Fruit might not seem like the average dog’s snack of choice, but many dogs eat first and think later; particularly if they know they’re not supposed to have something.
Additionally, many dogs will eat anything they’re offered even if it is not something they’d really go for if left to their own devices, and when it comes to picking up food off the ground, some dogs are highly undiscerning!
Stone fruits like plums can be found growing all over the UK and are often covering the ground around said trees when ripe, and many of us eat such fruit at home year round, as well as fruits that aren’t grown here with ease but are very easy to pick up in the supermarket like nectarines, cherries and peaches.
Whilst the fruit itself of such things aren’t dangerous to dogs in and of itself – although if unripe, fermented, or eaten in bulk, it might well cause a serious digestive upset – what about the stones or pits?
Are fruit stones and pits safe for dogs if your dog eats a fruit with the stone and all, or gnaws on the stone? Read on to find out.
Not really; this is one of those things that while not of benefit to dogs, is theoretically low risk in terms of the problems that can occur, but a dog eating or chewing fruit stones should still be stopped from doing so because the risks are still there, and not every dog will be lucky.
Plums, cherries, nectarines and other stone fruits aren’t really the type of fruits dogs tend to like or be given, and so the chances are that a dog that is eating such fruit has discovered it under a tree (like a wild plum tree or one dropping fruit outside of the garden it is in) and they may eat several fruits as a result, including the stone; which comes with risks.
Next, we’ll look at why dogs shouldn’t be allowed to chew or swallow fruit stones.
First of all, fruit stones are hard (that’s why they’re called stones!) and chewing them can damage your dog’s teeth. If your dog’s teeth aren’t in great condition they run the risk of breaking or chipping teeth, and they will also wear the teeth’s surfaces as they’re too hard to be an appropriate chew for a dog of any size.
Fruit stones are also the sort of size that can pose a real choking risk to dogs; generally larger stones like those from nectarines or peaches, but even small cherry stones can lodge in a smaller dog’s oesophagus, which can cause an immediate obstruction and cause choking.
This is perhaps the most acute and immediate risk of a dog chewing fruit stones or eating pits, and would result in a frightening emergency situation that could potentially prove fatal for the dog.
If your dog eats fruit stones, which is highly likely if they eat the fruit itself, they can cause internal blockages anywhere in your dog’s digestive system. Remember too that a dog eating dropped or windfall fruit and realising that they have developed a taste for it is likely to eat any number of such fruit, greatly increasing the risk – and also meaning your dog’s stomach will be full of such stones, which can be hard to pass naturally.
Some fruit stones have pointed ends, like those in nectarines, and these can be sharp. Additionally, if your dog bites into a stone or chews it up, this can result in sharp shards of the stone being ingested, which might cause internal damage, which can be quite serious.
Even if your dog only chews the stones and doesn’t swallow them, those sharp shards can cut your dog’s lips and mouth, and even become lodged under the gum line, which will be painful and distressing for your dog.
Finally, the kernels of many fruit stones contain a small but measurable amount of naturally occurring cyanine, which you may be best familiar with as a poison generally only mentioned in murder mystery novels!
This means that ingesting fruit stones brings with it the theoretical risk of toxicity from ingesting the cyanine present in the kernels too. However, this is only really mentioned for the sake of completeness; a dog would have to eat such a large number of fruit stones that cyanide poisoning would probably be the least of their worries before any meaningful risk of toxicity actually arose.
That said though, this is also another reason why fruit stones should not be considered safe for dogs, and dogs should not be given them nor allowed to eat those that they find!