Pomegranates are full of antioxidants, potassium, and fiber. As you’re enjoying pomegranates, you may wonder if dogs can eat these tasty treats. Although pomegranate extract can have health benefits for dogs, you’ll want to avoid letting your dog snack down on pomegranates.
Are Pomegranates Inherently Toxic for Dogs?
Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC, explains that pomegranates are not toxic to dogs. However, that doesn’t mean that the fruit is safe for dogs to eat. “As the saying goes: ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,'” he says. Dr. Klein explains that “the pieces of the rind and stem can cause obstruction if ingested by a dog, especially smaller dogs.” Because of this, it’s important to not feed pomegranate rinds and stems to your dog. When you’re preparing pomegranates for yourself, make sure to put the rinds into a trash or compost container that your dog can’t access.
Can Dogs Eat Pomegranate Seeds?
The part of the pomegranates that most people eat is the seeds. “The seeds can also cause gastrointestinal issues,” Dr. Klein says. He notes diarrhea and/or vomiting are the most common symptoms to watch for, especially if a dog consumes a moderate to a high number of seeds.
In addition, Dr. Klein advises that because “the seeds don’t break down easily, they can also cause a digestive tract blockage.” With that in mind, it’s safer to avoid giving fresh pomegranates to your dog. Also, though chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds are a popular human snack, avoid giving them to your dog because of the seeds and because chocolate is toxic to canines.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Pomegranates
If your dog gets into your pomegranate seeds, chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds, or pomegranate rinds, consult a veterinarian right away. If your regular clinic isn’t open, you should contact your closest emergency veterinarian to determine if your dog needs to be treated.
Although you don’t want to feed pomegranates directly to your dog, there are potential health benefits to giving dogs pomegranate extract as a supplement. A 2017 peer-reviewed study suggests pomegranate peel extract can aid in a dog’s digestive health. Dr. Klein explained that the study showed that in the proper dosage, the extract “may have an impact on hindgut fermentation,” which is a digestive process, “and antioxidant status in dogs.”
This is making pomegranate extract a popular nutraceutical. Another study shows that some fruits, including pomegranates, are natural antioxidants and can be beneficial to include in dog food. Specifically regarding pomegranate extract, the researchers found that the inclusion of pomegranate in dog food can be effective in slowing lipid oxidation, keeping food fresh and nutritious for longer.
If you’re adding a pomegranate extract supplement to your dog’s diet, look for products that are manufactured specifically for dogs. If you’re using a pomegranate extract that is marketed as a supplement for people, it’s important to read the ingredients list very closely. When looking at the supplement’s ingredients, “make sure the product does not contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs,” Dr. Klein says. If you have questions or concerns about adding pomegranate supplements to your dog’s diet, speak with your dog’s veterinarian.