While some dogs will turn their nose up at fruit and vegetables, many seem to enjoy the variety in their diet, happily accepting a berry as a tasty treat.
But when it comes to what fruit to feed, it's important to ensure the food in question is safe for your pet.
Are blackberries good for dogs?
In the right quantities, blackberries are a safe addition to your dog's diet. With a high fibre content and plenty of other health benefits, they can be offered as a treat in much the same way we humans would enjoy them.
Lower in sugar and calories than other fruit, blackberries offer the following vitamins and nutrients:
Fatty acid Omega 3 which prevents inflammation.
Fibre is known to help with constipation.
Anthocyanins is what gives the berry its colour. As antioxidants, anthocyanins help brain function, and can reduce the likelihood of cancer.
Vitamin A supports eye and skin health, and promotes bone growth.
Vitamin B boosts the immune system and helps promote a healthy metabolism.
Vitamin C aids in the healing of wounds and the absorption of iron.
Vitamin E promotes good circulation.
Vitamin K is good for heart, muscle and blood health.
Health risks of feeding your dog blackberries
Too many blackberries can cause an upset stomach, including vomiting and diarrhoea. This is why it's very important to feed your dog the right quantity of blackberries, which is calculated based on their size.
If you suspect your dog is experiencing digestive issues of any kind, you should speak with your veterinarian.
How to feed your your dog blackberries
Always wash blackberries before feeding them to your dog, to ensure any pesticides have been removed. Wild blackberries can be safe, as long as you are certain of the fruit they're eating.
Frozen blackberries are best avoided, as they may have added sugar or xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Jams and jellies typically have a very high sugar content, which can impact metabolic processes and lead to obesity in the long run.
Can dogs eat raw blackberries?
Yes, your dog can eat raw blackberries. In fact, this is the healthiest way to feed the fruit to your dog. You can offer the fruit whole, mashed or pureed, depending on their size and individual preference.
How many blackberries can dogs eat?
While the answer to whether dogs can eat blackberries is yes, the quantity they can have will depend very much on their size. As a general guideline, the following quantities are suitable, however it's always best to consult with your veterinarian before offering new foods to your pet.
Extra small dogs: 1-2 berries
Small dogs: 2-3 berries
Medium dogs: 3-5 berries
Large dogs: 5-6 berries
Extra large dogs and giant breeds: A small handful
Do blackberries contain xylitol?
Xylitol is a natural sugar found in some plants and vegetables. In dogs, it affects their insulin levels, which leads to severe hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and sometimes liver failure. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include lack of coordination, vomiting, seizures, and even coma, making xylitol potentially deadly for our canine companions.
The quantity at which xylitol is deadly varies greatly on each individual dog, and if xylitol poisoning is suspected, urgent treatment will be required. If you notice excessive vomiting, seizures, weakness or the presence of blood in your dog's vomit or stools, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Xylitol occurs naturally in blackberries, but only in trace amounts. There is only a minute amount present in a small serving of blackberries, meaning the fruit is safe for dogs. Your four-legged friend would need to consume a very large quantity of berries to experience any kind of poisoning, but this is why it's important to follow feeding guidelines and to supervise your dog when out on walks.
In the right quantities, blackberries can make the perfect sweet treat for your pet. Not only will they love the variety in their diet, but the berries also offer lots of health benefits along the way.