Can Dogs Eat Blueberries

can dogs eat blueberries

The famous purple / indigo blueberry is usually seen coloring the tongues and mouths of youngsters throughout the land. While native to North America, it is now grown in many diverse parts of the world including South America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Northwest. It’s a popular fruit and most people like them. But can you share these fruits with your four legged friend as well? Can dogs eat blueberries?

can dogs eat blueberries

Can dogs eat blueberries?

Hammonton in New Jersey claims to be the blueberry capital of the world, but in fact Washington is the largest producer of blueberries in the United States.

Often picked and eaten fresh, blueberries are consumed in many different ways. They are used to make jellies and jams, pies and muffins, and are also found in many breakfast cereals. Blueberries are a truly versatile and great tasting fruit bursting with goodness.  Humans love them but can dogs eat blueberries? Yes, dogs can eat blueberries. However, blueberries should only be fed as treats and in moderation. Large amounts of blueberries can cause stomach issues and loose stools.

All agree that blueberries are no problem for dogs.  In fact many commercially available dog foods will actually contain traces of blueberries. So next time when you have some fresh leftover blueberries, you can safely share them with your canine companion and have a delicious treat together. Just remember to offer your dog blueberries occasionally and not as a daily supplement.

Health benefits

Blueberries are known to be superfood. They possess many health benefits you and your dog can take advantage of. Blueberries are bursting with phytochemicals known as polyphenols, which form a family of major antioxidant.  Therefore, regular but moderate consumption of blueberries by dogs has been shown to increase antioxidant levels, which are used to counteract the effects of free radicals in the body.  Antioxidants are also known to play in a significant role in fighting deadly conditions including heart disease and cancers (blueberries contain anthocyanins which have been proven to help prevent the emergence of cancer cells in the colon).  Not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Flavonoids are also present in blueberries which help maintain a healthy urinary tract by preventing infections.  They work by stopping the bacteria known to cause UTI’s from attaching themselves to the bladder lining, thus preventing their growth.

It is also thought that stilbenes in blackberries may play a role in reducing cholesterol keeping your dog healthy and active.  They are also a good source of silicon, which can help the pancreas through assisting in the rejuvenation process.

Positive cognitive effects

Whether you think your dog could win the big prize on ‘Who Wants To Be a Millionaire’ or you feel that he can sometimes forget members of the family, blueberries are believed to aid with cognitive functions. Regular (but monitored) consumption of blueberries may have your dog barking in Mandarin before you know it… Make sure you eat a few with him if you hope to keep up!

The fiber contained in the cells of blueberries is also very helpful.  It assists with bowel movements and combats both diarrhea and constipation, by either absorbing water from outside the colon to help constipation, or absorbing excess water from inside the colon to give firmness during episodes of loose stools.  How does it know which one to do? Don’t ask, just be grateful!

Note of caution

Although blueberries are clearly great for your dog, and strawberries also cause no problems, not all berries are suitable.  It is important to keep your canine companion away from holly berries, mistletoe berries, juniper berries and poke berries. All of them contain either pits (the pit in the middle) which are toxic or other chemicals that are hazardous to dogs.

If there is a history of digestive problems or a known sensitive stomach it is important to speak to your veterinarian prior to feeding your dog any blueberries.

Moderation is key. Letting your excited dog run wild in blueberry bushes and eat as much as his mouth can fit may result in you cleaning up a messy bout of diarrhea.

Blueberries are generally good for dogs because of all the nutrients that they bring, but an excessive amount can also be harmful for them.

Additionally, too much fiber can affect your pet’s digestive system and cause stomach problems and loose stool. To avoid this from happening, limit your dog’s consumption of blueberries. For an average dog, up to ten blueberries should be fine.

Like with any new foods, start out slowly with small amounts. Give your dog couple blueberries and monitor how he will react to it. If your dog doesn’t show any negative symptoms, you can continue feeding him blueberries. If you notice  digestive problems and diarrhea, it’s best to keep blueberries away from your dog. He most likely can’t digest them properly.

It’s also recommended to consult with your doctor before adding any new foods to your pooch’s diet.

Raw, fresh blueberries are generally fine to give to your pup. Not so good choices are sweetened or artificial ones. These fruits are already sweet, so no need to give them artificially sweetened blueberries which may pose problems to your dog. You wouldn’t want your dog to eat the extra sugar which may lead to tummy aches, weight gain and diabetes.  Moreover, don’t feed your dog any blueberry muffins, pancakes, pies or any other blueberry pastries.

Luckily, excessive consumption of blueberries are not known to be deadly for dogs. You’ll most likely end up with a dog who will get diarrhea or vomits but he should be fine after 24 hours. However, if your dogs condition wouldn’t improve after 24 hours, you should consult with your veterinarian.

How to feed blueberries to your pooch

The best and easiest way to give blueberries to dogs is as a fresh, raw berry, but remember to give them a wash first. This is especially important if they may have come into contact with any pesticides.  Like most ‘human foods’ given to your loyal companion, they must be administered in moderation.  It is thought that under 10 berries a day is fine for all except the smallest dogs.  Over indulgence (which will happen unless your dog is carefully monitored) will lead to tummy ache and likely diarrhea.

As an interesting alternative, try freezing the blueberries first then giving them to your canine friend as a frozen crunchy snack.  The freezing will not affect the nutritional value of the blueberry and some dogs may prefer to consume them this way. Your dog may want to eat them in a hot summer day, just remember to give them in moderation. If your dog accidentally eats large amount of frozen blueberries then he most likely will experience tummy troubles.

If your berries look rotten or otherwise spoiled, don’t give them to your dog. You wouldn’t like to eat rotten blueberries either, and your  furry friends stomach is as delicate as yours.

To get the best benefits out of blueberries, serve them raw. This way your dog can get most of the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Many dogs have hard time digesting fruits or especially fruits that have peels. Your dog may not be able to digest blueberries either. If you see that blueberries come out of your dog’s stool as a whole berry, you may want to cut the blueberries in half to help your dog digest them better.

If you have a teething puppy, you can give your pooch couple of frozen blueberry treats. Just don’t give him too many since frozen berries may upset the stomach. You can also treat your dog with blueberry treats specially formulated for dogs. These treats are available in most pet stores. Just don’t feed your furry companion any of the blueberry sweet treats meant for humas such as blueberry pies, muffins, bagels or cakes.

Also, remember that blueberries should only be given as treats and not as an everyday staple food. Your dog should get his nutrients from a dog food specifically formulated for canine consumption.

What to do if your dog has eaten too many blueberries

Like stated before, blueberries  should only be fed to your dog in moderation. Large amounts of blueberries will cause digestive issues and other health problems.

If your dogs has eaten too many blueberries, he will most likely experience diarrhea. If that happens, you would want to put your  dog in an area where it would be easier for you to clean up after him. Make sure your dog has fresh water available at all times since diarrhea will cause dehydration. Your dog should turn to normal after 24 hours of ingesting blueberries. The only thing you can do is wait for the diarrhea to stop, clean up after your dog, and offer  him fresh drinking water.

However, if your dog’s symptoms don’t improve or he gets any additional symptoms, you should consults with your local veterinarian.

With any new foods, always start out slow with small amounts of food. Give only a little bit at first and then monitor your dog how he reacts to it. If you don’t see any unusual behavior then your dog most likely can handle blueberries.

If your pet shows any negative symptoms, stop giving him blueberries immediately and if symptoms persist, talk to your vet.

Look at this video where the dog enjoys blueberries right off the bushes:

Can blueberries be poisonous to dogs?

No, generally blueberries are not poisonous to dogs. However if they are grown with pesticides, they can cause health problems. It’s always best to wash them thoroughly before feeding them to your pooch.

They can also cause stomach discomfort when given in large quantities. The worst thing that can happen to your dog is diarrhea.

Can puppies eat blueberries?

Yes, puppies can eat blueberries too. The same applies to puppies, you should only give them blueberries occasionally and in moderate amounts. Puppies would benefit from blueberries the same way as adult dogs. Blueberries would provide them with much needed nutrients and minerals.

If your puppy is teething , you can offer him couple frozen blueberries to soothe their gums. However, monitor your pup afterwards because frozen treats may, in some puppies, cause tummy issues. If your puppy is showing any unwanted symptoms, stop feeding him frozen berries immediately..

Puppies have more delicate digestive systems so always observe your pup after introducing any new foods to his diet

Conclusion

Dogs are part of our families and we should ensure that they are well taken care of. Most dog owners want what’s best for them, including best food choices. This is one of the reasons why pet owners should know what foods are good for them and what foods are not.

Coming back to the original question, yes dogs can enjoy blueberries.  They certainly can, and most may surely love them too. However, since dogs don’t have a sweet tooth like humans do, they may not find them interesting or satisfying  to eat them. Although, if you see that your dog shows interest in them, you can surely offer him some.

Blueberries even offer some benefits to your dogs. Blueberries will supply your dogs extra nutrients and minerals they need. However, don’t give too much blueberries to your pooch which can cause unnecessary problems that you can easily avoid.

Like stated before, blueberries are great treats for your dog to enjoy occasionally. Just remember to serve them raw and thoroughly washed. You want to make sure that all the toxic pesticides have been washed off completely.

Like all non-specific dog food, small quantities are important and take it very slowly at first.  This will allow you to gauge how the dog is dealing with digesting and processing the berries.  If you dog shows any suspicious behavior or tummy problems, stop giving him blueberries immediately. If your dog doesn’t show any negative symptoms, you can keep feeding him blueberries. Like all things, if in doubt, speak to your veterinarian first for peace of mind.

 

References:

http://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_healthy_snacks#

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8

http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-lifestyle/blueberries-and-dogs.aspx

http://dogs.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Are_Blueberries_Safe_for_Dogs

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