Giving cats and dogs a vegetarian diet is becoming more and more popular. It’s not something we can heartily recommend, but if you’re determined to do it, there are good ways and bad ways to go about it. So we get a lot of questions about dogs eating plant products. One that’s been coming in a lot recently is, “Can dogs eat Asian pears?” So we researched the question, and here is what we found.
Can Dogs Eat Asian Pears?
Yes, dogs can eat Asian Pears. But there’s a limit to how much they can safely have, and the pears need to be prepared properly.
The reason this is a serious issue is that pears are a sweet fruit, which means they have sugar in them. Dogs are not meant to eat sugar. Just think about it. When in the wild would a dog ever eat a piece of fruit? They don’t have hands to pick them and they don’t have the right kind of digestive tracts to digest them.
We eat things our bodies are not optimized to digest as well. But we know that we shouldn’t overdo it with such foods. The same goes for your dog. Dogs can tolerate a limited amount, but the important word here is “tolerate.”
So don’t overdo it.
What Exactly Are Asian Pears?
Asian pears are almost exactly like the pears we are used to here in the United States. They are slightly different in appearance. They have the same color as what we’re used to but a slightly different shape. The pears westerners are used to are fatter at the bottom. Asian pears are widest at about the middle point and taper down more dramatically than more common pear types.
They also have different textures and flavors. Asian pears are juicy, like western pears but they are somewhat crisper. The flavor is sometimes described as being more refreshing than the pears we are used to. This is because they don’t have as much of the subtle peppery flavor that pears we usually get here in America have.
Most Asian pears will adhere to this slight difference, but there are literally thousands of Asian pear species and they all have subtle differences from one to the next. One thing to keep in mind is that the further east the pear originates from, the more it becomes crisp and sweet like an apple.
What’s the Nutritional Difference Between Asian and Ordinary Pears?
Alright so besides looks and flavor, when it comes to feeding Asian pears to your dog, you need to know whatâ’s in them. For comparison, we are considering the Bartlett pear as the “ordinary” pear, because that is the kind we almost always get in the US.
Measured by the gram, Asian pears stack up to Bartletts as follows.
- 33.33% more magnesium
- 28.21% more protein
- 43.75% more lipids
- 16.13% more dietary fiber
- 25% more leucine
- 4.88% higher water content
- 150% more manganese
- 27.24% less sugar
When it comes to giving these to dogs, these numbers look pretty good. The most important difference is the lower sugar count because sugar is what we’re most concerned about when feeding pears to dogs.
How Much Asian Pear Should Dogs Eat?
For a start, dogs should not be eating any fruit more than once or twice a week and the smaller the dog, the less should be given. For the smallest dogs, you might consider giving them one slice per week. The golden rule for this issue is not to exceed 10% of the dog’s total daily food intake in pears.
Where to Get Asian Pears
Most advice pages say that there is no meaningful difference between Asian and Bartlett pears. But if Asian pears really have 25% less sugar, then that is a significant difference that should factor into your calculations. However, if you don’t know where they are sold, your dog certainly won’t get any.
You might be able to find them at specialty and ethnic grocery stores in your area. If you try online stores like Amazon or Kroger, you will probably be able to find some.
They will usually cost between 40 and 60 cents per ounce.
How to Prep Asian Pears for Your Dog
Most fruits are sort of up in the air on whether or not they want to be eaten. When animals eat them, the seeds get deposited in the animal’s droppings which is fertilizer, making them more likely to thrive.
But they also have lectins in the skin, which is a toxin. It’s mostly there to stop bugs from eating them since bugs don’t deposit seeds in the ground.
This means it’s really important to take the skin off of any peaches you feed to dogs. Because their digestive systems are less robust than ours, they will be hurt by lectins more quickly and severely.
It may also be a good idea to cook the fruit before feeding it to your dog as this will neutralize some of the sugars.