Updated - Mar 4th, 2021
Ah, the peach! It’s a beautiful fruit with a heavenly smell. We use it in fruit salads, eat their juicy slices, and add their flavor to ice creams and yogurts to name just a few of their tasty uses. We love their sweetness during the summer months, but are you wondering if they’re good for our dogs?
Yes, they are! Feeding your dog peaches in moderation is an excellent snack choice. Let’s look at the peach and see why.
The peach tree is a fruit tree from the Rose family or Rosaceae. Its botanical name is Prunus Persica and considered a stone fruit like cherries, plums, and apricots.
The peach offers many nutritious benefits for humans. This juicy fruit contains Vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
These are all good things when considering human food, but do these benefit our dogs? And do any risks outweigh the benefits when considering them as a treat for our furry friends?
Let’s find out!
Health benefits of the peach and a few drawbacks
One cup of a peach contains 60 calories. With only 5% fats, 8% proteins, and many vitamins and minerals important for our dog’s health, it would seem this tasty fruit would benefit our pups, right? The answer is yes, it does. But it also contains a sizeable amount of sugar, coming in at 13 grams per one-cup serving.
But let’s look at the benefits first.
- Vitamin A: This fat-soluble vitamin supports your dog’s immune response, bone growth, reproductive system, and healthy vision.
- Vitamin C: This powerful antioxidant searches out and destroys free-radical molecules that can damage cells. It also supports the immune system by reducing inflammation, fighting some cancers, and reducing cognitive aging.
- Vitamin E: This is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it binds to fats in your dog’s system. It’s beneficial for healthy skin and coat and offers benefits for dogs with dry or itchy skin and ear infections.
- Magnesium: This micro-mineral supports the metabolizing of proteins and fatty acids. It also supports energy production and the role of ligament and bone maintenance.
- Vitamin K: Dogs need this vitamin to aid in blood clotting and coagulation.
- Calcium, and phosphorus: These are present in trace amounts in a peach. They’re beneficial in bone growth and integrity and support immune system function.
- Antioxidants: These protect against free-radical cell damage, help prevent some cancers, and promote healthy aging processes.
- Dietary fiber: Fiber efficiently moves food along through a dog’s digestive system and improves stool quality. It’s also believed to support sugar levels in the blood and add an extended feeling of fullness for dogs that are overweight.
Sounds like the peach is a healthy addition to your dog’s treat menu right? But there are some drawbacks, so let’s check those out.
- Natural Sugars: One cup of peach contains 13 grams of sugar or 60 calories. They’re high in carbohydrates at 87% in a single peach. Carbohydrates turn to sugar in your dog’s body to produce energy. This can be harmful if your pup is diabetic or overweight.
Dogs’ digestive systems can’t process that much sugar and can end up with gastrointestinal upsets or diarrhea if your dog eats large amounts of peach.
- Cyanide: Peaches, being a stone fruit, has large pits or stones. When cracked or chewed, and digested, these stones release Amygdalin that turns into hydrogen cyanide in the small intestines. This is very toxic to dogs and humans and would be a medical emergency.
Cyanide is also present in the leaves and stem of the peach. If you have a garden peach tree, don’t let your dog roam freely around it as they may possibly ingest some leaves or stems from fallen peaches or from the trees.
Signs of cyanide poisoning can come 15-20 minutes after ingestion. Symptoms to watch for are:
- Panting or hyperventilation
- Bright red gums
- Dilated pupils
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Convulsions or seizures
If you suspect your furry friend has eaten a peach pit or two, or its leaves and stems, contact your vet immediately or call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435 for immediate help. Your vet or the poison control staff may want you to induce vomiting to rid your dog of the cyanide quickly.
- The stones are the pits for your dog. Peach stones are large and very hard with rough, serrated edges. These can cause irritation to your dog’s esophagus doing down, and cause damage to your dog’s intestines. They are not digestible, so go completely through the digestive system intact.
For small dogs, the large pits can be deadly causing a choking hazard or serious blockage. Large dogs can also have these issues, with an intestinal blockage requiring surgery to remove.
Large dogs can crunch down on the hard pit and damage their teeth, as well as crack or crush it releasing the amygdalin. Smaller dogs probably won’t do anything more than damage their teeth, but an aggressive chewer could break the stone too.
- Pesticides: The skin of the peach can carry pesticides that may be harmful to your dog or cause a stomach upset or diarrhea.
While the skin of the peach is not toxic to your dog, it’s best to wash the peach thoroughly to remove any pesticides prior to feeding them to your pup. The skin can also be a choking hazard if given in large pieces, so be sure and cut it up into bite-size chunks, especially for small dogs.
- Allergic reactions: Just like any human food we give to dogs, there is a risk of allergic reactions. They aren’t common but do happen.
Signs of an allergy or intolerance would be:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Swelling around the mouth or face
- Breathing difficulties
If you observe any of these symptoms, stop feeding your dog the peach and talk to your veterinarian.
A serious peach allergy can bring anaphylactic shock. It can happen within minutes of ingestion and is an extreme emergency that can quickly cause death. Your dog needs to see a veterinarian immediately if the following symptoms are shown after eating a peach treat.
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shock – pale gums
- Offering a new food: Whenever you offer your dog a snack, remember the 10% rule: nutritionally balanced dog food makes up 90% of your dog’s daily diet or calorie intake. Treats should only comprise the remaining 10% of your dog’s diet. Therefore, it’s better to offer your pup healthy fruits and vegetables rather than the more calorie-dense commercial dog treats to avoid obesity.
Always talk to your vet prior to offering new food to your dog. There may be health issues that make a new food an unhealthy choice for your particular dog and the vet will know which fruits and veggies are safe.
Puppies are vulnerable to stomach or digestive upsets because their immune systems are still developing. Before you offer your puppy a new food, they should be fully weaned and well established on a balanced diet of commercial puppy food. Then only offer tiny bits of the new food and watch for any signs of an intolerance.
Those are all the precautions, and though they sound scary, remember they are not common. Preparing the peach correctly for your dog, and keeping any peaches out of the way of our sneaky snacker’s curious noses, will reduce most of these risks.
Safe ways to serve peaches to your dog and some tasty recipes!
Canned peaches can contain high amounts of sugar for your dog. It’s best to avoid them. Even the canned peaches preserved in their own juices aren’t good, since the juice is just concentrated fruit. It’s too much sugar and can cause a tummy ache or diarrhea.
Dried peaches are fine, as long as there aren’t added sugars, flavorings, or colors.
Nectarines are just smooth-skinned peaches and are fine for your dog. Follow the same precautions as regular peaches.
White peaches are less acidic and taste sweeter than yellow peaches because of the lower acidity. They contain the same nutrients and sugar as regular peaches so follow the same guidelines for them.
Syrups and peach flavored products are not healthy for your dog. They contain too much sugar, and preservatives, so avoid them.
How to serve peaches to your pooch
- Prepare the fresh peach by washing thoroughly to remove all pesticides.
- Cut the peach in half to remove the pit or stone
- You can remove the skin or leave it on, but slice the peach into bite-sized chunks or slices to avoid a choking risk.
- Offer the peach as is, or add some other tasty fruits and vegetables for a cool refreshing salad.
- Mix the peach and some fresh fruits with plain Greek yogurt and blend or puree it for a tasty pup smoothie. You can even freeze the mixture for some hydrating pupsicles!
Here are some tasty recipes containing peaches:
In conclusion, yes, feeding peaches to your dog is a healthy snack choice. But they should only be considered an occasional treat offered in moderation. If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes or is overweight, this may not be the best treat choice due to the high sugar content this fruit carries.
Keep peaches and peach trees well away from your tail-waggers. Offering small enough chunks in moderation, along with some tasty recipe ideas to make it fun, will have your pup eagerly sharing this summer fruit with you.