Fruits can be a great addition to your Labrador’s diet. I often feed my dog fruits such as apples or strawberries. They are great as a reward for good behavior or as treats, especially if your treat drawer is empty! You can also add fruits to your dog’s meals to complement their diet. But what fruits can Labradors eat?
Labradors can eat a wide variety of fruits. Some of the best fruits they can eat are apples, strawberries, bananas, raspberries, melons, peaches, pears, and blueberries. Pits and seeds are a hazard, so avoid these. Some fruits are also poisonous, such as grapes, avocados, and cherries.
Although most good quality dog food is maximized for dogs’ needs, adding fruits is an ideal delicious supplement to a healthy diet.
This article will itemize the best 29 fruits that are perfectly safe to add to your Labrador’s diet. We will also look at why Labs should eat fruit, how to feed, recommended portion sizes, and what fruits your dog can’t eat.
Some fruits make better choices than others. I’ll tell you my dog’s favorite five at the end of the post. Let’s dive in!
- What Fruits Can Labradors Eat?
- Kiwi Fruit
- Lemon, Lime, & Grapefruit
- Nectarines, Peaches & Plums
- Oranges & Mandarines (Tangerine, Clementine & Satsuma)
- Can Labradors Eat Fruit?
- Should Dogs Eat Fruit?
- How to Feed Fruit to Dogs
- How Much Fruit Can a Dog Eat?
- What Fruits are Toxic to Dogs?
- Final Thoughts
What Fruits Can Labradors Eat?
Check out the below table for a quick guide to what fruits your Labrador can and can’t eat.
|Fruit||Can Eat||Can’t Eat|
|Grapes & Raisins||✘|
Labradors can enjoy apples. They are a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus, and fiber. The vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy bones and tissue.
Most dogs like the sweet taste and the crunchy texture of apples. They also help to keep teeth clean and freshen breath. Cut the apple into small pieces or slices and don’t feed the cores as they can cause an intestinal obstruction.
Remove the seeds as they contain a compound called amygdalin and this gets broken down into toxic cyanide by food enzymes. However, your Labrador would have to eat many apple seeds to be poisoned!
To give you an idea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person weighing 70kg would have to eat around 40 apple cores to receive a fatal dose, so a Labrador Retriever weighing 35kg would have to eat 20!
Apricots are a sweet and tangy tropical fruit rich in vitamins A and C. They also contain potassium, copper, and beta-carotene, which can help fight against cancer.
It is safe to feed your Labrador the fleshy fruit, however, don’t give the pit, leaves, or stem. These parts produce cyanide when chewed and digested and can be harmful if they are consumed in very large amounts.
Again, it will require many pits to cause poisoning. The exact number will depend on the size of the dog and whether the pits are chewed to release the chemical.
Your Labrador can 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.
By the way, if you are thinking about buying something for your dog, check out my favorite gear below. Also, check out the 50% off your first box at Ollie!
Labradors can eat bananas. They are high in potassium which can support kidney and heart function. They are also high in vitamins B6 and C, biotin, fiber, magnesium, and copper.
They do, however, contain a lot of sugar as they are a high carbohydrate food, so only feed sparingly. Do not feed the peel as it may be too tough to digest.
I like to give my dog a couple of small pieces of banana when we are out on a hike to give her a quick energy boost. Banana can also be served mashed or frozen and then sliced.
I love blackberry picking in the summer, and these sweet juicy fruits are great to share with your Labrador.
However, some dogs may not like their taste, yet others will really enjoy them.
Blackberries contain a high number of valuable antioxidants that can prevent or slow down damage to cells. They are loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and fiber. They are lower in sugar than other fruits and are an excellent choice for your Labrador. Frozen blackberries can also be a welcome treat in the warm weather to help cool your dog down.
Blueberries are a superfood due to their antioxidant properties that help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and reduce inflammation. They are a great source of vitamins C and K, and fiber, and are low in calories.
They also contain phytochemicals. Scientists believe these compounds can help to fight cancer and heart disease.
Blueberries are incredibly healthy and nutritious and are a great snack for Labradors. They are lower in sugar than many other fruits making them also kinder to your dog’s teeth.
Here are 7 of the Best Fruits to Give to Your Dog…
Although it contains the word “nut,” coconut is really a fruit!
Coconut is safe for your Labrador to eat and it doesn’t contain many of the proteins that people with tree nut allergies are sensitive to. An allergy to coconut is quite rare.
Coconut is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system. It helps to prevent viruses, reduces inflammation, and can even help to treat a yeast infection.
Coconut oil is also great for your Labrador’s skin and coat. The natural oils lead to shinier fur and less dry skin. If your dog enjoys the taste of the flesh, there’s no harm in giving him a couple of small pieces. Make sure to remove the outer shell and husk as these can be harmful if swallowed.
Cranberries are okay for your Lab to eat, but dogs might not like their tart taste! You may need to mix them into their food if you want to incorporate them into their diet.
Cranberries are a superfood containing an abundance of vitamins C, E, and K, manganese, and fiber.
They have anti-inflammatory properties and this study showed that antioxidant capacity was significantly increased in animal organs after being given cranberry juice.
These little fruits help to keep cancer at bay and boost the immune system. They have antibacterial properties to help to prevent and control urinary tract infections, as evidenced in this study.
They can be given raw, cooked, or dried but avoid cranberry juice as it contains too much sugar.
Although you are more likely to find cucumbers in the vegetable aisle in the grocery store, they are technically fruit. Hence, it’s inclusion here!
It doesn’t really matter though, as they have a lot of nutritional value, and they are good for your Labrador to eat.
Cucumbers contain calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin. They are loaded with vitamins B1, C, and K. Their benefits include improving joints and connective tissue and strengthening bones. They can also help to freshen doggie breath!
As they contain around 96% water, they make a great tasty treat in warm weather and will help to keep your Lab hydrated. They are also ideal for overweight dogs as they are low in calories and can boost energy.
Despite the confusion, Labradors can safely eat dates. Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, and they are usually sold dried. The confusion lies with their similar appearance to raisins (dried grapes), which are poisonous to dogs.
Dates are packed with many nutrients and provide several health benefits. They contain lots of fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamins A, B, and C, and disease-fighting antioxidants. They are low in fat, are cholesterol-free, and are good for your Labrador’s heart, eyes, and immune system.
They are, however, high in sugar, so you will need to consider this when feeding to avoid a stomach upset, but they can be good if your Lab needs a quick energy boost during lots of exercise or play. Make sure you remove the pit before feeding to avoid choking or buy ones with the pits already removed!
Labradors can eat kiwi. They are a sweet fruit loaded with vitamin C, potassium, iron, and fiber, providing huge amounts of nutritional benefits.
Their antioxidants help to protect against cancer and strengthen the immune system. They’re also good for the digestive system.
Although the flesh is also safe, it’s hard for your dog to digest. It contains a high amount of insoluble fiber, which can cause a stomach upset. Never feed kiwi fruit whole, but cut them into slices.
Lemon, Lime, & Grapefruit
Although the flesh of lemon, lime, and grapefruit is safe for dogs to eat, they are not recommended due to their high amounts of citric acid.
Too much of these fruits can cause a stomach upset including vomiting and diarrhea. Remember too that the digestive system of your Labrador is much more sensitive than humans!
Lemon, lime, and grapefruit also provide little or no nutritional benefit for your Labrador.
To add to this, most dogs will not like the strong smell of these citrus fruits and won’t even lick them, never mind eat them! If your Labrador does brave it and snaffles a piece, make sure you have removed the peel first.
Also, do not feed the pith (the white parts) or seeds as all of these parts contain compounds called psoralens. These are toxic to dogs, especially if a large enough quantity is consumed. There are far better choices to choose from.
Mango is a refreshing tropical fruit that is popular in the summer. Slices of mango make a sweet, nutritious treat that contains vitamins A, B6, C, and E. They are also full of fiber.
But they do contain a lot of sugar so feed sparingly to your Labrador as too much can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
You should remove the skin as your Lab will find it difficult to digest. The hard pit is a choking hazard, so make sure this is also removed. If the stone is accidentally swallowed, it can cause a serious blockage in your dog’s digestive system. Serve by cutting into bite-sized chunks, and it can also be fed frozen.
Dogs can eat melon, and it’s an excellent source of vitamins, dietary fiber, niacin, folate, and potassium. Its high antioxidant properties are good for promoting healthy cell function and for reducing the risk of cancer and arthritis.
Cantaloupe and honeydew melon are low in calories and high in water content. Small pieces are tasty and refreshing for your Labrador, especially on hot days.
Melon does, however, have high sugar content, so only feed in moderation. The seeds and rind shouldn’t be fed as they are not easily digestible. My dog loves a chunk of melon, especially in the summer.
Nectarines, Peaches & Plums
Nectarines, peaches, plums are good sources of beta-carotene that the body converts to vitamin A which helps maintain healthy skin, teeth, and bones. The fleshy parts are okay for your Lab to eat but avoid the stone to prevent poisoning, choking, or GI blockage.
These stone fruits also contain lots of fiber for healthy digestion, and potassium which is good for heart and kidney disorders. They are also full of antioxidants to ward off cancer and boost overall health and the immune system.
These fruits are quite sugary, so you must consider that if you wish to feed them to your Lab.
So, are olives fruits or vegetables, and why the confusion?
Olives are technically a fruit as they contain seeds and are the fruit of the olive tree. Many people think of them as veggies as they are seen as a vegetable in the culinary world.
They are perfectly safe for dogs to eat, with one or two caveats! Nutritionally, they contain many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and good fats. They are an excellent source of vitamin E, which is good for your Labrador’s eyes and immune system.
A couple of plain, unsalted olives can be a healthy snack for your Lab. But here are the caveats. You will need to remove the pits to prevent choking, blockages, or cracked teeth! Not only are dental costs expensive, but the pits also contain toxic compounds. However, your Labrador would have to ingest a lot of these to suffer serious poisoning.
Oranges & Mandarines (Tangerine, Clementine & Satsuma)
Oranges and mandarins (separate species of citrus fruit) can be given to dogs, but there are some warnings!
And just in case you were wondering, tangerines, clementines, and satsumas are all hybrids of mandarins.
All of these fruits are loaded with vitamin C which can benefit your dog’s immune system and flush out toxins. They also contain fiber and potassium.
Now for the caveats. Like other citrus fruits, your Labrador may not like the acidic zing of oranges! However, if you find you have a citrus-loving pooch, only give a tiny amount due to their high sugar content and tartness. Too much sugar and citric acid can cause an upset stomach.
You must only feed the flesh part of the orange as the leathery peel is hard for your Lab to digest. Also, the seeds and the white pith contain toxic compounds, so avoid these. My dog turns her head away after the slightest sniff. She certainly doesn’t care for oranges!
Labs can eat pears. This fruit is high in potassium, vitamins A, C, and K, and loaded with fiber. Pears 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.
Pears contain a high amount of sugar so feed sparingly, especially if your Labrador needs to lose a few pounds! However, a few slices throughout the week can be a healthy and nutritious treat. Like apples, the core and seeds will need to be removed first.
Persimmons are good for dogs as they include a large amount of Vitamin A and C. They also contain many other nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber, potassium, manganese, folic acid, and beta-carotene.
The benefits of persimmons are that they can improve overall health and help to combat cancer. They can also reduce inflammation and help with constipation due to their high amount of fiber. Beta-carotene produces vitamin A in the body and this is good for your Labrador’s eyesight.
It’s okay to give your Lab a small taste of persimmon once or twice a week, and it makes a nice sweet treat. Take precautions with the seeds as these can trigger a stomach upset, so you will need to remove them before feeding.
Although Labradors can eat pineapple, they may dislike its tangy taste! However, pineapple can make a healthy treat as it’s full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are good for your dog’s digestion and immune system. It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that provides anti-inflammatory properties.
If you wish to try your dog with a small piece, remove the prickly peel and crown first. Pineapple is also quite sugary, so only feed sparingly, unless your Lab has quite a taste for this fruit and needs a quick energy boost during a long walk!
Frozen chunks of pineapple make an excellent snack in the summer and will help to keep your Lab hydrated. Avoid canned pineapple as it contains lots of added sugar.
Raspberries are great for dogs as they are low in sugar and calories and contain lots of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
They have anti-inflammatory properties that can help joints. They are good for senior dogs or those with mobility issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia.
Raspberries contain a tiny amount of xylitol. This is a natural sweetener which if consumed in large amounts, can cause death due to its toxicity. However, don’t be put off by this as your Labrador would have to eat an awful lot.
To put this into context, a 10kg dog would have to eat at least 32 cups of raspberries to prove fatal. As the average adult Labradors weighs 3 times this amount, that’s a hell of a lot of raspberries!
My dog loves raspberries, and she enjoys them frozen when the weather is warm.
Strawberries are a delicious fruit to eat. My dog adores them all year round.
They are full of fiber, vitamins C, B1, B6, K, folic acid, potassium, iodine, and magnesium. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acid – alpha-linolenic acid, which keeps your Lab’s skin healthy and his coat shiny.
Strawberries are high in antioxidants. They can help to slow down the aging process, strengthen the immune system, and help with weight management. Despite their sweetness, they are surprisingly low in sugar and calories.
They also contain malic acid, along with apples, that can help keep your dog’s teeth nice and white as it’s a natural enamel whitener.
Watermelons are safe for Labradors to eat, with a couple of precautions. All the fiddly seeds should be removed and don’t feed the rind.
They are, however, full of vitamins A, B6, and C, and fiber to aid digestion. They also contain potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Watermelon contains 92% water, so it’s another great way to help keep your dog hydrated during warm spells. Everyone loves a nice refreshing piece of watermelon in the hot weather, including my dog! Serve by cutting it into cubes.
Can Labradors Eat Fruit?
Now you know all the fruits that your dog can safely eat, you might also be wondering, can Labradors actually eat fruit?
Labradors can eat fruit as dogs have adapted to an omnivorous diet through the domestication process. Dogs also have molars used to grind and crush plant matter such as fruits and vegetables. Although most good quality dog food is maximized for most dogs’ needs, adding fruits is a healthy complement to their diet.
Check out the diagram below, which shows how domestication has influenced “omnivorous” dog characteristics (highlighted in white boxes) and reflects the traditional feast-or-famine lifestyle of the wolf, the dog’s carnivorous ancestor:
Therefore, Labradors can eat both animal and plant foods and remain perfectly healthy.
Should Dogs Eat Fruit?
Almost everything we eat plays a part in keeping us functioning like a well-oiled machine. But what about our pets? We’ve just discovered that dogs can eat fruit but should they?
Labradors should eat fruit as they provide an additional source of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Fruit can be a big health boost for your dog and can help reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases, including cancer.
Fruit helps to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve skin, hair, and eyesight and help with digestion.
Fruits are low in calories and fat and make an excellent choice if your Labrador is struggling with obesity and needs to lose weight. As pet treats can be high in calories, fruits can provide a healthier alternative.
To discover more about the best diet for Labradors, check out this article. It has loads of info on nutrition, types of diet, and exactly what Labradors can and can’t eat.
How to Feed Fruit to Dogs
Here are some guidelines on how to feed fruit to your Labrador:
- Introduce fruit slowly to avoid any tummy troubles!
- Wash the fruit first to get rid of any dirt, bacteria, or remaining pesticides.
- Remove any pits, seeds, or rind. Hazards of these include poisoning, choking, gastrointestinal blockage, stomach upset, or cracked teeth!
- Offer small bite-sized pieces or slices to prevent choking.
- Fruits can be mashed or pureed.
- Frozen fruits are great in the summer and help to keep your dog cool.
- Be wary of canned fruit as many contain sugary syrup.
- Avoid fruit juice due to its high sugar content and/or acidity.
How Much Fruit Can a Dog Eat?
Fruits should only be fed to your Labrador in moderation. As a general guideline, treats that you give your dog should not add up to more than 10% of their total calories for the day. The other 90% should come from dog food that’s healthy and well-balanced.
It’s best to feed fruit to your Labrador like you would any other snack and keep the portion size small.
Recommended Portion Sizes
Below are the recommended fruit portion sizes when feeding your Lab. It’s only a rough guide as exact portions will depend on the size, activity level, health, and age of your dog.
I’ve also included the hazards to avoid for each fruit. I hope you’ll find it useful as a quick reference guide:
|Apple||1-2 slices||Seeds & Core|
|Apricot||1 slice||Leaves, stem & pit|
|Banana||2-3 pieces (1-inch chunks)||Peel|
|Coconut||1 slice||Shell & husk|
|Cranberries||1 dessert spoon|
|Dates||Half a date||Pit|
|Kiwi Fruit||1 slice||Skin|
|Lemon, Lime & Grapefruit||A lick to try!||Peel, pith & seeds|
|Mango||1-2 slices||Peel & pit|
|Melon||1 slice (1-inch chunks)||Seeds & rind|
|Nectarine, Peach & Plum||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Pit|
|Oranges & Mandarines (Tangerine, Clementine & Satsuma)||1 bite-sized segment||Peel, pith & seeds|
|Pear||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Seeds & core|
|Persimmon||2-3 bite-sized pieces||Pit & seeds|
|Pineapple||1-2 bite-sized pieces||Peel & crown|
|Strawberries||Half of a large berry sliced|
|Watermelon||1 slice (1-inch chunks)||Seeds & rind|
What Fruits are Toxic to Dogs?
While many “people” foods that you find in and around your home are perfectly safe for Labradors, some are quite dangerous, so it’s vital to learn which fruits dogs can’t eat. But first, here’s a couple of tips:
Tip! Take care if you grow fruit at home as once it has fallen from the tree and starts to decompose on the ground, it produces ethanol (alcohol). This is an additional toxin to dogs, so they must never be left unsupervised where they have free access to fruit.
Tip! To find out what other foods are toxic to dogs, check out this article, Foods Poisonous to Labradors: Including Hidden Dangers!
Labradors should not eat avocados. The pit, skin, and leaves of avocados contain persin which is a toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Many animals and birds are susceptible to avocado poisoning and although dogs are less prone, serious cases result in a heart attack.
Although there is no evidence that the pulp contains persin, its high-fat content can cause your dog to suffer from pancreatitis, especially if he is sensitive. If you are a lover of Mexican food like me, keep your Lab away from guacamole!
Extreme caution must be given if you decide to give your Labrador 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, although your dog would have to eat a large amount to be poisoned. The pit is also a danger and can cause choking. For these reasons, I don’t recommend feeding your Lab cherries.
Grapes & Raisins
Grapes, raisins, and other dried variants are highly toxic to Labradors.
Scientists have still not identified the exact toxin but it’s known that even a small amount can cause acute kidney failure and subsequent death. If your dog accidentally eats grapes contact your veterinarian urgently as treatment is critical.
Foods containing grapes are all sources of poison so keep your Lab away from products such as baked goods, trail mix, granola, and raisin bran cereal.
Star fruit is an exotic fruit that is extremely toxic to Labradors if ingested in large amounts as it can lead to acute kidney failure.
Similar to rhubarb leaves, it contains soluble 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 in calcium which can lead to acute renal failure.
The exact amount of star fruit that can poison your Labrador is unknown. Although smaller breeds are more at risk, keep star fruit away from your dog and ensure he never gets into the garbage!
Tomatoes are technically a fruit, so we’ll discuss them here!
Although the ripened red fruit of the tomato is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant, as well as the unripened tomato, are toxic.
Green tomatoes contain a substance called solanine. Although your Lab would need to ingest a large amount, solanine poisoning can cause respiratory problems, weakness, tremors, and severe stomach upset, although a large amount would have to be ingested.
We all love to reward our dogs with treats and experiment with new ones, and fruits make a great option. I did promise to tell you about my dog’s 5 favorites, and these are apples, strawberries, raspberries, banana, and melon.
Here are a few takeaways from the article:
- There are many fruits you can safely feed your Lab. Some make better choices than others.
- Know the fruits that are toxic to dogs and don’t allow your Lab access to fallen fruit if you grow your own trees.
- Experiment by feeding slowly and sparingly.
- Dogs can digest fruits as they are omnivores.
- Consult your vet before feeding, especially if your dog has a health condition, allergy, or food intolerance.
Also, consult your veterinary professional if you have any concerns about any aspect of your Lab’s dietary health. I also think it’s essential to monitor your dog’s weight and I like to take my dog to the vet now and again for a check-up.
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