The simple answer: No, dogs really should not eat the sweet and juicy purple fruit. “I do not recommend feeding plums to dogs,” says Dr. Susan Konecny, RN, DVM, and medical director for Best Friends Animal Society®.
Why Shouldn’t Dogs Eat Plums?
The main issue with dogs and plums revolves mostly around the ingestion of the pit. “The pits can be sharp, which means they could damage the esophagus, stomach or intestines,” says Konecny. There is also a possible risk of the pit obstructing your dog’s intestinal tract. While this is most likely to occur in a smaller dog, it could also happen if a large dog consumes several plum pits.
“Also, if the pit is crushed, it can release cyanide, which is toxic to dogs,” says Konecny. The flesh of the plum itself is generally not harmful. “Unless it is overripe, fermented, or moldy, a small amount of plum flesh without ingesting the pit is probably fine,” she explains. “I don’t recommend allowing your dog to eat a large amount of the flesh or the canned variety, considering plums’ high sugar content.”
Are Plums as Dangerous as Grapes and Raisins For Dogs?
While plum pits can be toxic to dogs and the high-sugar flesh is not recommended, a plum’s negative effects on dogs do differ from those of grapes and raisins. “Grape and raisin ingestion triggers gastrointestinal upset followed by [possible] acute renal toxicity (kidney failure)—even in small amounts,” says Konecny. Consumption of plums does not lead to kidney failure in dogs.
Luckily, there is a way to let your pup indulge in the plum flavor without the risk. Nulo Freestyle Duck Recipe dog treats contain a hint of plum to give your dog the natural flavor and nutrients that plums provide.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Eats a Plum?
If your dog has gotten his paws on a plum, stay calm and give your vet a call. Take a look for any plum remnants so that you can tell your vet what parts of the plum your dog ingested. If the pit is still intact, your dog is likely okay.
Because of the dangers that plum pits pose for dogs, it’s best this fruit out of reach and away from your pups. Keep them on a high counter or secured in a pet-proof drawer in the refrigerator. “There are a variety of safer treats that might satisfy the urge to treat your dog,” says Konecny. So, if your dog has a sweet tooth and generally likes fruit, check with your veterinarian for a list of recommended pet-safe options.
Caitlin Ultimo is a writer and editor who has been published on PetMD. Her work specializes in pet, family and beauty writing.