Labradors love food, and it can be tempting to give them a little treat every now and again. Those eyes can sometimes be too much to resist.
And that’s ok, Labradors are able to have the occasional treat as part of a balanced diet, and there are even many ‘human’ foods which can have health benefits for your Labrador, just like they can for you.
In this article, I’m going to look specifically at which fruits Labradors can eat, why they are good for them, how much they should eat, and what you might need to look out for.
I’ve also written an article about which foods are toxic to Labradors which is worth a read too. You can take a look at that here.
There are lots of fruits which your Labrador can eat. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid large citrus fruits like lemons and grapes, and always remove the stone from fruit if it has one. Labradors do find some fruits toxic, so you should always check whether the food is safe for your Labrador before feeding your Labrador new fruit in the future.
Fruits and the 10% treats rule
As a dog owner, you might have heard of the 10% rule. Basically it is often advised that if you keep your Labrador’s intake of treats lower than 10% of their daily calorie intake then they will be fine.
I find this rule quite flimsy and I think you should ignore it when using fruit as treats.
The fruits I’m going to list have great health benefits but many are very low in calories but very high in sugar and fiber.
If you stuck to the 10% rule for fruit your Labrador might be at risk of digestive issues and weight gain, they actually need to eat far less than that.
I’ll give recommendations of quantity for each fruit but just to make that point. A Labrador could eat a whole pack of blueberries every day and still be within the 10% calorie rule limit
Clearly that wouldn’t be good for them, so it’s important to always add a bit of common sense to the 10% rule.
Apples can be a really healthy treat for a Labrador. The key thing here is to remove the apple core.
Apple seeds can be poisonous in large quantities, two cups of ground apple seeds could be fatal to a human. Now, that’s a lot of apple seeds, but consider that your Labrador is a lot smaller than you, even more so if they are a puppy, and it’s not worth taking the risk.
I actually wrote a whole article about apples and Labradors here. So, if you’re interested in all the benefits of apples you should check it out.
In summary, though, apples contain vitamins A, C and K, all of which are great additions to a Labrador’s diet. They also contain fiber, calcium and phosphorus, all of which have health benefits.
You should only feed your Labrador a few segments of apple every few days (assuming they aren’t getting any other treats if they are it should be less than this), as the excessive sugar and fiber in the apples could have negative health effects if they overindulge.
Bananas are another great source of vitamins and minerals for your Labrador. However, just like apples, they do come with a warning.
Your Labrador shouldn’t be allowed to eat the banana peel, it’s difficult for them to digest and excessively high in fiber. But, they can eat the part of the banana that you would eat so make sure it’s peeled first.
If you want lots of detail I wrote a whole article about Labradors and bananas which you can see here.
In summary, bananas contain vitamin C and B6 as well as fiber, magnesium and potassium, all of which will be beneficial for your Labradors health in modest quantities.
There’s no need to feed your Labrador too much banana. Excess banana can lead to bowel issues and weight gain so keep it to a small amount.
A safe amount would be a quarter of a banana every few days (assuming they don’t have other treats). You can always cut it into small segments to make the joy last longer for your Lab.
There’s a lot of berries our Labrador shouldn’t really eat, the ones which are safe are strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.
Blackberries are a great treat for your Labrador, they also often grow naturally in hedgerows you may find on your walk which can be a nice surprise treat for them (and they’ll burn off the excess sugar during the walk).
Blackberries are packed full with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. They also contain fiber and antioxidants from the vitamin C. Antioxidants help to neutralize ‘free radical’, atmos which can cause damage to cells but attaching themselves to them and tricking the body into thinking the cell is an invader. It also helps to reduce inflammation and supports good cognitive function.
Whilst not as high in sugar as other fruits, they are still relatively high for what a Labrador requires. The fiber content could also cause digestive issues if they have too many. I would recommend sticking to three blackberries every few days as a treat (assuming they aren’t receiving other treats too).
A top tip from me would be that if you do find wild blackberries, you can freeze them and they will keep for months no problem. This also offers a little cooling treat for your pooch on hot days.
Blueberries are also great for your Labrador health and probably my favorite berry to use as a treat.
I wrote a whole article on blueberries here which you can check out if you’re interested in the detailed health benefits of blueberries for Labradors.
Blueberries are great because they contain loads of fantastic vitamins and minerals inside such a small little package. They are also very low in calories and have good fiber content.
The only danger is overfeeding your Labrador blueberries as the sugar and fiber content will upset their digestive system and cause weight gain if eaten in excessive amounts.
That brings me to my second favorite thing about blueberries. Their natural small size, perfect for a treat. You don’t need to slice them up and you can easily carry them around without any mess.
I’d recommend no more than 5 to 10 blueberries every three days as a treat for a Labrador, assuming they aren’t receiving any additional treats as well.
The first thing to say is that you need to remove the stone from any stone fruit. It’s dangerous to Labradors, stones can be toxic and at the very least they are a choking threat.
If you remove the stone then the flesh of a peach is a perfectly healthy treat for a Labrador.
These would be fresh peaches, you should feed your Labrador canned peaches as they have excessive amounts of sugar.
Peaches are a great source of vitamins A and C and contain quite a lot of fiber.
They are also extremely juicy, whilst it’s not a health benefit that makes them an even better treat for your Labrador, different from their normal food.
You shouldn’t feed your Labrador much peach. They are high in fiber and may cause a stomach upset.
You can safely feed them 1-2 slices of peach every three days as a treat, assuming they aren’t receiving any other treats too.
Pear cores and seeds should not be fed to your Labrador, but the outer flesh is perfectly fine to eat. Much like apples, pear seeds can be toxic in large enough qualities.
It would take a lot of seeds to do harm but it’s best to avoid this issue altogether as they won’t really get any nutritional value from them anyway.
Pears are full of vitamin A and C and are also a good source of fiber.
Your Labrador will not only enjoy their sweet taste but also the crunchy texture.
I would recommend feeding your Labrador a few segments of apple every few days, assuming they aren’t having other treats during the same period.
You need to remove the stone from the plum. In fact, you need to remove the stone from any fruit which has one because they are toxic to Labradors, and at the very least they could cause digestive issues if eaten anyway.
Once the stone has been removed the remaining flesh of the plum is perfectly safe for you Labrador to eat.
Plums contain vitamins A, C and K as well as fiber, potassium and manganese. All of these are good for your Labrador health, but you do need to be careful with how much plums they eat.
They don’t need much, as plums are high in sugar and fiber excessive amounts are going to damage your Labrador’s health rather than benefit it, potentially causing digestive issues and weight gain.
You should feed your Labrador around 1 – 2 slices of plum every three days, assuming they don’t receive any other treats during the same period.
The last of the three berries I’ve mentioned on this list which Labradors can safely eat (blackberries and blueberries if you missed them), strawberries have lots of health benefits for our Labs.
They are low in calories, packed with vitamin C and have lots of fiber and antioxidants. They are a great treat for a Labrador and also have that extra juicy element that they will love.
But no matter how much they love them, they can’t have too many! The high fiber and sugar content won’t be good for them if they consume too many.
Consider slicing up strawberries into smaller segments for a treat, you can also freeze them to make them last longer.
I would recommend giving your Labrador a maximum of three strawberries every three days, assuming they aren’t getting other treats during the same period.
Some strawberries are larger than others so you should also account for that, it’s you’ve got a pack of great big strawberries then maybe stick to two every three days.
Not the green ones. Green tomatoes are not ripe and they are toxic to Labradors. But they can eat normal red tomatoes, the type you would usually eat.
Tomatoes have lots of vitamins A and C as well as containing lycopene, which reduces the risk of heart disease and supports strong bone growth.
You should only feed your Labrador ripe, red tomatoes with no vines and no leaves. If you do that then they are perfectly healthy for your pooch.
I find that Labrador’s often enjoy little cherry tomatoes. There’s something about their texture which they are intrigued by and often they will just sit with the tomato in their mouth without eating it!
Once they do and the juices burst out they love it, and it’s a healthy snack, so everyone’s a winner.
I would recommend giving your Labrador no more than four cherry tomatoes every three days as a treat, assuming they do not receive other treats during the same period.
The final fruit on my list is watermelon. You may want to remove the hard outer rind of the watermelon before you feed it to them as they may end up eating this too. Whilst it’s not toxic it is quite tough and could lead to digestive problems.
You should also try and remove the seeds from the fruit before you feed it to your Labrador.
Watermelon is low in calories and is packed with goodness, including vitamins A, B6 and C. It also contains plenty of potassium and fiber.
Watermelon is also not too high in sugar as the fiber content prevents the sugar from beginning to be released too quickly in the body.
This fruit is also 92% water, so it is a great choice for rehydrating your Lab on a hot day, or as a treat at the end of a trip to the beach (where Labradors can get particularly dehydrated).
You should feed your Labrador no more than 4 to 6 cubes of watermelon every few days, assuming they aren’t getting any other treats during the same period.
Should my Labrador eat canned fruit
Your Labrador shouldn’t eat canned fruit.
The fruits above all make healthy natural treats you can introduce to your Labradors diet. But canned versions of them are likely to be loaded with sugar which is going to be very bad for your Labrador’s health.
Stick to feeding your Labrador fresh, natural versions of these fruits, in small quantities and they should be able to both enjoy them and receive their health benefits.
A final note – All Labradors are different
I’ve given a general guide on the fruits I know to be safe for Labradors to eat and how much I think the average Labrador can safely be fed.
It is important to make clear that all Labradors are different and some have certain intolerances and allergies to foods that most Labradors will be perfectly fine eating.
My own Labrador (George) would be unable to eat most of what I listed above, certainly in those quantities, as he was allergic to a wide range of different foods perfectly safe for the average Lab to eat.
So I know how important it is that every Labrador is treated as an individual.
Older Labradors may also be more susceptible to irritable bowels when eating high fiber fruits so you may want to feed a senior Lab less fruit than I have recommended above.
Use the above as a guide but always monitor your Labrador for a day or so whenever you give them a new type of food.
Check for unusual bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or general discomfort and if you have any concerns then you should consult with your vet.