If there’s any pet that requires constant attention, it’s a dog. And what should you pay the closest attention to? His diet!
As you’re probably aware, dogs are quite happy to sniff out and chow down on anything and everything. Some dogs seem to be hungry all the time, whereas others are just curious about how something might taste. Often, our doggo will wolf down all sorts of things without you even noticing. Unfortunately, this means that he might end up eating something that isn’t good for him, or may even make him sick.
Of course, it’s not always your dog’s fault. Owners may also be guilty of feeding their precious companion a particular food that they think is okay, but it turns out to be harmful.
There are lots of foods out there that harbor nutritional benefits for both humans and dogs—some of which you can even eat together (on separate plates, of course!).
So, how do you know what human food dogs can or can't eat? One food group that often confuses dog owners is fruit. We all know that fruit is good for humans, but we also have the means of eating fruit properly. That is, we can peel the skin or take out the pits. Dogs can’t!
That said, there are a variety of fruits that are safe for dogs if they’re prepared properly. Let’s look at a very popular fruit that dogs can eat: pears.
Are pears safe for dogs to eat?
Yes, pears are safe for dogs—if the right precautions are taken before serving them up. Pears are a sweet fruit that grows on trees. They have a juicy flesh and a fibrous center. There are dozens of varieties of pear, all of which vary slightly in size, shape, and color.
Pears are a great source of essential antioxidants, plant compounds, and dietary fiber, which makes them good for both you and your dog. They’re also a yummy treat that makes for a healthy natural alternative to processed dog treats, which tend to contain artificial ingredients and added sugars.
The benefits of giving your dog pears:
- Packed with dietary fiber: Pears are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is great for your dog’s digestive health. Soluble fiber helps to nourish the healthy bacteria that reside in the gut, which is important for immune system function and healthy aging. Insoluble fiber works to keep your dog regular by softening and bulking up the stool.
- A dose of C: Pears contain a good amount of vitamin C, which is highly beneficial to your dog’s immune system function. Vitamin C also supports the formation of collagen, which is needed for healthy joints, skin, and fur.
- Rich in antioxidants: Red-skinned pears contain anthocyanins, which provide their color. These important compounds have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen blood vessels in humans, and further research in humans suggests that eating plenty of anthocyanin-rich foods helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- May reduce inflammation: The flavonoid antioxidants in pears are known to fight inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Pears are also packed with vitamins and minerals such as copper and vitamins C and K, which also harbor anti-inflammatory properties.
- Nutritious inside and out: The peel of a pear is also rich in nutrients. Research shows that pear peel contains an important antioxidant called quercetin, which is being investigated for its potential to help cardiovascular disease in humans. It’s also thought to benefit heart health by reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Can pears be bad for dogs?
Like any food—especially fruit—too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Pears may be healthy, but they’re also high in sugar. This can spell problems if a dog eats too many.
Canned pears are quite different from fresh pears because they contain even higher amounts of sugar. This not only adds empty calories to your dog’s diet which leads to unnecessary weight gain, it can also irritate the gastrointestinal tract. Avoid feeding pears to your dog if he has diabetes.
In fact, it’s best to keep pear intake minimal for any type of dog. The high fiber content of pears means that feeding too many to your dog at once could lead to an upset tummy, or at least cause diarrhea and gas.
It’s also important to note that the seeds of both pears and apples contain traces of cyanide. Although an animal would have to eat a lot of seeds to actually end up with cyanide poisoning, it’s best to avoid the risk!
The best way to prepare pears for dogs
If you want to give your dog pears as part of his diet, great—but here’s how to do it safely.
Try to avoid giving your dog a whole pear. As mentioned above, the seeds aren’t particularly safe if chewed and eaten in large quantities. Worse, the core can be quite tough and may cause your dog to choke. After all, you’ve probably seen how quickly dogs can inhale their food!
The best pears to feed your dog are those that are fresh and ripe. Remove any stems, leaves, and seeds. Wash the pear if it’s been store-bought, as the peel may still have traces of pesticides or other contaminants. Be sure to cut the pear into bite-sized chunks and stand by while your dog eats them to see that he doesn’t choke.
Remember, pears are a treat, so moderation is key. Vets recommend keeping your dog’s treats to no more than 10 percent of his daily meal intake. If your dog is a small breed, he’ll need no more than a slice or two every now and then. A whole pear might be a bit much for a small tummy!
It is always a good idea to ask your veterinarian just whether pears are suitable for your particular dog.