Can Dogs Eat Prunes? (Dried or for Constipation)

Can Dogs Eat Prunes? Photo of a dog with dried and non-dried prunes by its side.

Dogs always want to eat everything that we do (whether we want to share or not). Curious as to whether your dog can share your snack of prunes? Here’s what you need to know!

Dogs should not eat prunes as they are loaded with sugar and fiber. Both of these things can shock your dog’s digestive system and cause symptoms like diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and more.

While one prune won’t hurt your dog, multiple can. The best thing is to avoid them altogether to be on the safe side.

Will prunes hurt my dog?

Most humans will consider prunes for their dog if they use them for their own needs, such as constipation. Dogs are the same, right? Wrong!  Prunes can, and will, hurt your dog. Our digestive systems work very differently, so their impact on the body will also work differently.

Specifically, the flesh of the prune and the skin are okay. However, the sugar and fiber content is going to be what hurt your dog. Dogs don’t tolerate much sugar or fiber. Prunes are high in both. So, unless your dog is bigger than you, it’ll certainly cause a problem for his digestion.

As well, some prune manufacturers will grind up the pits and add them to the prunes. Or leave the pit in entirely. These can cause health problems, too (more on that below). That being said, the sugar and fiber content are likely to be problems sooner than the pit would be in most cases.

Are prunes toxic for dogs?

The prune itself isn’t toxic to dogs. Prunes are like most fruits for your dog — a neutral party. They are neither healthy nor toxic. This makes many believe that they can give their dog a prune for a treat, but it’s not a good idea for the reasons listed above.

The prune pit is considered toxic, however, since it does contain cyanide. If your dog somehow ate enough of the pits to have cyanide poisoning, this could be toxic. Since they’re not literally eating a bag of pits, the problems with the prune’s nutrients themselves would present first! It is important to note that the pit itself is toxic, so keep that in mind.

How bad can prunes be for dogs?

In most cases, you’ll notice that dogs will have the biggest problem with digestion. Since they are loaded with fiber, this will…shall we say, “speed up” the digestive cycle, so you’ll have a dog with a very upset stomach, possible vomiting, and diarrhea. The sugar content may give them a serious case of the zoomies, too.

As we mentioned above, the danger as far as toxins are concerned is in the pit itself. If there is one thing that you can do for your dog’s health, if you’re set on giving him a prune every once in a while, is to ensure that there’s no pit. The pit can also do its own harm, cyanide aside, so keep this in mind.

Another danger, if you are giving your dog prunes regularly, is that the laxative effect will override his own physical digestive system. That means that you’ll need to put him on laxatives to help him stay consistent. This can be challenging to do because they need to be prescribed by a vet. Not to mention expensive!

Are there health benefits of prunes for dogs?

No, there are no health benefits when it comes to feeding your dog prunes. Many people will eat them when they need to go to the bathroom or are dealing with constipation, but they should not be given to their dog for the same purpose if you notice that your dog hasn’t “gone #2 in a while”. 

While some human food may have health benefits for dogs, if approached with the right focus and portioning, prunes do more harm than good — even if you just give them a few.

Can dogs have prune juice?

Prune juice must be safer for your dog because it doesn’t contain the same flesh of the prune itself, right? It’s an excellent thought but incorrect. Sure, it doesn’t have the same effect as a laxative as the actual fruit would, but there’s also no health benefit to having it.

As well, prune juice is made for humans. Since we have different tastes than dogs, you can bet that prune juice will have a high sugar content — both natural and refined sugar. This will further worsen your dog’s sugar content and lead to problems like obesity, the potential for diabetes, and severe cases of the jitters.

Can dogs eat dried prunes?

No, dogs can’t eat dried prunes. Due to the preservation process, these often have even more sugar, and the risks mentioned above are still present in dried prunes. As well, many tend to feed more dried prunes than whole prunes. This will mean larger problems!

What do I do if my dog ate prunes?

Above, we’re assuming that you are deliberately feeding your dog prunes. If you’ve discovered that your dog has helped himself to your snack, then don’t panic! If he’s just had one or two, he’ll be okay. However, if he’s eaten an entire bag or plateful, you might want to give your vet a call. Keep in mind that the smaller your dog is, the “more” they eat.

If you’re concerned, you can feed your dog a bland diet to help push them through the digestive system faster. This would include, funny enough, the same food that you would feed them if you were trying to help them with constipation. More on that below! In many cases, the best approach is just to wait and see unless your vet says otherwise!

Whether your dog ate half of 1 or 5, you’ll want to keep a close eye out for symptoms that he might be struggling with the sugar and fiber content.

Symptoms to watch for of a prune problem

More likely than not, your dog will react to the prune. They’re just very potent in your dog’s short and fast-working digestive system. Common signs include:

  • No appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

Any time your dog has these symptoms, you’ll want to ensure that he’s reacting to the prune (and not something else, instead). If you know it’s just the prunes going through him, you can safely feed him a bland diet (more below). Or, call your vet. 

If the symptoms are severe and/or your dog seems to be in real distress, you might want to bring them in to see if there is anything that your vet can do to help ease their comfort. 

If your dog has eaten a lot of them, especially dried prunes, or has eaten a lot of pits, there is another complication. This is an intestinal blockage. Since they can move so quickly through the system, they’ll effectively dam up in their intestines, and they might need emergency surgery. 

Can prunes help my dog poop?

This is a common reason for many dog parents to consider it since humans use it! Technically prunes will help your dog poop. But it will be an overachieving snack and will end up causing severe digestive concerns and a rather nasty round of diarrheaPrunes are not intended as a laxative for dogs. 

Unless you are working on the advice of your vet, who is familiar with their dog and can recommend the proper prune portioning for their safety, you should never intentionally give our dog prunes to help him poop.

Alternative to prunes for dogs

So, are there alternatives that you can consider for dogs to help them go poop? Yes. These are going to be, as mentioned, the same ones that you would feed to your dog after he accidentally eats prunes!  

The first option is going to be plain white rice. Prepared with no sugar, salt, stock, etc., this can be a great choice when you want to help push the prunes through his system and help them recover faster. 

Another option is plain, mashed pumpkin (canned, ideally). Just make sure it is plain pumpkin and not a pie mix or anything like that. Pumpkin has health benefits, too, so it’s a great, safe choice that will help him get his stomach back in shape faster.

Lastly, plain white bread. Ideally homemade since storebought bread can have extra sugar in it. Rip it up into small pieces and feed it to him.

All of these are bulk foods, so they’ll help absorb the food that’s digesting, and they’ll also help offer some comfort to his system as he pushes it all out. It won’t stop diarrhea and vomiting, mind you, but it will help ease it faster. If he has no appetite, don’t force him to. Only give him these foods if he will accept them.

Summing up

While prunes aren’t toxic for dogs, they are not a good snack. Their sugar and fiber content can give dogs digestion problems.

In some cases, it can lead to an intestinal blockage, which will mean that your dog will need surgery.

Prunes should never be used as a laxative for your dog.

Prunes can lead to no end of stomach and bathroom troubles for your dog, so make sure to help him steer clear!

Know someone prone to giving their dog prunes? Save them the (stinky) mess and share this with them!

Photo of author
Andre Neves

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.