I like to feed my German Shepherd fruits as a reward for good behavior, and I often add them to her bowl to supplement her diet. Giving your dog fruits to eat helps maintain motivation when training and is a handy option if your treat cupboard is empty! But what fruits can German Shepherds eat?
German Shepherds can eat a wide variety of fruits. Some of the best fruits they can eat are strawberries, apples, bananas, raspberries, peaches, pears, blueberries, and melon. Seeds and pits are a hazard, so avoid these. Some fruits are also toxic, such as grapes, avocados, and cherries.
Although most good quality dog food is optimized for dogs’ needs, adding fruits is an ideal tasty complement to a healthy diet.
This article will look at the best fruits your German Shepherd can eat, in what quantities, and exactly how to feed them. We’ll also cover the fruits your dog can’t eat.
For the complete guide to what fruits your German Shepherd can eat and fruit-related topics, read on!
- What Fruits Can German Shepherds Eat?
- Kiwi Fruit
- Lemon, Lime, and Grapefruit
- Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, and Persimmons
- Oranges & Mandarins (Tangerines, Clementines & Satsumas)
- Should Dogs Eat Fruit?
- How Much Fruit Can a Dog Eat?
- How to Feed a Dog Fruit
- What Fruits are Toxic to Dogs?
- Grapes and Raisins
- Star Fruit
- Tomatoes (Green)
- Final Thoughts
What Fruits Can German Shepherds Eat?
Here’s a short video from “Animal Wised” describing some of the best fruits to give to dogs, including how to feed them and recommended portion sizes:
|Fruit||Can Eat||Can’t Eat|
|Grapes & Raisins||✘|
Apples are a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium and fiber. The vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy bones and tissue.
Most dogs like the sweet taste and the crunchy texture of apples which also helps to keep their teeth clean and freshen their breath. Cut the apple into small pieces and do not feed the seeds as they contain traces of cyanide. Also, do not feed the cores as they can cause intestinal obstructions.
Apricots are a tropical fruit rich in vitamins A and C. They are full of potassium and beta-carotene which can help fight against cancer.
It is safe to feed the fleshy fruit however don’t give the pit, leaves or stem as these contain cyanide which can be quite harmful if consumed in large amounts. Your German Shepherd will enjoy a few small bites now and again, however, don’t overdo it as apricots are high in fiber and too much fiber can lead to a tummy upset.
Bananas are high in potassium which can support kidney and heart functions. They are also high in vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper and are low in sodium. They do, however, contain a lot of sugar so only feed sparingly and do not feed the peel as they may be tough for some dogs to digest.
I like to give my German Shepherd a couple of small pieces of banana when we are out on a long walk as it helps to give her a quick energy boost.
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My full list of recommendations can be found here.
Don’t you just love blackberry picking in the summer? These sweet and juicy fruits are ideal to share with your German Shepherd. Some dogs may not quite like their taste though, yet other dogs will adore them.
Blackberries contain a high number of valuable antioxidants that can prevent or slow down damage to cells. They are loaded with vitamins and fiber and are low in sugar too. Frozen blackberries can be a welcome treat in the warm weather to help cool your dog down.
Blueberries are a superfood rich in antioxidants that prevent cell and tissue damage. They are a great source of vitamin C and fiber. They are good for lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer and are anti-inflammatory.
Blueberries are a great snack for all dogs and are low in calories. They are lower in sugar content than many other fruits which is a bonus and kinder to your dog’s teeth.
Despite containing the word ‘nut,’ coconut is actually a fruit! They don’t contain many of the proteins that people with tree nut allergies are sensitive to, (such as almonds or cashews) and an allergy to coconut is quite rare.
Coconut is full of antioxidants to support the immune system, help prevent viruses and reduce inflammation. Coconut oil is also great for your German Shepherds skin or coat and if they enjoy the taste of the flesh then there is no harm in giving them a small piece or two. You must make sure to remove the shell to prevent choking or intestinal blockages.
Cranberries contain vitamin C, fiber and manganese and have anti-inflammatory properties. They help to maintain a healthy bladder and they’re good to give to your dog if they have a water infection. You may find, however, that they don’t like the tart taste and I must agree, as I’m not a great fan of them!
They can be given raw, cooked or dried but avoid cranberry juice as it contains too much sugar which can upset your dog’s stomach and sugar is not good for your German Shepherds teeth. Also, be aware that dried cranberries are often mixed with other dried fruits like raisins which are poisonous to dogs, as are grapes.
The question, ‘Is cucumber a fruit or a vegetable?’ is certainly a common one! Technically, the cucumber is a fruit so we will discuss it here, even though you are likely to find them amongst other vegetables in the grocery store. It doesn’t really matter though as they have a lot of nutritional value.
Cucumbers contain potassium, calcium, copper, magnesium, and biotin. They are loaded with vitamins B1, C, and K and can improve joint health and strengthen bones. They are 96% water and so are a great tasty summer treat for your dog that will help to keep them hydrated. They are great for overweight dogs too as they contain no fat and can even boost energy!
Dates are low in fat and are cholesterol-free. They contain vitamins A, C and several of the B vitamins. They also contain fiber and are full of minerals. Dates are good for your dog’s heart and immune system. They are however high in sugar so you will need to consider this when feeding.
They can be good if your German Shepherd needs a quick energy boost during a lot of exercise or play and are a good alternative to treats purchased from the store. Make sure you remove the pit before eating to prevent choking or blockages.
Kiwi fruit is very high in fiber. Although the flesh is safe to eat the high fiber content may not agree with your dog and could cause a stomach upset or diarrhea due to its laxative effect. For this reason, I have never tried my German Shepherd on kiwi fruit! There are many other alternatives listed here.
However, if you do wish to try your dog with this fruit they are loaded with vitamin C and potassium which provides copious amounts of nutritional benefits. Do not feed the seeds as they contain cyanide and always remove the skin to prevent choking and never feed kiwi fruit whole.
Lemon, Lime, and Grapefruit
Lemon, lime, and grapefruit provide little or no nutritional benefit for your dog. Although the flesh of these citrus fruits is safe, they are not recommended due to their high content of citric acid which can cause stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Remember too that the digestive system of dogs is much more sensitive than humans.
Most dogs will not like the bitter taste of citrus fruits and most will not thank you for giving them even a lick! If you do decide to try your dog with a small piece of these fruits, remove the peel to prevent possible choking or obstructions. Also, do not feed the pith (the white parts) or seeds as they are toxic. I don’t think feeding these fruits is worth the risk!
Mangos are a tropical fruit that is popular in the summer. They are a good nutritious treat that contains vitamins A, B6, C, and E however, they do contain a lot of sugar so you need to take this into account before feeding mango to your dog. They are also high in fiber which most dogs aren’t used to so only feed sparingly.
Although the skin and flesh are safe for your German Shepherd, the skin may be hard to digest and the pit contains traces of cyanide which you and I have learned is toxic.
The pit is also a choking hazard and could cause a blockage in your dog’s digestive system so avoid at all costs.
Melon is an excellent source of vitamins, dietary fiber, and potassium. Its high antioxidant qualities are good for promoting healthy cell function and reducing the risk of cancer and arthritis.
Melon (both cantaloupe and honeydew varieties) are low in calories and high in water content and so small pieces are nice and refreshing for your German Shepherd, especially on hot days and this helps to keep them hydrated too.
Melon does, however, have a high sugar content so only feed in moderation. The seeds and rind need to be avoided to prevent choking and possible digestive problems.
Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, and Persimmons
Nectarines, peaches, plums, and persimmons are a good source of beta-carotene and vitamin A which helps maintain healthy skin, teeth, and bones.
They also contain fiber for healthy digestion and potassium which is good for heart and kidney disorders.
These fruits are quite sugary so you must consider that if you wish to feed them to your dog. They would be okay to give as an energy-booster whilst out on a long walk or during excessive play.
Remember, do not feed the pit or seeds to avoid poisoning, choking and possible digestive obstructions.
Many people think of olives as vegetables however they are technically a fruit as they contain seeds and are the fruit of the olive tree. The confusion is that they are often seen as a vegetable in the culinary world.
Even though they are safe for dogs I have never fed them to my German Shepherd as I don’t like their taste! They do however contain many vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of vitamin E which is good for your dog’s eyes and immune system.
They are high in natural fats and so one or two plain, unsalted olives can be a healthy snack. You will need to remove the pits to prevent choking or blockages further down! Olive pits also contain toxic compounds and they could even crack your dog’s teeth which could be not only very painful for your dog but expensive for you if you have to pay out dental costs!
Oranges & Mandarins (Tangerines, Clementines & Satsumas)
Oranges and other similar citrus fruits like tangerines, clementines, and satsumas are full of nutrients and some fiber. They are loaded with vitamin C, which can benefit your dog’s immune system and flush out toxins.
However, they should only be given in very small quantities due to their acidity and sugar content. Like other citrus fruits, probably your dog won’t quite like the acidic zing!
You must only feed the flesh part of the fruit as the peel is hard to digest. In addition to this, the peel, seeds and the white pith contain toxic compounds and so must not be given. My German Shepherd turns her head away after the slightest sniff, telling me she is not interested. She certainly doesn’t care for oranges due to their bitter or sour taste.
Pears are high in potassium, vitamins A, C and K, and fiber. They are believed to reduce the risk of strokes and have anti-cancer properties due to their antioxidants. Vitamin K is known for increasing bone density.
They do contain a high amount of sugar so feed sparingly, especially if your German Shepherd needs to lose a few pounds. The core and seeds will need to be removed before feeding to your dog to prevent poisoning, choking and digestive blockages.
Pineapple is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that is good for your dog’s digestion and immune system. It also contains bromelain which helps your dog absorb proteins.
It is best to remove the prickly peel and crown before trying your dog with a small piece or two. As it is also quite sugary, only feed sparingly unless your dog needs a quick energy boost during a long walk which my German Shepherd often does!
Frozen chunks of pineapple make an excellent snack in the summer and will help to keep your dog hydrated, however, avoid canned pineapple as it contains lots of added sugar.
Raspberries are great for dogs in moderation as they are low in sugar and calories and contain lots of fiber, manganese and vitamin C. They have anti-inflammatory properties that can help joints and so they are especially good for older dogs.
The only downside is that they contain a small amount of xylitol which is a natural sweetener and if consumed in large amounts can be fatal due to its toxicity, however one or two are just absolutely fine. My German Shepherd loves raspberries and I like to give her frozen ones when the weather is hot.
Strawberries are a great fruit for dogs and my German Shepherd adores them. They are full of fiber and vitamin C. They also contain an enzyme that can help keep your dog’s teeth nice and white and they are low in sugar and fat, just like raspberries.
They are high in antioxidants and they may help to slow down the aging process, strengthen the immune system, and help with weight management, especially if your dog is a little on the heavy side. They are nice and refreshing in the hot summer months and they can also be given frozen to help cool your dog down and keep them hydrated.
Watermelons are full of vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as potassium which helps maintain healthy muscle and nerve function. It contains 92% water, so it’s another great way to help keep your dog hydrated during the summer.
Everyone loves a nice refreshing piece of watermelon in the hot weather, the only downside to this fruit is all the fiddley seeds! Remember, these must be removed before giving watermelon to your German Shepherd and do not feed the rind to prevent choking or an intestinal blockage.
Should Dogs Eat Fruit?
To answer this question, we need to take a look at the history of the domesticated dog:
Today’s dogs like to survive on a diverse diet of meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Therefore, dogs should eat fruit, but only as a complement to their diet.
If you feed your dog well-balanced, healthy dog food, there is no real need to provide them additional fruits. However, ask yourself this question – would you prefer to give your German Shepherd a small piece of fruit instead of a low-quality dog treat that is highly processed and full of artificial preservatives, colors, and additives? I certainly know which I would prefer!
We have already learned that the nutrients in fruit are great for the health and maintenance of your dog’s body that will help to boost your dog’s overall health and help prevent disease.
Fruits help to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve skin, hair, and eyesight and help with digestion. This is confirmed by Dr. Sarah Nold, a veterinarian at Trupanion:
“Adding fruits and vegetables to your pet’s diet will help ensure that they’re getting plenty of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, to help them stay strong and healthy and boost their immune system.”Dr. Sarah Nold, Veterinarian at Trupanion
Pet treats can also be high in calories, so fruits and vegetables can provide a healthier alternative.
Other benefits are the potassium in fruit can reduce a dog’s risk of heart disease and stroke and some fruits are superfoods (rich in nutrients) and may protect against cancers:
“No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But research shows that a diet filled with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and other plant foods helps lower risk for many cancers.”American Institute for Cancer Research
An important point to note is that if your dog is being treated by a vet for any medical condition it is recommended to consult with them before trying your dog with any new fruit, especially if your dog is diabetic as many fruits are high in sugar.
I feed my German Shepherd Guru Cold-Pressed dog food. This food contains fruits including dried apples, cranberries, and pears. It’s quite different from usual kibble due to being cooked at low temperatures, allowing the food to retain far more nutrients. You can find my full review of this special food here.
How Much Fruit Can a Dog Eat?
Like most responsible dog owners I like to give my German Shepherd a healthy diet. I’m sure that you will be aware that many of the treats you buy from the store are high in calories and not very nutritional at all – unless you buy really good high-quality expensive ones!
So, how much fruit can a dog eat?
Every dog owner needs something quick and easy that is usually readily available in the home and an occasional small piece of fruit will do the trick perfectly.
To put it simply, fruit should not make up a significant part of your dog’s daily diet, however, an occasional piece of safe fruit can be very healthy for them.
A good rule of thumb is that treats you feed your dog should make up no more than 10% of his or her total calories for the day. The other 90% should come from dog food that’s healthy and well balanced.
The same rule applies to other “people foods” that you may occasionally give to your dog such as these 34 human foods here.
It’s best to feed fruit to your dog like you would any other snack and keep the portion size small.
To help you with this, here are some recommended portion sizes of fruits that your dog can eat. This is only a rough guide and you can probably adjust this depending on the size, activity level and age of your dog. I’ve also included the hazards to avoid for each fruit so that you can use it as a quick reference guide:
Recommended Fruit Portion Sizes
|Fruit||Portion Size||Hazards To Avoid|
|Apple||1-2 slices||Seeds and Core|
|Apricot||1 slice||Leaves, Stem, and Pit|
|Banana||1-2 pieces (1-inch chunks)||Peel|
|Cranberries||1 dessert spoon|
|Dates||Half a date||Pit|
|Kiwi Fruit||1 slice||Seeds and Skin|
|Lemon||A lick to try!||Peel, Pith, and Seeds|
|Lime||A lick to try!||Peel, Pith, and Seeds|
|Grapefruit||A lick to try!||Peel, Pith, and Seeds|
|Mango||1-2 slices||Peel and Pit|
|Melon||1 slice (1-inch chunks)||Seeds and Rind|
|Nectarine||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Pit|
|Peach||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Pit|
|Plum||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Pit|
|Persimmons||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Pit and Seeds|
|Orange||1 bite-sized segment||Peel, Pith, and Seeds|
|Tangerine||1 bite-sized segment||Peel, Pith, and Seeds|
|Clementine||1 bite-sized segment||Peel, Pith, and Seeds|
|Mandarine||1 bite-sized segment||Peel, Pith, and Seeds|
|Pear||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Seeds and Core|
|Pineapple||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Peel and Crown|
|Strawberries||Half of a large berry|
|Watermelon||1 slice||Seeds and Rind|
How to Feed a Dog Fruit
Fruits should only be fed in moderation to avoid any potential stomach upset or even worse, dreaded gas and diarrhea! Remember, the digestive system of a dog is much more sensitive than us humans!
If your dog is new to fruit it’s best to try experimenting with a small amount of one type so that if your dog does react, you will be able to determine the cause.
If a fruit contains a pit or seeds, you must remove these as they contain traces of cyanide which is toxic and extremely harmful if eaten in large quantities. Pits can also crack teeth and are a choking hazard or can cause a blockage in the dog’s digestive system.
To be on the safe side, I avoid giving these types of fruits to my German Shepherd as I don’t wish to take the risk!
It’s best to wash and clean fruit for your dog just like you would for your family as this helps rinse away any dirt and residual chemicals. You can cut the fruit into small pieces, mash or puree. Some dogs might not like the texture of fruit so you can always try them as frozen treats as I do with raspberries and strawberries.
Avoid feeding your German Shepherd canned fruit as it contains too much sugary syrup and will upset your dog’s stomach. Fruit juice is also best avoided due to its high sugar content and citrus juices like orange will be highly acidic.
For a ton of other useful food-related info, check out my giant guide on the best diet for German Shepherds. This detailed post leaves no stone unturned and covers everything from nutrition to dog food types and includes what to feed and what not to feed your dog.
What Fruits are Toxic to Dogs?
While many human foods that you find in and around your house are perfectly safe for dogs, some are very dangerous, so it’s critical to learn which fruits dogs can’t eat.
You will also need to take extra care if you grow your fruit at home as once the fruit has fallen from the tree and starts to decompose it produces ethanol (alcohol) which is also extremely toxic to dogs as are these other foods. You must never leave your dog unsupervised where they can have free access to fruit.
If you plan on sharing some fruit with your German Shepherd, make sure you don’t feed them anything you find on this list! These are the fruits that they shouldn’t eat:
Avocado should not be given to dogs. The pit, skin, and leaves of avocados contain persin which is a toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The fleshy inside of the fruit doesn’t have as much persin as the rest of the plant, but it is still unsafe for your dog to eat. If you are a lover of Mexican food like me, keep your dog away from the guacamole!
Extreme caution must be given if you decide to give your dog cherries. Even though the flesh of the cherry is safe, it can cause an upset stomach if eaten in large quantities.
The main danger is that the cherry pit, stem, and leaves all contain toxic cyanide. Should your dog accidentally eat a whole cherry, not only are they at risk from the chemical cyanide but they are also at risk of choking or having an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract due to the pit. This risk is increased in smaller breeds. For these reasons, I don’t recommend feeding your dog cherries.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to German Shepherds and all dog breeds.
This also includes other dried variants like sultanas and currants and any foods containing grape extracts. These are all potential sources of poison that can cause acute kidney failure and lead to death. To learn more about why dogs can’t eat grapes, be sure to check out this post.
Star fruit is an exotic fruit that is extremely toxic to dogs. It must not be eaten as it can lead to sudden kidney failure. It contains calcium oxalate and when soluble oxalate salts are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, they bind with the body’s calcium, resulting in a sudden drop which can lead to acute renal failure.
The exact amount of star fruit that your German Shepherd can eat safely is not known. It can be very dangerous even if your dog ate only a small amount, especially in smaller breeds who may be more at risk. Less than half of star fruit could make your dog ill.
Tomatoes need to be avoided. While the ripened red fruit of the tomato is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant (stems and vines), as well as unripened tomatoes contain a toxic substance called solanine.
Solanine poisoning can cause heart problems, difficulty breathing, and severe stomach upset. You will need to take extra care if you grow tomato plants in the garden. Either fence them off from your dog or make sure they are supervised at all times.
You and I now know what fruits our German Shepherds can safely eat as a complement to their diet – and the ones to avoid! We all love to reward our dogs with treats and experiment with new ones and fruits make a great option.
Remember to check with a veterinary professional if you have any concerns regarding your dog’s dietary health or possible food allergies or intolerances.
I also think it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s weight and I like to take my German Shepherd to the vets every month for a check-up. I hope you found what you were looking for and found this article helpful.
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