Are you moving to the country, with the express intent of consuming countless peaches? Are you an urban farmer, pleased as punch that your little peach grove is bearing its first ripening fruits? In any case, if you love peaches, it is only natural to want to share the bounty with all of your friends, family, and even pets. But you must ask yourself — or the Internet — “Can dogs eat peaches?” Dogs are omnivores, and, given the opportunity, will eat anything. The more apt question then is, “Should dogs eat peaches?” or “Is it safe for dogs to eat peaches?”
The flesh of a peach is, without doubt, a delicious treat. I grew up in Georgia, which is affectionately if not entirely accurately known as “the peach state.” As a consequence, peaches are a part of my upbringing. By and large, the tender, yellow-orange meat that constitutes the bulk of peaches is safe for dogs to eat, in moderation. Like any food that a dog is unaccustomed to, even a limited quantity of peaches can cause a bit of digestive upset, mainly in the form of temporary diarrhea.
There are other considerations to bear in mind, including pesticides and preservatives. When the source of your peaches is unknown, you run the risk that the fruit has been treated or sprayed with pesticides, which can be toxic to dogs. Like all store- or market-bought fruits, peaches should be well-cleaned, and the pit or stone removed, before being fed to a dog.
Canned and preserved peaches carry additional qualifications for canine consumption. Packaged in cans, tins, or plastic containers, peaches are frequently, if not universally, treated with artificial sweeteners and other chemical preservatives, which can wreak havoc on a dog’s digestive system. The natural sugars found in peaches are sufficient to cause stomach upset in dogs. The excessive sugars used in canned fruit and fruit cups, eaten by dogs on a regular basis, can lead to obesity and tooth decay, two major limiting factors on a dog’s lifespan.
The primary danger that whole peaches present to dogs, be they store-bought, from the farmer’s market, or the tree growing in your yard, is the peach pit or stone. Peach pits constitute the greatest threat to dogs for several reasons. Many dogs are chewers; they derive pleasure and satisfaction from the labor of chewing, gnawing, and simply working their teeth and jaws on a challenging object. There’s nothing a dog loves to chew on more than a foreign object thoughtlessly left around the house.
Swallowed whole, peach pits can get lodged in the throat and cause a dog to choke. Whole or partly ground by the teeth, the rough and serrated edges of peach pits are abrasive and may cause damage to or irritation of the small intestine. Either way, ingesting peach pits can lead to obstruction, which can then lead to intestinal inflammation, also known as enteritis.
Should a dog manage to crack peach pits, found on the ground or in an unsecured litter bin, these stones contain a naturally occurring chemical, a sugar-cyanide compound called amygdalin. A dog would have to have eat a number of peach pits and have its digestive enzymes liberate enough cyanide from the stone for it to have toxic effects, but it is a risk factor to be aware of all the same. Dog owners with peach trees should be aware that cyanide is also present in the leaves and stems of peach trees.
Technically, peaches, or at least their meat, are safe for dogs to eat in limited amounts. When you are uncertain of the origin of fresh peaches, it is always advisable to wash fruit before consuming it yourself or offering a bit to your dog. When it comes to our dogs, whose bodies may be more susceptible to poisons and pesticides in much smaller amounts, is it really worth the trial?
If you live in a place with peach, persimmon, or plum trees growing freely, you’ll want to make sure that peach pits or fallen fruit are not accessible to your dog’s curious nose and palate. This is especially true if fallen fruit has the chance to rot or develop any mold. The Moldy Peaches were a terrific band, and I still enjoy their music to this day. Peaches with mold on them, however, contain bacteria and toxins that are even more dangerous to dogs.
We all know that no matter how many chew toys, bones, antlers, or knotted ropes we provide for our dogs, they will frequently ignore these safe and approved objects for the most seemingly random things they can find. This is why trash cans should be firmly secured at all times, particularly if you have an inside dog. You should also not leave peaches or peach pits out in the open where a dog might hold of them in a moment of boredom or a fit of pique.
Below is an infographic we made on the topic. Print it or circulate it online to your fellow dog owners.
Do you find that your dog enjoys the occasional bit of peach? Has your dog experienced peach-related issues? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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