Plums are a safe and juicy treat for us, but they're a mixed bag for dogs. While the fleshy part of the plum is okay for pups to nibble on, the pit and stems are extremely hazardous to their health.
The pit and stems of a plum contain a compound called amygdalin (also known as cyanogenic glycosides) which is toxic to dogs. When eaten, this substance breaks down into hydrogen cyanide, which can disrupt cell respiration and hamper oxygen flow in your dog's body. This could lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and difficulty breathing. Severe cases could even result in shock or death.
On top of this, the pit can create an intestinal blockage if swallowed whole, which may lead to surgery.
On the flip side, the flesh of the plum is low in amygdalin compared to the pit and stems, and is generally safe for dogs to eat in moderation. The flesh of a plum even contains healthy nutrients, like antioxidants and essential vitamins such as C and K. Just be VERY careful to remove every last trace of the pit and stem before letting your furry friend dig in.
If you're picking plums from a tree, make sure they're pesticide-free to avoid additional health risks.
If you're still nervous about offering your dog plums, no one could blame you! As an alternative, you can stick to more thoroughly dog-friendly fruits like watermelon or blueberries. Just remember to remove any seeds before serving.
As always, before introducing a new food item into your pet's diet, consult with your veterinarian first. If your dog eats plums (or any food) and is showing signs of illness such as lethargy, diarrhoea, or vomiting, reach out to your veterinarian immediately. If they require veterinary care related to eating any unsafe foods, dog insurance can help cover the cost of treatment.