Nothing is quite as refreshing on a hot summer day as fresh pineapple. Being rich in vitamins and antioxidants, this fruit can be a beneficial summertime snack for both you and your pup. There are some things you should know before sharing it with your best friend, though.
Benefits of Pineapple for Dogs
Pineapples are refreshing and hydrating because they are mostly just water. That doesn't mean they are just empty calories, though. Pineapples are rich in antioxidants. These are compounds that can help reverse damage caused by free radicals. In nature, all molecules want to have electrons that are paired. Those that have unpaired electrons are called free radicals. These compounds will steal an electron from other molecules in order to become more stable (a process known chemically as oxidation), but in doing so they damage the molecules they take the electron from. The antioxidants in pineapple help not only to inhibit oxidation caused by free radicals but also to reverse the damage caused by them.
Pineapples are also high in Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Vitamin C, just like in people, can help boost your dog's immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Vitamin B6 is utilized in a variety of your dog's bodily functions, including their brain activity. Finally, pineapples also contain various minerals that help to support a healthy skin and coat as well as other connective tissue.
Pineapples also contain an enzyme called bromelain. It has been suggested that this compound may help with the nuisance behavior of eating stool. It is thought that by adding pineapple to your dog's food it can make stool less appealing.
However, adding pineapple (or other additives) to your dog's diet is unlikely to stop your dog from eating excrement. Coprophagia, the technical term for eating stool, is generally a behavioral problem that won't have a simple, quick fix.
Even if the pineapply does act as a deterrent, it will only work for their own poop, and most dogs with this habit tend to eat the poop of other animals too.
Breaking your dog of their stool eating will require time, training, patience, management techniques, and diligence in keeping your yard clean.
Potential Health Concerns with Pineapple
Fruit, in general, has a high sugar content and pineapple is no exception. If your dog struggles with obesity or is a known diabetic, fruit might not be an appropriate snack for them.
Your vet can better advise you of what fruits would have too much sugar for your dog. Dried pineapple (and other dried fruit) has an even higher concentration of sugar. Keep in mind, pineapple has a lot of water in it, so when you remove it you then alter the ratio of all the remaining components.
The tough, inner core, as well as the outer skin and leaves, aren't easily digested by us or by our dogs. If your dog were to eat any of these parts they may suffer from gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, they may suffer from a gastrointestinal obstruction.
What Parts of a Pineapple Can My Dog Eat?
Truly, only the soft, inner flesh of pineapple (the same part humans eat) is safe for your dog to consume. All the other parts, including the spiked skin, the leaves sprouting out of the top, and the inner core are all unsafe for your dog to eat. These parts are all indigestible for your dog.
If your dog were to ingest any of the skin, leaves, or core, at best they could have a bout of vomiting and/or diarrhea. At worst, they would require an operation to remove a piece of pineapple blocking their intestinal tract.
Can My Dog Eat Canned Pineapple?
Sometimes it's hard to find fresh pineapple, especially when it's not in season. For us, this problem is easily solved by purchasing canned pineapple. Unfortunately, canned pineapple may actually have more sugar than fresh.
There are some varieties that may pack their pineapple in water as opposed to sugary syrup, but you should avoid purchasing cans if you are able to.
If cans are all you have, try to only purchase pineapple packed in water and make sure that the pineapple chunks are thoroughly rinsed before giving them to your dog.
Other Ways to Feed Pineapple to Your Dog
There are other ways for your dog to enjoy fresh pineapple besides just tossing them a few chunks as you slice one up. Mixing it with plain yogurt can make a delicious and nutritious food topper. You can freeze them for an extra refreshing treat on a hot summer day. Frozen pineapple can also be pureed to make a doggy-safe pineapple sorbet. You can even toss your pup a slice of grilled pineapple at your next barbecue.
Pineapple can be a great snack for both your and your dog. As with any new treat, though, check with your veterinarian before incorporating pineapple into your dog's diet.