More often than not, having a dog means dealing with vet bills because your dog ate something it shouldn’t have. And if you let your dog roam around outside, you’ve got more to worry about than whether it ate scraps from the table or swallowed a piece of a squeaky toy. There are all sorts of things out there a dog might think it can eat that can actually be quite harmful. But thankfully, blueberries are not one of them! Can dogs eat blueberries? They certainly can, and they’ll actually gain some health benefits from doing so, too!
What Berries are Safe for Dogs?
Before you go thinking that your dog can just happily gobble up all sorts of berries, think again. While blueberries are safe for dogs to eat, not all berries are. In fact, the only berries you should give your dog (on occasion, and in moderation) are blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
You probably already know that these three types of berries are especially healthy for humans, and your dog will benefit from the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants in these berries too.
But other types of berries and similar fruits should be avoided—these include cherries, grapes, and nearly any other type of berry that grows on a bush or tree, such as juniper berries, holly berries.
Cherries have pits, which can be a choking hazard for dogs, or cause an obstruction in the dogs intestines. Additionally, cherries and the leaves, stem, and all other parts of the shrub contain cyanide—not enough to be harmful to humans, but it is toxic to dogs. Grapes, and other bush, shrub, and tree berries are also toxic, and can cause kidney failure in dogs. Like grapes, raisins should also never be given to your dog—they are toxic too.
How to Give Your Dog Blueberries
Hopefully, your dog isn’t hungrily snacking away at the wild blueberries growing on or near your property. While dogs can eat blueberries, they should only do so in moderation. Blueberries should be considered an occasional treat, not a regular addition to your dog’s diet. If you have blueberries on the property, you may want to consider putting a barrier of some type around the bush so that your dog can’t get at it whenever it pleases.
If you’d like to give your dog blueberries as a tasty and healthy treat, first consult your veterinarian. Your vet could be aware of certain medical conditions your dog may have that may cause it to be unable to easily ingest blueberries.
Additionally, some dogs might actually be allergic—the first time you feed your dog blueberries, monitor the dog afterward for a while for any signs of an allergic reaction. This could include itching, swelling, or hives. Vomiting or diarrhea might also occur if your dog is not able to handle eating blueberries for some reason.
Your veterinarian should be able to recommend a safe portion of blueberries to feed your dog and how often, ensuring that you don’t give your dog too many calories. Thankfully, blueberries are actually a low-calorie snack, so dogs should be able to enjoy quite a handful.
You can feed your dog the recommended amount of fresh blueberries or mix them in with the dog food. You should try to purchase organic blueberries to ensure they are free of pesticides and other chemicals. If you don’t have organic blueberries, be sure to wash them thoroughly before feeding them to your dog to remove any residual dirt or pesticide.
On a side note, you might consider using blueberries as a training treat for your dogs. You can teach them to do tricks or train them to behave and reward them with a few blueberries.
And, believe it or not, some dog foods also already contain blueberries as an ingredient. However, it’s not likely that the dog food contains enough blueberries to really impart the same health benefits your dog would receive from eating actual fresh or frozen blueberries.
Avoid giving your dog any human food items that have blueberries cooked into them, such as blueberry muffins, blueberry pie, or blueberry pancakes. The blueberries are still fine, but there is a very high sugar content in the remainder of the food item, and there could be the presence of other ingredients that could make your dog feel ill or even be toxic, leading to more severe health issues.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries That Are Frozen?
Yes, they can, and they will probably enjoy frozen blueberries immensely on hot summer days. Be advised that frozen blueberries can be a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs. You can feed your dog one frozen blueberry at a time at first to make sure the dog chews it rather than swallows it whole. Then, if your dog eats them properly, you can give your dog a few at a time or mix them in with dog food just like fresh blueberries.
Just remember, whether you feed your dog fresh or frozen blueberries, moderation is still key. Too many blueberries at once might cause your dog to have some digestive problems, and while blueberries are also low in sugar, too many can still add up to too many calories.
Health Benefits of Blueberries for Dogs
Just as blueberries are healthy for humans, blueberries are healthy for dogs too. Aside from being a great low-calorie treat for dogs, they also contain high amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. They also contain phytochemicals which, like antioxidants, serve to improve health and decrease the risk of many diseases.
Antioxidants, in particular, are especially beneficial for dogs because they help with cellular growth and reduce the risk of ailments related to aging. Feeding a senior dog blueberries might help maintain its brain health longer.
Many veterinarians believe that many of the other health benefits that humans receive from blueberries can also be received by dogs that consume them. This includes helping to prevent obesity, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improving digestion.
And, because blueberries are low in sugar, they also make an ideal healthy snack for dogs that have diabetes.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries: In Conclusion
So, now that you know dogs can, in fact, eat blueberries, and that they are healthy for your dog as well, will you be adding blueberries to your dog’s diet? If so, remember, moderation is always important. Do not let the dog think that it will always be getting blueberries in lieu of regular dog food – use the blueberries as an occasional treat or training treat instead.
And, remember to talk to your veterinarian first, who can recommend an appropriate portion of blueberries to feed your dog based on your dog’s size. Keep in mind that introducing new foods into a dog’s diet, especially items that are typically human foods, can result in your dog having a behavioral or digestive issue at first.
However, most dogs will likely just enjoy this new flavorful treat and seek to gobble up more. So it’s a good idea to keep blueberries securely hidden away from your dog so that it doesn’t go sniffing them out and taking a whole package of blueberries off the kitchen counter when you aren’t looking!