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Can Dogs Eat Prunes? Are Prunes Safe For Dogs To Eat?

Joanna Woodnutt

Last Updated: December 7, 2022 | 5 min read | Leave a Comment

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This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog recently ate prunes and is reacting adversely, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can Dogs eat Prunes? Are they Safe? We all know that prunes are touted as healthy food for humans. They’re supposed to help with constipation and reduce the effects of osteoporosis, as well as being high in vitamins and minerals. But how many of us have wondered if prunes are also good for dogs? If you own a greedy pooch, they might even have helped themselves already. Are prunes safe for dogs, or do you need to rush to the vet?

First, lets just make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to prunes. Prunes are dried plums. They often come in cans or tins, although can be found in plastic packaging too. They’re usually kept without the stone or pit (‘pitted prunes’) although prunes with the pit inside are available, too. Some plums are grown specifically for turning into prunes, as the stone is easy to remove. Prunes have a high sugar content and are also high in fiber, potassium and vitamin K.

So let’s get back to the question: Can dogs eat prunes and are they good for them? Read on to find out more, including what to do if your pup is reacting adversely after consuming them.

Can Dogs Eat Prunes?

The short answer is, no you shouldn’t purposefully feed prunes to your dog. While prunes are not as toxic as grapes and raisins, they are difficult to digest and can be the cause of digestive problems. Prunes can cause stomach upset in dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, and inappetence.

The high sugar content is also not good for dogs! Remember that prunes are essentially just dried plums. They have a higher sugar content than real fruit and can cause problems for pups in excessive amounts. The real danger is cyanide, which can come from the pits of prunes. These can be toxic. Pits are found in a variety of different dog-toxic fruits, including cherries.

Are Prunes Toxic For Dogs?

No matter what type of prune it is, they shouldn’t be fed to dogs.

The good news is that prunes themselves aren’t toxic to dogs. It’s the pits, leaves, and stems that contain trace amounts of cyanide, and can be life-threatening if your dog eats them. If your dog accidentally eats a pitted prune they’ll usually be fine.

And if they do have any side effects from eating prunes, they’re likely to be mild, and stop after a couple of days. Of course, if the prune your dog has eaten contains the stone or ‘pit’, then other problems can occur. Overall, prunes are not toxic like chocolate, or like certain families of nuts.

My Dog Ate Prunes. What Should I Do?

Sick Dog
Keep and eye on your dog for any behavior changes.

If you’ve accidentally fed your dog a prune, or your dog stole a prune, don’t panic. Keep a close eye on your dog, looking for signs of abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases will pass within a couple of days, but you should call your veterinarian if the symptoms continue, or become severe.

You should also call your veterinarian if your dog becomes lethargic or has so much vomiting that they’re unable to keep their food down, as this can dehydrate them very quickly. If your dog shows symptoms other than those described above, call your dog’s veterinarian for advice.

Why Are Prune Pits Dangerous?

Plum with Stones
Prune Pits can be dangerous to dogs due to their cyanide content.

Prunes that retain their stones (pits) are more dangerous to dogs than pitted prunes. This is because the stone of the plum fruit is hard, sharp, and undigestible. It also contains cyanide. While the amount of cyanide in one stone isn’t likely to cause severe problems, several stones can quickly add up to being a dangerous amount.

Being hard and undigestible, prune pits can also cause other problems for your dog’s guts. The rough surface can scratch and damage a dog’s gut lining, causing diarrhea, discomfort, and bleeding. In smaller dogs, or when large pits are left, the stone can also become stuck, forming a gastrointestinal blockage. Blockages of the guts can be fatal for pets, especially if left untreated.

My Dog Ate Prune Pits: Now What?

If your dog has eaten prunes that have not had the pits removed, you should call your nearest open veterinary surgery for advice. This may be an emergency service. They’ll need to know how many pits you think your dog has eaten, as well as the size of your dog, in order to advise you. They may ask you to monitor your pet, or bring him down for investigations and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve answered most of your questions around dogs and prunes, you may still have some lesser sought after concerns. Below we answer all your questions about prune juice, canned prunes, and more. Let’s jump in!

Can Dogs Eat Cooked or Boiled Prunes?

No, having prunes boiled or cooked won’t make a difference. Nutritional guidance is the same, and dogs should not eat prunes regularly. If they happened to eat one by accident, they will usually rebound without any issues.

What About Black Prunes?

Black prunes should have the same impact on your dog as a traditional prune. It’s not recommended for dogs, and if your pup consumed one recently, and is acting irregularly, contact your vet immediately. We do not recommend black prunes for dogs.

Can Dogs Have Canned Prunes For Constipation?

Other food works better for canine constipation. Do not feed your dog plums or prune juice. Pumpkin is usually what most vets will recommend. Canned dog food can also help due to moisture content.

Can Prunes Be Part of a Balanced Doggy Diet?

You may have seen that prunes are recommended for humans as part of a balanced diet, but dogs have different needs. It’s not recommended to purposefully feed prunes to dogs. Although prunes are high in potassium and vitamin K, dogs get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their food. Your dog’s food is already a delicate balance, and feeding extra can unbalance it. While that doesn’t mean you should never feed your dog extra titbits, there are healthier additions that come with fewer risks. For instance, papaya is safe for dogs, as well as sweet potatoes, or even oatmeal.

Will Prunes Help With Doggy Constipation?

Prunes are very tough for dogs to digest and can lead to more problems with digestion. Instead of feeding prunes for constipation, there are better alternatives. Encouraging your dog to drink extra water is important; adding a small amount of flavored canine electrolytes to their water bowl can help to encourage them. You can also consider adding a little raw carrot, for fiber. If your dog appears to be in pain and is unable to pass feces at all, a trip to the vets is in order. They’ll be able to ‘unblock’ your dog- and help to find the cause of the problem.

Can Dogs Have Prune Juice?

It’s not recommended to give your dogs prune juice, or any juices. Juices are high in fructose, a type of sugar. And dogs’ digestive systems aren’t really set up to deal with a large amount of fructose. The resulting sugar high can make diabetes more likely, as well as causing problems with hyperactivity, and gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs only need to drink water.

Final Thoughts

Prunes are unsafe to feed to dogs. They are likely to cause gastric upset due to the high sugar content, and there are far safer things to feed your dog to increase their fiber and vitamin intake. If your dog does accidently eat a prune, don’t panic- the signs are usually mild and self-limiting- keep a close eye on them and call the vet if necessary. Prune pits are much more dangerous for dogs and should be avoided- if your dog eats a prune stone you should call your vet for advice immediately.

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