When you're savoring those last days of summer with your family, you want to keep things as simple as possible: clothes, playthings, food. (Most kids could spend a whole day running through the sprinkler, stopping only for a quick drink of water and a pretzel.) The same goes for your pets; a jog around the neighborhood in the morning before it gets too hot, and a couple of full water bowls, will make a dog's day. So why not make summer snacktime easy by finding food that both your kids and dogs can eat?
Fortunately for us parents, the delicious and ridiculously-healthy fruits that are in season during the hot-weather months are ones that most kids love, and they're sweet enough to enjoy without dousing them in sugar or whipped cream. In the school where I teach, even the pickiest eaters go wild for fresh cantaloupe and orange slices. Plus, say animal experts, many of them make a fine treat for Rover as well. Although not all "people food" is healthy for dogs — nuts, onions, and chips are among the dangerous treats, according to the ASPCA — there's enough of a variety of pet-safe fruit to make it worthwhile stocking up at the produce aisle on your next supermarket visit.
Below are some of the fruits you can serve both to your children and your dog when the weather calls for a refreshing nosh. But be sure to get your vet's okay before feeding fruit or any other human food to your pet.
These little blue powerhouses are one of the best fruits for both your human and fur babies. They have the most antioxidants of any fruit, said WebMD, plus they're rich in vitamin C and have 14 percent of the recommended amount of fiber (for people, that is). While you're dishing out the berries, save some for yourself.
When the temp hits 90 degrees and above, there are few things more refreshing than a chilled slice of melon. The sweet summer fruit is 92 percent water, but it also packs a hefty dose of vitamin A, B6, and C, along with lycopene, the nutrient also found in tomatoes, said LiveScience. But all your kids and pooch will care about is how good it tastes.
Another nutritional superstar, the orange fruit packs high doses of beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, and potassium, among other nutrients, according to Healthline. But be sure to cut the rind away from the fruit and remove the seeds when you give cantaloupe to your dog, said Rover.com.
Dogs and kids go, well, bananas for this potassium-rich fruit, which also provides a good dose of vitamins and fiber with a minimum of sodium. But because it's fairly high in sugar, give it to your pup in moderation, advised the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Like blueberries, this summer fruit is loaded with antioxidants that are good for people and pooches alike, animal nutritionist Susan Lauten, Ph.D., told Mom.me. Pop some in the freezer for a fruit-pop-like snack that will please the whole family.
Do we really need to sell you on the benefits of this super snack? They're fiber-rich, low in calories, heart-healthy, and even contain an antioxidant that increases oxygen flow to the lungs, according to EatingWell. But the seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, and the core can be a choking hazard, so it's best to give apples to your dog in sliced form, advised PetMD.
True, citrus fruit is best in winter, but oranges are still easy to find this time of year, and their vitamin C and fiber content makes them an anytime snack. However, they are high in sugar, so veterinarian Stephanie Liff, DVM, recommended to PetMD that owners feed small portions of orange to smaller dogs. (Bigger dogs can enjoy an entire one.) Because the rind contains oils that can be harmful to pets, be sure to give your pet only the fruit.
Don't overlook the exotic fruit section when you're looking for a summer treat. Mangoes not only appeal to a child's insatiable sweet tooth, they're also loaded with vitamin C, A, B6, E, and fiber, which are essential to kids and dogs alike, according to the AKC. If you're serving mango to your pup, be sure to remove the skin and seed, they advised; these can be a choking hazard. And, like apple seeds, mango pits have small amounts of natural cyanide.
Two Fruits *Never* to Give a Dog
Sad to say, but some of the foods we and our kids adore can be harmful or even fatal to our fur babies. Among them: grapes and cherries. Although these are perfectly fine as a human snack, grapes (and their dried version, raisins) can cause kidney failure in dogs, per the ASPCA.
As for cherries, the late-summer treat is delicious for us, but the high cyanide content of the pits, stem, and leaves make them a food hazard for dogs, cautioned the AKC. If you can remove the whole pit and stem, the fruit is fine for dogs in moderation, but you may want to err on the side of caution by sticking to safer fruits.