Updated - Jun 12th, 2021
Who doesn’t love a juicy pear once in a while? A sweet and crispy pear is the perfect summer treat for us humans. But have you wondered if this sweet fruit is good for your dog too? The answer is yes; it is! Filled with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, this fruit—including the peel—is a healthy snack when your canine companion is asking for a bite.
Let’s take a deeper look at the pear and the health benefits it offers your pup.
Health Benefits of Pears
Just like most fruits, pears come with an abundance of health benefits for your dog. Vitamins C, A, and K combine with Potassium and copper to give your pup a powerful health boost. Low in calories, they make a great snack that won’t pack on the pounds if fed in moderation.
Let’s see what those benefits actually do inside your dog’s body.
Vitamin A: Good for sharp vision, skin health, and wound healing.
Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that seeks the free radicals that damage cells due to stress, disease, aging, and environmental toxins.
Folate: Also known as folic acid. It’s an essential mineral supporting normal metabolic functions like DNA synthesis and red blood cell production.
Copper: Known for boosting the immune system, cholesterol metabolism, and nerve function.
Potassium: Supports muscle contractions (Remember those horrible calf cramps? Potassium keeps them at bay), and heart function.
Antioxidants: Pears contain polyphenol antioxidants that decrease inflammation, reduce blood pressure, and aid in circulation. Surprisingly, the peel of the pear contains up to six times more polyphenols than the flesh of the pear.
Dietary Fiber: Fiber keeps everything in the digestive tract moving. Pears contain both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria in the gut, and associated with healthy aging and immunity.
Anthocyanins: Responsible for the beautiful red hue of some pears. It works to improve heart health, strengthen blood vessels, and may even reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lutein and zeaxanthin: Found in the skin or peel of the pear and supports sharp vision.
Here’s a rundown on the nutritional values in a medium-sized whole pear:
- Calories: 101
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 27 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Vitamin C: 12% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 6% of DV
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
- Copper: 16% of DV
Of course, along with all those benefits, there are some risks associated with giving your dog pears. There are only a few, but well worth mentioning.
Risks To Consider When Giving Your Dog Pears
Sugar: As with all fruits, the pear has natural sugars in it. Large amounts of sugar can cause an upset stomach. While there isn’t a lot, if your dog has diabetes, you should check with your vet before you offer any.
Sugar also brings the risk of obesity. A dog struggling with obesity should only be offered very small portions, and only occasionally.
Choking Hazard: All foods can create choking hazards or an intestinal blockage if given whole. That’s why we always suggest you cut food into bite-sized cubes. Small dogs are especially prone to choking if the pieces are too large, but a large dog that gulps it whole can choke as well. And all dogs risk a blockage problem if the pieces are too large.
Cyanide: Dogs can’t eat the pear seeds, leaves, and stems of the pear because they contain traces of cyanide. The cyanide in the seeds gets released when they are cracked or crushed. Chewing the stem or leaves will also release cyanide in your dog’s digestive system. Since it’s just trace amounts, your dog would need to eat a few before the toxicity symptoms appear, but any amount can be dangerous if your dog is sensitive to it.
Canned pears: Canned pears can contain a high sugar content and should be avoided. Your dog doesn’t need sugar and too much can risk diabetes issues or obesity.
Unripe pears: Ripe pears have soft, juicy flesh; green or unripe pears are hard and difficult to chew. Your dog should only have ripe pears since the green or unripe pears can give them a big tummy ache. Unripe, or green pears, can create a choking hazard. And always remove the core before offering your dog a pear.
Now for some fun with pears!
Pears are very versatile and make excellent additions to many dog treats. You can also puree them and freeze the fruit for a tasty Pup Sorbet. Better yet, add some raspberries, melon, blueberries, or watermelon for an antioxidant, super-charged snack on a hot summer day.
Dogs love slurping up smoothies made with plain Greek yogurt and any fruit you can find like apples, peaches, strawberries, or cantaloupe. Veggies, cranberries, and pears make a great smoothie too.
A fresh slice of pear makes a tasty treat as well if given in small quantities.
There are a few yummy recipes for dog treats on the internet as well. Try these out:!
To avoid weight gain, follow the standard feeding guidelines. Your dog’s diet should be 90% healthy, nutritionally balanced dog food, and 10% treats.
So, if you wonder if these sweet treats are healthy for your dog, the answer is an absolute yes! Filled with loads of nutritional benefits, most dogs love their crunchy sweetness. And remember when feeding pears to your dog, it’s best to offer them in moderation. Cut them into small pieces, take out the seeds and core. And be sure to check with your veterinarian before offering them to overweight dogs or if your dog is diabetic.