Pineapple is a sweet, tropical fruit that reminds us of being on the beach and soaking up the summertime rays. It can be used as a garnish in cocktails, cooked with certain meat, or eaten on its own as a juicy, delicious snack. It is high in essential vitamins and minerals and can boost immune activity. But is it safe for dogs? In general, dogs can eat pineapple and enjoy the sweet, fiber-rich treat as well so long as a few simple tips are followed. So, usher in the summer with a sweet treat for both you and your dog.1
Feed your dog pineapple chunks as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Pineapples are rich in a variety of minerals and vitamins, including Vitamins C and B6, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. It also has manganese, copper, and potassium, which helps to reduce inflammation and prevent muscle cramps. While most higher-end dog food will contain similar vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, these components can be more effective in naturally occurring foods.2
Improve your dog’s digestive and gastrointestinal with fiber-rich pineapple. Studies have shown the beneficial effects of adding fiber to a domestic dog’s diet. While fiber itself has no nutritional content, it does help to slow the speed at which food is processed in the system, thereby leaving ample time for the nutrients in your dog’s diet to be absorbed properly. Additionally, it can slow peristalsis, which can aid in preventing or stopping loose stools or diarrhea.3
Keep an eye on your dog’s consumption of naturally occurring sugars. This includes the fructose sugar found in pineapple. While it is naturally occurring, and thus better than feeding your dog processed treats with sugar, it could still have a negative effect when consumed in abundance. Dog diets with excessive glucose can lead to more serious conditions like cardiovascular difficulty, obesity, and diabetes. Maintain a balanced dog diet that includes regular dog food for the most part, and occasionally includes treats like pineapple on special occasions.4
Follow the veterinarian recommended 90/10 rule when feeding any treats to your dog, including pineapple. This rule states that 90 percent of your dog’s caloric intake should come from regular, balanced dog food, and 10 percent come from other sources, like treats, fruits, vegetables, and rawhide bones. This ratio ensures that your dog receives the proper nutrition, based on his needs as a carnivorous species. But it also allows your dog to partake in the joy of being a domestic dog. Remember that this 10 percent should not come from one source only, but rather from a variety of healthier alternatives.5
Feed your dog only raw, naturally occurring pineapple. This means you should avoid feeding your dog any form of processed pineapple, including canned pineapple. Canned foods come with preservatives, sugars, and other chemicals that help to maintain the edibility of the food. These additives are usually unhealthy for your dog. The extra sugar is particularly unhealthy, as dog’s digestive systems are not designed to process excessive amounts of glucose. This, of course, applies to pineapple-flavored candies and other sweet treats that have lots of sugar. The small amount of fructose in pineapple is enough for your dog to get the sweet reward.6
Preparing Pineapple for Dogs
Cut the pineapple carefully before feeding it to your dog. Cut the top and tail off of the pineapple, and stand the remaining fruit up. Slice down the sides of the pineapple just under the skin, removing the rough, inedible part. Make sure to get all the spiny patches off. Cut in half vertically. Using your knife at a 45 degree, make cuts into the center of the pineapple to remove the core, which is tough and should be composted. Once you have the sweet flesh cored and skinned, cut into small chunks for your dog.7
Observe your dog after eating pineapple. While pineapple is generally a safe food item, when ingested in moderation, there are some potential side effects. As pineapple does have considerable fiber, your dog could experience constipation. The slowing of digestion, as a result of fiber moving through his system, can lead to blockages. Make a note of hyperactivity. The sugar spike your dog receives from pineapple is normally perfectly healthy, but if you notice major changes in behavior, you will want to limit his intake of fructose.8
Do not feed your dog excessive amounts of pineapple in an attempt to eliminate the phenomenon of coprophagia. This is an unpleasant yet common activity in many dogs and involves them eating their feces. The cause of this problem is not entirely known, but it is quite common across canine species and may have to do with behavioral evolution. Some believe that pineapple makes dog feces smell inedible, but veterinarians agree that this is false. Instead, the only real preventative method you can take is to clean up after your dog immediately. Overly supplementing his diet with pineapple will likely only increase his risk of other side effects.9
Pineapple Dog Treats
Experiment with other forms of pineapple treats. Raw pineapple on its own will likely be a lovely little surprise for your dog, but you can also get creative and try making your own pineapple-inspired dog treats. Some good combinations that work well include: pineapple and molasses, pineapple and sweet potatoes and pineapple and oats. Try different combinations and even taste them yourself before giving them to your dog. Your dog will surely let you know when you have discovered a winning mixture.
Enhance your dog’s ability to absorb proteins by supplementing his diet. Pineapple has naturally occurring bromelain, which is a combination enzyme that has shown to be effective in reducing certain forms of cancer. It also can help reduce inflammation and counteract the effects of aching, arthritic joints. Remember that these enzymes are lost in the canning process, so stick with the raw fruit flesh to achieve these benefits.