Can Dogs Eat Pineapple? Here’s What Veterinarians Want You to Know
Pineapple is a healthy treat for people—but is it safe for dogs? Here's what to know about sharing human food with your furry friends.
Sharing human food with dogs
Many people like to share their favorite treats with their four-legged companions. And pineapple is a delicious, refreshing fruit enjoyed worldwide.
But not all human foods are good for dogs, even the healthiest fruits and vegetables.
Grapes and chocolate in particular are toxic to dogs, even in small doses. Parts of some fruits and veggies can also contain toxic compounds, pose choking hazards, or cause digestive distress.
It can be confusing to know which foods are safe to share with furry friends. And some online resources claim there are health and behavioral perks from feeding dogs fruits and veggies.
A few sources, like Animal Planet, in particular claim that feeding dogs pineapple discourages coprophagia, or eating feces.
Here’s what you need to know about whether pineapple is safe for dogs and whether there are any reasons to start feeding your furry friend this tropical fruit.
Why are some foods unsafe for dogs?
In general, dogs and cats do not differ much from humans in terms of how they digest and absorb food in the body, says Erin Anderson, associate veterinarian at DVM Pets First Animal Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.
However, something is considered toxic or harmful to an animal if their metabolism is not equipped to deal with it, she adds.
“Certain food is harmful to pets because they don’t have the same type of, or amounts of enzymes that we do, to process the food into non-toxic waste products,” says Anderson. Enzymes are compounds the body uses to help break down nutrients in foods.
Anderson says how much food a dog eats also plays a large role in determining whether it will be harmful.
As an example, she explains, small quantities of something like milk chocolate probably won’t have serious consequences but they could in high doses.
“Other things, like common pain relievers such as ibuprofen, are very harmful even in small amounts,” she says.
“If a human were to eat enough of these ‘toxic’ foods they would suffer illness too.”
Some foods also contain inedible parts such as seeds, pits, hulls, peels, or tough skins that can cause choking hazards, be difficult to digest, or can block the esophagus.
Can dogs eat pineapple?
“Dogs can eat pineapple,” says Karen Overall, VMD, associate professor at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Anderson echos this: “Pineapple is not something that has a specific toxic dose associated with it. It is not known to cause any harm to pets.”
But some parts of pineapples may pose health risks, in particular for smaller dogs or in large quantities.
“The more fibrous parts like skin and stem could theoretically cause gastrointestinal obstruction if enough of it was eaten by a smaller dog,” says Anderson. That means it is a good idea to remove pineapple stems, skin, leaves, crowns, core, and peel before feeding pineapple to a dog.
While the flesh of pineapple may be safe for dogs to eat, experts say unsweetened pineapple isn’t that appealing to most dogs.
So unless it has some added syrup or sweetener, dogs are unlikely to consume enough pineapple to cause health problems.
“Many dogs and cats will not find it tasty enough to consume in large enough quantity to cause harm,” says Anderson.
Does eating pineapple stop dogs from eating poop?
According to the experts, there is some anecdotal evidence that feeding dogs pineapple or giving it to them as a supplement may discourage them from eating feces.
But Anderson and other experts say there have not been any studies into the efficacy of pineapple for the habit—known as coprophagia—and most vets know someone who has tried it with unimpressive results.
The theory is that pineapple gives stool a bad taste and that will discourage dogs from eating it, says Tina Wismer, DVM, senior director, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center—but there are no scientific studies that prove this.
Even if pineapple did make a dog’s feces taste worse, adds Overall, it is unlikely to discourage them from continuing to eat it.
“Digested or bad tasting substances do not deter dogs,” she says.
Is pineapple good for dogs?
There may be some health benefits associated with feedings dogs pineapple.
“There is some anecdotal evidence saying the flesh of the [pineapple] fruit can help with digestion,” says Anderson.
That is likely because the enzyme bromelain found in pineapple makes it easier for dogs to absorb proteins.
But there is little to no research to prove that feeding dogs pineapple has any real health advantages.
And only one study published in 2017 in the Journal of Nutritional Science tested the benefits of giving dogs supplements that contain bromelain.
This study concluded that there were no health benefits associated with taking the supplement and no reason to take it.
As carnivores dogs also don’t really need to eat fruits and vegetables like pineapple to fulfill their nutritional needs.
Common foods unsafe for dogs
Most foods humans eat can also be safely enjoyed by canine companions. But a few foods and drinks contain certain chemicals that can be toxic or harmful to dogs.
Avocado contains persin, a toxin that can cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs.
The compound allium, found in onions, chives, garlic, and leeks, is poisonous to dogs.
Cocoa seed-derived products
Products derived from cocoa seeds such as coffee, chocolate, and caffeine also contain methylxanthines, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, excessive urination, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, and death in dogs.
Grapes and raisins
For unclear reasons, grapes and raisins can also cause kidney failure in dogs. Consuming macadamia nuts can also cause dogs to develop hyperthermia, tremors, and vomiting.
Wismer adds that citrus fruits can also pose health risks for dogs: “The stems, leaves, peels, fruit, and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation, and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts.”
Most inedible, fiber-dense fruit and vegetable seeds, cores, crowns, peels, stems, leaves, and skins should also be removed to make them dog-friendly.
Pear seeds in particular are known to contain traces of the poison cyanide.
Foods with xylitol
Eating foods with xylitol, a natural sweetener, can also cause mild symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea in dogs but in higher doses, it can cause liver failure and death.
Raspberries contain a small amount of xylitol so limit serving size to less than a cup at one time.
It’s also a good idea to not allow dogs to eat tomatoes, whose green portions contain the toxin solanine.
Alcohol is also a big no-no for dogs and even in small doses it can be lethal to dogs.
Other problematic foods
Many animal organizations also recommend not allowing dogs to eat yeast dough, salty foods or salt, and raw and undercooked animal products such as meat, bones, and eggs.
Feeding dogs large doses of dairy products or coconut and coconut oil can also give dogs digestive problems and loose stool in dogs.
Other tips for feeding dogs pineapple
Experts warn to be careful when giving dogs sugar-enriched foods because—as with humans—eating too much sugar can have negative health effects such as weight gain and increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Even unsweetened pineapple contains quite a bit of natural sugars, so it is best given to dogs in moderation.
“Dogs have a sweet tooth and sugar is not any better for them than it is for us,” says Overall.
It is also important to allow dogs to eat sugar-rich fruits like pineapple in moderation because it can rack up excess calories.
“Like with all added treats, snacks should equate to no more than five percent of their daily caloric intake, so keep portion sizes small,” says Wismer.
To avoid choking hazards it may also be a good idea to cut pineapple flesh into smaller pieces before feeding it to dogs, especially small dogs, and remove any tough parts of the fruit.
“We advise cutting the pineapple into bite-size pieces as well as removing the core,” says Wismer.
Whenever giving a dog new foods also monitor the dog to see whether these introductions cause problems such as diarrhea or vomiting. Though most can, not all dogs can tolerate pineapple well.
How to stop dogs from eating poop
Overall explains that research has found two things that drive a dog to eat feces—living with and being raised with another dog who eats feces (a learning component) and whether a dog’s parents did it (a genetic component).
She says the only real way to reduce the habit once it is established is to limit access: Pick up feces right away and keep your dog away from temptation.
You may be able to prevent your dog from developing the problem, she says, by keeping mom and pups very clean and away from feces.
Other tips for feeding dogs fruits and veggies
Some fruits and veggies are high in fat, calories, and sugar such as nuts and many tropical fruits.
But many fruits and veggies are excellent options for dog parents looking to give their pups something nutritious or flavorful.
“Veggies such as carrots, celery, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, or cooked (canned) pumpkin are all good snack options,” says Wismer.
(Check out these plant-based trends for 2021.)
“They can either be offered raw—other than pumpkin—or cooked; just avoid seasonings if you are offering them cooked. Apples, bananas, cucumbers, cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, and kiwi are all [also] okay to give to your pet.”
Wismer notes that adding cucumbers to your pet’s water or making a doggie smoothie with dog-friendly fruits is a fun, nutritious way to spoil your pups.
For a healthy, refreshing drink dog parents can try tepache, kombucha’s healthier, pineapple-based cousin.
- American Kennel Club: "Can dogs eat pineapple?"
- American Kennel Club: "Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can't Eat"
- Erin Anderson, DVM, associate veterinarian at DVM Pets First Animal Hospital in Richmond, Virginia
- Journal of Nutritional Science: "Effect of Enzyme Supplements on Macronutrient Digestibility by Healthy Adult Dogs"
- Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB and associate professor at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Prince Edward Island, Canada
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
- Tina Wismer, DVM, senior director, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
- FoodData Central: "Pineapple, raw, all varieties"