If I had to categorize pomegranates, I’d call them the fun fruit. These round fruits are packed full of small, jewel-toned, pearl-like juicy seeds that are equally delicious as they are beautiful.
But as you stuff your face with these tiny seeds, you may wonder if your dog can enjoy some pomegranate too? Can dogs enjoy pomegranates as a treat? The answer is actually not a simple yes or no. Read on to learn all about dogs and pomegranates.
Fun fact: The number of seeds in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to about 1,400!
Can dogs have pomegranates?
Yes and no. The answer is complicated because pomegranates are themselves fairly complex – the fruit contains many different parts, including the skin, flesh, and seeds. While each of these parts is rich in polyphenols – compounds packed with antioxidants – not all of them can or should be eaten by your dog.
First of all, the skin and flesh should be discarded. Just as you would avoid eating raw, hard pomegranate peel and the white, thin, spongy flesh yourself, your dog should too.
Now the seeds. Raw pomegranate seeds aren’t toxic to dogs, and they are generally safe in moderation, but they can make your dog sick. Anything more than a few seeds can cause digestive issues like vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Why? The reason is two-fold. Pomegranates are high in fiber, and too much fiber in a dog’s diet can leave them feeling ill. They also contain tannins, which can make a dog sick to their stomach.
If you really want to give your dog a taste of these ruby red, sweet little seeds, give them only a couple and monitor them for signs of gastric distress.
You might also decide that a small taste is simply not worth the trouble, and refrain from giving them any altogether – that’s fine too! Better safe than sorry.
What are tannins?
Tannins are complex chemical substances that are found in some fruits and trees, including pomegranate. A dog’s stomach doesn’t react well to the compound, so eating too much of a food containing tannins can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Are pomegranates good for dogs?
Pomegranates themselves are healthy, and often considered a superfruit. They contain major nutritional benefits, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. And the best part is that these nutrients are found in all parts of the fruit including the skin, flesh, and seeds!
But canines and people are different. Our bodies don’t break things down in the same ways, and what’s beneficial to us humans might not be so great for our beloved dogs.
Since dogs should only eat a couple fresh seeds, they won’t reep much of the health benefits pomegranates have to offer. A pomegranate’s nutrients are best offered to pets in fruit, juice, or extract form. But more on that later!
What are the health benefits of pomegranate?
Here are some of the nutritional benefits of pomegranates:
Vitamin C: This antioxidant boosts your dog’s immune system, supports healthy aging, and reduces inflammation. It also improves brain function in older dogs.
Folate: Also known as folic acid, this is an essential mineral that supports normal metabolic functions such as DNA synthesis and red blood cell production. It also helps regulate tissue growth and immune system function.
Fiber: Fiber promotes healthy bowel movements, colon health, and relieves your dog of constipation. It also aids in weight management.
Vitamin K: An essential vitamin that aids in blood clotting and coagulation. It also helps ward off heart disease.
Are pomegranates bad for dogs?
The skin and flesh of pomegranates are technically edible, but they’re hard to digest and can cause an obstruction. They also pose a choking hazard if not chewed properly.
Pomegranate leaves are not edible for dogs and can contain toxins, so don’t let your dog go wild around a pomegranate tree.
But what about the seeds? While dogs can eat a few seeds, large quantities of them can cause a stomachache or even a blockage, since they don’t break down easily.
What do I do if my dog eats a whole pomegranate?
If your dog eats a whole pomegranate, don’t freak out. Pomegranates are not poisonous, so it’s highly unlikely your dog will experience organ failure or death after ingesting the fruit.
Pomegranates will usually only cause digestive problems, like a day or two of gastrointestinal issues, given the extra fiber and tannin levels. Chances are your dog will even throw the pomegranate up on his own.
However, it’s important to note that hard parts of the fruit, like the peel, are a choking hazard, and that they can cause intestinal obstruction, which can be dangerous. This is especially true if you have a small dog or puppy.
Contact your vet and follow their instructions. You will most likely be asked to monitor your dog for an internal blockage, and keep them hydrated in case of vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Are pomegranate seeds poisonous to dogs?
No, pomegranate seeds are not poisonous for dogs.
As mentioned above, the seeds contain tannins and a good amount of fiber, which can cause gastrointestinal issues.
The more serious concern with pomegranate seeds and dogs is the possibility of a bowel obstruction, especially if you have a small dog or puppy. If your dog eats a large amount of seeds, there’s a chance those seeds will get stuck in their intestinal tract.
Why are pomegranates used in some dog products?
If you’ve been perusing the aisles of your local pet store, you’ve probably come across dog food and treat varieties that contain pomegranate.
It’s true, this nutrient-packed fruit is gaining popularity as an ingredient in dog food, treats, and dietary supplements too! It’s become a popular trend.
That’s because when the fruit is measured out and cooked into high quality dog products by professionals, it’s totally fine for canines. You’ll see dried pomegranate or pomegranate extracts in the ingredients list. That’s right – it can be easier for your dog to consume processed pomegranate in dog foods and treats than raw.
Here are a few dog products that contain pomegranate that you might like to try:
The benefits of pomegranate extract for dogs
Pomegranates are a superfood! Studies have been done on pomegranate extracts and their effect on dogs. They’re believed to help reduce inflammation, promote joint health, even treat oral health issues like halitosis, also known as stinky dog breath.
Using the extract or dried form of pomegranate in products doesn’t upset a dog’s stomach the way eating the fruit raw can. Plus, they’re not so rich in tannins, and they can use parts of the fruit that dogs shouldn’t eat in fresh form, like the peel.
The extract provides all of the health benefits of pomegranate without the risk. It’s a win/win!
Can my dog drink pomegranate juice?
Yes, you can give your dog pomegranate juice – if it’s fresh. There’s no peel, no flesh, no tannins, but that doesn’t mean there are no problems!
Pomegranate juice is often high in sugar, whether it’s added or natural sugars, which isn’t good for your dog. If you bought your pomegranate juice commercially, it might even contain other ingredients, like xylitol, or other flavorings and additives. That’s a big no.
Stick to fresh pomegranate juice if you want to allow your dog a lick or two. Remember to always serve foods high in sugar sparingly to avoid increasing your dog’s risk of obesity and type II diabetes.
But let’s be real, it’s probably best to just drink the juice yourself.
Can dogs eat pomegranate skin?
Dogs should not eat pomegranate skin.
Not only does the skin, also known as the peel, contain huge amounts of fiber, which makes it difficult for dogs to digest, but it can also cause bowel obstruction or turn into a choking hazard.
If you give your dog pomegranate, remove the skin and discard it so that it’s out of reach from your dog.
How to feed pomegranate to your dog:
There are a few things to keep in mind when preparing pomegranate for your dog’s consumption. As always, check with your veterinarian before introducing a new food to your dog, and don’t forget to get their recommendation on serving size.
To safely serve pomegranate to your dog, do the following:
- Remove all of the leaves. Pomegranates don’t typically come with leaves attached, but just in case, don’t feed these pieces to your dog – compost them instead!
- Wash and rinse the pomegranate. Rinse your pomegranate thoroughly to wash off any bacteria, pesticides, or dirt.
- Make a thin slice on the bottom of the pomegranate. Use a sharp knife to slice 1/4-inch off of the stem end of the pomegranate. The bit of the pomegranate that looks like a crown should be on top.
- Cut and remove the crown of the pomegranate. Cut a circle around the crown of the pomegranate and remove the crown.
- Make shallow, vertical cuts on the outside of the pomegranate. There are gentle ridges along the outside of the pomegranate. Cut along those ridges, just through the red part of the pomegranate skin. Make sure the cuts are shallow, from top to bottom, and you don’t go all the way through. You should make about 6 cuts.
- Pry open the pomegranate. Use your hands. Each section you cut should open easily, exposing the seeds. Do this over a bowl in case any seeds fall out.
- Pry the seeds away from the peel and membranes. Use your hands to pry away the seeds from the peel and membranes. Make sure you do this over a bowl to catch the seeds. Voila!
Tips: Some people like to fill the bowl with cold water so the seeds float to the top. Others like to use a wooden spoon to gently pat the peel to knock the seeds out. Both methods are fine! Choose whatever method works best for you.
While pomegranates do contain some good nutrients, your dog will be eating such a small amount that it’s really unnecessary to push them too hard. Your dog can get those same nutrients from other fruits that are safer, and just as tasty.
But, if you really want to add pomegranate to your dog’s diet – or perhaps you just can’t resist your cute canine’s pleading eyes – then try one of these ideas.
- Juice: Fresh pomegranate juice made from scratch and given in moderation can be ok for dogs. Give your dog a lick or two, or mix the juice into kibble or wet food. Note that you should skip the juice altogether if your dog is overweight, suffers from diabetes, or if your vet says so.
- Blended: If you’re making a dog-friendly smoothie, you can throw a few pomegranate seeds into the blender, along with healthy, safer fruits – we like bananas, apples, and blueberries!
- Frozen: Freeze pomegranate seeds to make a refreshing, tasty snack. Purée the seeds and mix them with yogurt before freezing everything in an ice cube tray. Perfect on a hot summer day!
- Food Topper: Liven up any meal with pomegranate seeds sprinkled into the bowl as a food topper. It’s a simple way to serve your dog pomegranate, and a great way to ensure they only consume a small amount.