By now, we all know that fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet. The same goes for our pets, who can benefit from the added vitamins and minerals found in small amounts of fresh produce. Allowing pets to have a bite of banana, a scoop of cooked sweet potato, or a few steamed green beans here and there is something pet owners can feel good about, and a treat that many pets enjoy immensely.
One can always have too much of a good thing, of course, and when it comes to pitted fruits, such as peaches, cherries, and nectarines, this is certainly the case. Pets and pitted fruit toxicity is a serious issue that all owners of fruit loving pets should be aware of. Here’s how to give your pet all the benefits of these nutritious fruits while they’re in season, without exposing them to a potential toxin.
Pitted fruits, also called stone fruits, are aptly named for the large, hard seed located in their centers. These seeds contain a compound called amygdalin, which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide, a powerful toxin for both people and pets when ingested. Because the amygdalin is located in the center of the pit, the pit must be chewed and broken open in order to expose the toxin.
The toxicity of stone fruits depends on the size of the pet, and the amount consumed. If you think that your pet has ingested one or more pits, watch for signs of cyanide poisoning, such as:
- Increased salivation
- Bright red gums
- Rapid or difficulty breathing
Cyanide poisoning is a life-threatening emergency. Give us a call and bring your pet in right away if they are displaying these signs, or take them to the nearest veterinary emergency hospital after hours.
Pets and Pitted Fruit
Besides cyanide poisoning, there are other reasons to exercise caution when it comes to pets and pitted fruit. Many types of pits have rough, uneven edges that can cause damage to a pet’s mouth, esophagus, or intestinal tract when eaten, or lead to a chipped or broken tooth. And, because the pits are technically inedible, they can put pets at risk for a dangerous intestinal obstruction if swallowed.
Although these fruits come with a laundry list of warnings, there’s no reason fruit loving pets should miss out on the vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, and other health benefits of these sweet treats. Simply wash and cut off a small portion of the flesh as a treat for your pet, and never leave pets unattended near pitted fruits (or any food for that matter).
If you have pitted fruit trees on your property, be sure to either keep pets separated from them or clean up fallen fruits daily to prevent your pet from getting a hold of them.
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