Let’s face it—sometimes dogs ingest things that can be highly toxic or otherwise detrimental to their health. Even if you keep your canine companion indoors much of the time, they can eat things we would rather them avoid. It is also possible when feeding our dog a more raw or natural food diet, that we consider fruits as a part of our dogs’ diet. However, we don’t naturally think of dogs as eating any type of berry much less fruit (we tend to think of dogs as carnivores chiefly).
Can dogs eat berries? The truth is, there are about five types of berries that are safe for dogs to regularly consume. In fact, these berries provide some great health benefits to canines! The berries that dogs CAN consume provide your furry pal with antioxidants, some fiber, and a number of vitamins that a raw diet (perhaps even commercial diets) cannot provide for Fido.
It is important to understand that in the berries safe for dogs to eat, there must be some consideration as to properly feeding the dog these foods. Let’s take a look at the berries that a dog CAN consume and what is the proper amount for canines. We’ll also discuss what types of fruits and berries should NEVER be given to your dog.
Blackberries can be given to your dog; however, experts say that you can give a “few” blackberries “every once in a while” to your dog. The blackberry is a sweet treat that is high in free radicals (antioxidants) which help to promote the good health of your dog and fight off many health issues, including some types of cancer. Blackberries contain some fiber, too. This can benefit your dog’s digestive system. When feeding a raw diet, it is often difficult for pet parents to get enough fiber into Fido’s diet. However, blackberries offer a sweet, tasty way for your dog to ingest healthy fiber.
The blackberry also offers some great dog vitamins. It is important to use blackberries sparingly, however. Perhaps no more than twice a week for a blackberry treat is the limit for a healthy dose of tasty blackberries.
Strawberries CAN and should be fed to your dog, particularly if she enjoys fruit. Unlike blackberries, strawberries don’t have to be rationed to your dog. (NOTE: Don’t load Fido up on strawberries. There is still too much of a good thing! However, you can provide strawberries once a day as a part of a dog’s diet.
Strawberries provide dogs with several benefits. You’ll want to remove the greenery on top of the strawberry, of course. You may even want to slice the strawberry to prevent Fido from choking on the fruit.
Strawberries have high water content. While dogs are usually pretty good at getting enough water, other dogs may not. Strawberries are also good for taking on an outing to give Fido a little water while you’re out on an adventure.
The added water in strawberries also has another benefit. When dogs eat strawberries, they get high fiber, and the extra water in the strawberries will further aid in digestion and the elimination of waste from your dog’s body. Some swear strawberries could whiten your dog’s teeth too, but experts warn that the sugar in the berry could do more harm than good .
Finally, strawberries are high in Vitamin C, which is a wonder vitamin in itself! This vitamin boosts the immune system and performs a lot of other neat functions as well. You can’t go wrong feeding your dog strawberries, and you don’t really have to limit them, either.
So, can dogs eat blueberries? It is great for humans, and guess what—it’s great for dogs as well! The blueberry is low in sugar as well as low in calories. Like the blackberry, you will want to somewhat limit your dog’s intake of blueberries. Three servings per week is a good standard to observe for serving this tasty treat.
Blueberries offer lots of antioxidants as well as fiber and phytochemicals. Blueberry is considered a “superfood” due to all the benefits the food provides.
The blueberry can be frozen as a cool dog treat for Fido. Be sure however to freeze only smaller berries so your dog won’t get choked on the berry.
Raspberries are very closely related to blackberries. They offer much of the same health benefits as the blackberry. Like the blackberry, the raspberry should be served as a treat only a few times a week rather than as a part of Fido’s daily diet.
How Should I Prepare Fruit for my Dog?
Fruits in general are healthy for your dog to eat, with some exceptions we will discuss momentarily.
When preparing fruit for your furry pal, you should wash it just as you would if you’re planning to eat it yourself. This will help to rid the exterior of the fruit of any dirt or possible chemicals that might be on the skin of the fruit.
Be sure to make the fruit easy to eat for your dog. You may want to slice the fruit into pieces. If you freeze the berries for your dog, make sure the berry is small enough to prevent your dog from choking. Some pet parents actually puree the fruit and mix it in with their regular dog food. Larger dogs can eat bigger slices or the whole berry. Use your own judgment as to what your dog can safely consume.
Watch for signs of stomach upset or other possible reactions to eating fruit. If you notice your dog scratching intensely or drinking excessively after eating fruit, then contact your vet as this is a possible reaction.
What Foods Should My Dog Avoid?
There are a lot of fruits, nuts, and other foods that dogs should never consume. These foods could be damaging to your dog in a number of ways. These foods include:
- macadamia nuts
- cow’s milk
These foods should never, ever be provided to dogs. Some of these provide a choking hazard to dogs, while others may contain certain naturally occurring ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
Let’s take a look at cherries. Cherries are a fruit that should never be provided to dogs. The reason for avoiding feeding cherries to dogs is because of the pit (seed) of the cherry. This can present a choking hazard, plus certain parts of a cherry could produce cyanide, which is harmful to both humans and dogs.
The stem, the cherry shrub itself, leaves that might be attached to a picked cherry, and the tree of the cherry are all toxic to dogs. While we understand you wouldn’t typically feed these elements of the cherry to a dog, it is a good idea to watch Fido if you have cherry trees in your yard. Fido might be tempted to nibble on this sweet treat, and he might ingest one of the dangerous parts of the cherry tree.
Peaches can be eaten by your dog, but you’ll have to take care in preparing the fruit so that Fido won’t be harmed while eating it. You must peel the peach, remove the pit, and slice the remaining fruit for Fido’s consumption. Again, the pit inside a peach contains cyanide, which is fatal if consumed.
Peaches do contain one great resource—Vitamin A. This vitamin is great for Fido’s eye health as well as his skin.
Although most of us consider tomatoes to be a vegetable and not a fruit, this food IS a fruit (it grows on a vine). This fruit is very healthy for humans, but it should never be consumed by dogs. The seeds can present a problem for dogs, and if a dog happens to eat the vine, the dog could become quite ill.
Dogs CAN however have watermelon—seeds removed, of course. They can also have mangoes and oranges.
1. What berries are toxic to dogs?
Not all berries are healthy for Fido! These berries include mistletoe, dogwood, gooseberries, juniper berries, holly berries, pokeberries, and baneberries.
If you aren’t sure if a berry is healthy for Fido to consume, it is probably best to avoid serving it to him as a general rule.
2. Are berries OK for dogs to eat?
Yes and no! Some berries are quite healthy for dogs to consume, while others can be toxic. Some fruits have seeds or pits that contain cyanide, and these fruits are typically avoided by pet parents.
Dogs can eat strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Be sure to wash these fruits before serving, and you may want to slice them or freeze smaller berries for easier consumption.
3. What fruits are bad for dogs?
Lemons, limes, grapefruits—these are all potentially harmful to dogs. These fruits can cause an upset stomach in your dog. They are all high in acid, which isn’t safe for Fido.
Cherries—or parts of the stem and tree—can be toxic to dogs, so it is safer just to avoid this fruit.
Dogs should also avoid avocado, as the skin and pit contain persin (a toxin). Dogs should avoid grapes and raisins, too. They can cause kidney failure in an otherwise healthy dog. Tomatoes are another “fruit” (yes, they are technically fruits) that a dog should avoid.
4. What happens if a dog eats a berry?
Unless the berry is toxic to the dog in some way, typically, nothing will happen! In fact, strawberries and blackberries provide a lot of great vitamins and antioxidants to a dog.