Can Dogs Eat Apricots?
Written by: Dr. Merliza Cabriles, DVM
There are many misconceptions about the types of fruits dogs can eat. Some pet parents feel that dogs should not be given any fruit, and then there are others who feel that a little bit of fruit is good for the dog’s health. The truth lies somewhere in between. Unlike humans, dogs are not able to digest all types of fruits and thus, giving the wrong fruit can lead to poor health and in some cases, even death.
Dogs are carnivores, and as such there is no need to feed them fruits or vegetables as part of their regular diet. However, an occasional fruit, every now and then, is safe and can be an additional source of vitamins and dietary fiber. BUT there are some fruits that a dog should not be given under any circumstances.
Apricots and dogs
Over the years, vets have reported cases of cyanide poisoning in dogs that consumed apricots (Prunus armeniaca).
Apricots are rich in many nutrients and vitamins and they provide good nourishment. However, the problem with apricots and dogs is that the seed, leaves, pit, and stems of the apricot plant all contain cyanide which is a highly toxic substance.
Symptoms of apricot poisoning in dogs
Signs of toxicity can be manifested as early as 15 minutes after a dog eats the apricot seed/pit. Typical signs of cyanide poisoning include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Bright red gums and mucous membranes
- Lethargy and fatigue
What to do if your dog displays symptoms of poisoning
If your dog has eaten apricot seeds and develops the above signs, then you must immediately take your pet to the vet.
The treatment of cyanide poisoning requires intravenous hydration, oxygen, and administering an antidote to reverse the toxic effects of cyanide. Sometimes the dog may have to be placed on a breathing machine for several days until the cyanide has been eliminated from the body. The prognosis,f depends on the amount of apricot seed or pit ingested. If only a small amount was ingested, the recovery is good but if the dog is in shock and the treatment is delayed, then death rates can be high.
What about other apricot products and dogs?
One question that is commonly asked is “can dogs eat dried apricots or apricot jam?”
Dried apricots contain considerable amounts of potassium, a nutrient that is often in short supply in many pet food products, and beta carotene. In general, dried apricots are safe but they are often too chewy for the dog. Dogs tend to gulp down food, and dried apricots may cause stomach upset or even blockage. So unless you cut the dried apricot into very small pieces, it is best to avoid them.
Dogs love sweet things and apricot jam is fine, as long as you give it in small amounts. Remember, all jams have high sugar content and you do not want your dog to become obese or develop diabetes.
One should understand that the apricot fruit itself is safe but the seed and the pits should never be given to any dog. If you wish to give your dog apricots, remove the seed and pit. Further, do not give more than one slice of apricot— dogs that ingest too many apricots can develop stomach upset and diarrhea.
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