coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. You may also expect symptoms like fever, labored breathing, hypersalivation, and fatigue.
Another serious problem with prunes relates to the pit. Although most prunes are typically pitted, some could still come with the pit intact.
Plum pits can present choking hazards and intestinal blockage, especially to small dogs. Besides, the pits normally contain small amounts of cyanide, a highly carcinogenic compound. If you must share prunes with your dog, consider pitted ones.
Prunes are safe for dogs to the extent that they do not contain any toxins (at least not to the levels that could cause immediate health concerns). These fruits may also offer numerous health and nutritional benefits to dogs.
However, prunes are only safe if fed to dogs as an infrequent treat. It’s also recommended to check the components of store-bought prunes and ensure all the ingredients are safe for canine consumption before sharing the product with your pooch. And should your dog display any adverse effects from eating prunes, remember to contact your vet immediately.