There is nothing much better than a ripe, juicy fresh peach on a sweltering summer afternoon. Whether in a picnic basket or a lunch box, peaches make a wonderfully healthy sweet treat and offer some significant health advantages. Dogs are primarily carnivorous animals, and therefore do not need fruit in their diet. In general, allowing your pup to partake in a plump, sweet summertime treat is not harmful. There are some tips you might want to follow if you do decide to share your fruity bounty with your pet.
Treat your dog’s diet with respect and do not overindulge him with the sweet goodness of peaches. This norm applies to almost everything you would feed to your dog, but with peaches, in particular, moderating his intake is important for a number of dietary reasons. While peaches retain some healthy vitamins and minerals, too much peachy flesh could lead to gastrointestinal distress. Side effects of overconsumption could be loose stools, diarrhea, and increased lethargy. A good rule of thumb is, depending on the size of the dog, only feed him about one-quarter of a peach.
Keep the peach pit away from your dog. He will be excited at the prospect of a unique and special treat and will expect to devour the peach whole. A peach pit is an obvious hazard to your dog’s teeth, but it could also lead to more serious gastrointestinal problems, like a blocked intestine and inflammation of the intestinal system. Even more serious, the peach pit contains cyanide which, even in small doses, can be lethal to your dog. Prepare the peach as you would for a child: cut it open, remove the pit, and slice it into pieces your dog can easily chew and digest.
Swallowed Pit Symptoms
Observe your dog carefully if you forgot to remove the pit and you believe he swallowed it. If you are fairly certain the pit was swallowed, it is best to book an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Your dog could be in distress if he presents any of the following symptoms: shock, dizziness, dilated pupils, excessive drooling, or any difficulty breathing. These are symptoms of potentially very serious problems either with the intestinal tract or with the cyanide being processed in the dog’s liver. Do not try to force your dog to purge; instead, allow your vet to treat the dog properly.
Other Risk Factors
Keep peach branches, leaves, and waste away from your dog. Dogs are quite mischievous and curious animals and seek out food by smell. If you have a dog prone to rooting in the garbage, be careful to dispose of the pit immediately instead of leaving it in your home’s trash barrel. If you have a mulch pile outside for kitchen scraps, take care to keep pits and peach branches out of this pile as well. The branches and leaves on peach trees also contain high amounts of cyanide and need to be kept out of the dog’s reach.
Do not feed canned peaches to your dog. While naturally grown peaches are generally quite safe for him, canned peaches are processed food. You cannot control the production of these canned items, and therefore cannot know exactly what they contain. What is certain is that these products have excessive amounts of sweeteners and syrups, both of which can be harmful to your dog. Artificial sweeteners cannot be processed by your dog’s system and could lead to intestinal problems. Also, your dog does not need increased levels of sugar in his bloodstream as this could lead to obesity and diabetes.
Benefits of Peaches
Give your dog peach slices in moderation for the health benefits. In addition to Vitamins A and C, peaches contain natural minerals good for your dog’s coat and teeth. Peaches are chocked full of fiber, are low in calories, and contain natural fructose sugars which are easier for your dog to break down. Peaches have also shown results in fighting certain bacteria and can help boost your dog’s immune system, leaving him healthier and stronger in the face of intrusive infections. Furthermore, peaches can also help with kidney and liver function and boost the body’s ability to flush unwanted toxins.
Use peach slices in training. Whether you have a new puppy or a mature dog learning new tricks, the positive reinforcement technique is tried and true. Instead of flooding your dog’s system with milk bones and other savory treats, try incorporating peach slices into the routine to give your dog extra incentive to concentrate, memorize, and recall. If the dog knows that an especially tasty treat is the reward for a more difficult task, he will likely need fewer repetitions. Peaches can make training more fun and more efficient.
Keep your dog’s diet balanced according to the 90/10 rule, veterinary experts suggest. This means that 90 percent of his caloric intake should come exclusively from his regular dog food, and 10 percent of this intake can be alternative, healthy food and drink, usually reserved only for people. Peaches can fit into this equation, so long as they do not constitute the entire 10 percent component. This many peaches could lead to gastrointestinal distress.
Watch for allergic reactions when feeding peaches to your dog. You can prevent potential allergic reactions by doing a blood screening with your local veterinarian. Symptoms of an allergy to peaches can include: sneezing, swollen limbs or joints, coughing or hacking, and difficulty breathing. These could all suggest the onset of a more serious condition, anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction that poses threats to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Take your dog to the vet immediately if he presents these symptoms.
Cultivate your peaches off your property or purchase them at a supermarket. Peach trees can be aesthetically pleasing on a lawn, but they are dangerous for dogs. The bark, branches, leaves, and debris from the flowering fruit all contain toxic chemicals. Some cultivate peaches with pesticides to keep roving insects and birds away from the sweet fruit. These chemicals are also harmful to your dog.