Did you accidentally drop a blueberry on the floor?
No matter how fast or careful you thought you were being, you couldn’t pull your dog away before he gobbled it down.
Is it safe? Will it make him sick? These questions likely swim through your mind since so many foods, including fruits, can make your pup ill.
This North American native berry might be more than a human favorite. So can dogs eat blueberries too?
Are Blueberries Safe for Your Dog to Eat?
Absolutely. One here or there as a snack or treat won’t cause issues with most dogs. Some owners mix a blueberry puree and feed as part of their dog’s meal too.
Next time you’re in the pet aisle, browse a few holistic and natural dry dog food brands. You’ll most likely find blueberries and other fruits on the ingredient labels because they do offer nutritional benefits while supporting your pet’s immune system with antioxidants. Blueberry-derived antioxidants can support and improve numerous canine systems, including stronger bones and cognitive health decline in senior dogs.
How Should I Prepare Blueberries for my Dog?
Humans enjoy blueberries in a variety of ways: fresh, frozen, jellies and jams, dried, topped on other treats, and juice. Your dog doesn’t need the extra calories and fat in human recipes that use berries. However, you should speak with your veterinarian before introducing people food unless your dog’s food already contains blueberries.
Stick to feeding your dog fresh or frozen blueberries without added sugar and no artificial sweeteners of any kind. Dried blueberries without sugar can be an option, but they introduce a choking hazard and can stick to your dog’s teeth.
Frozen blueberries make a great teething snack for puppies too, but keep servings sizes small. Another option is to add them to your homemade dog treat recipes. You can also mix whole blueberries or make a puree to add to their food at mealtime.
You should also wash blueberries before feeding them to your dog; this removes pesticides and soil. Never feed your dog rotten or moldy berries. Remember, the blueberries are safe and non-poisonous to your dog, but the pesticides and herbicides used in growing them are not. This includes organic varieties too.
However, you do need to feed your dog blueberries in moderation. Treats should make up about 10% of your pet’s diet, according to the American Kennel Club. Less is more with blueberries and other high fiber morsels.
How many are too many? This depends largely on your dog’s size and whether they are constipated. Blueberries contain a high amount of fiber, and if they eat too many, their stools can be loose and watery. However, if your dog is constipated, a few blueberries might help matters move along without complications.
Unless your dog is a small or toy breed, you should be able to safely feed your dog 10 blueberries a day. To be on the safe side, you can start by offering your dog a small amount. Gradually increase the number and watch for adverse symptoms.
If your dog’s poop contains whole or partially digested blueberries, you might consider slicing them in half.
Pros and Cons of Feeding Dogs Blueberries
Any pet or human food will have pros and cons. With blueberries, the cons aren’t major concerns if you’re staying within the recommended serving size for most dogs.
- Loaded with beneficial vitamins
- No preparation or cooking
- Safe for any size dog
- Can cause stomach upset and diarrhea
- Easy to overfeed
What About Feeding Your Dog Other Berries and Fruits?
Strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries make a healthy snack option for your dog too, but other berries can be lethal or harmful. Cherries, for example, are safe for your dog, but you must remove the pits, stems, and leaves because they contain cyanide.
Your dog can safely enjoy plenty of other fruits too. Apples, seedless orange segments, seedless watermelon, mango, pears, and banana are a few. No matter the fruit, be sure remove seeds, stems, and leaves. These can be poisonous or choking hazards, and it’s better to be on the safe side. Also, consider cutting fruit into bite-size pieces suitable for your dog’s size and tastes.
Like blueberries, you should exercise the 10% rule and be certain to wash them. It’s also better to introduce one fruit at a time in case of an allergy or digestive upset; you’ll easily narrow down the culprit if you’ve only given your dog one new treat.
Canned fruits packed in their own juice are another alternative to feeding fresh. Owners might prefer the convenience since they don’t contain seeds, stems, or require washing. Do drain them first. Dogs don’t need fruit juice. Avoid whole frozen fruits that aren’t bite-sized; these can be choking hazards.
Poisonous Fruits and Berries You Should Avoid Feeding Your Dog
Your dog is most likely to encounter berries and fruits during your walks and hikes unless you have a garden or a large yard with wild hedges and undergrowth. If your property and fenced in area contains woods, be sure to clear them of wild berries on a regular basis. Never assume a fruit is safe, and if your dog ingests one, take a sample and call your veterinarian or contact the Animal Poison Control.
- Un-pitted peaches
- Un-pitted cherries
- Raw tomatoes
- Raw rhubarb
- Blueberries are a safe and nutrient-packed snack for your dog. Unless your dog food formula contains blueberries, you should consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any berries or fruits as a snack.
- Adding blueberries to your pet’s diet can provide nutritional benefits, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- There is no serving size. You should slowly increase the number of blueberries to determine how many your dog can eat without upsetting bowel habits or introducing stomach distress.
- Toy and small breeds might prefer to cut up blueberries.
- Frozen berries make a great snack for teething puppies.
- Your dog can enjoy a wide variety of fruits and berries. Be sure to introduce one at a time and avoid feeding fruits with added sugars and sweeteners.