Puppy eating blueberries

Blueberries are filled with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.

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Can dogs eat blueberries?

By Dr Karen Ingleby BVetMed MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

As with many foods for dogs, blueberries are another that can have many positive effects on your pet – but you'll need to know what the negatives are too.

Many dogs like the taste of different berries and some are actually good for them. Others, however, can be harmful to our pets, so it is always worth checking with a vet before you feed it or if you are worried that they have already eaten something.

So: can dogs eat blueberries?

Are blueberries good for dogs?

Yes. Blueberries are filled with vitamins, fibre, antioxidants (which can help reduce brain aging) and other compounds, which are linked to help fight cancer and have been shown to improve the health of animals, as well as humans.

Do dogs like blueberries?

Yes, many dogs do indeed like blueberries as they are both sweet and easy to eat. However, ultimately dogs are like humans and so some will like them and some won’t.

Are blueberries harmful to dogs?

Generally, blueberries are safe to give your dog. However, they should only be given in the form of pure berries (fresh or frozen) or, if you make your own dog treats, you could add them to those.

What fruits are bad for dogs?

As already mentioned, there are some fruits that dogs really need to avoid. Grapes and raisins should never be fed to dogs as they can cause kidney damage.

Lemons, limes and grapefruits should be avoided, as they are particularly high in citric acid and their system cannot cope with large amounts, which leads to severe digestive problems.

Cherry flesh is safe, but the cherry pit and stem are high in cyanide and so, if enough is ingested, it  can be toxic.

How many blueberries can I give my dog?

As with all new foods, if your dog has never had blueberries, you should introduce them slowly. Don’t forget to remove the stems and leaves, then try giving them one or two only either fresh or frozen. After that, keep an eye on your dog for the next day or so to check that they don’t have any negative effects.

If your dog likes blueberries, it should be remembered that they are still classified as a treat, and it is recommended that treats comprise a maximum of 10% of your dog’s daily diet, even if they are healthy.

How to serve blueberries to dogs

Blueberries should be given in the form of pure berries (either fresh or frozen) or if you make your dog’s own treats, then you could add them to those too.

Does dog food contain blueberries?

Yes, some dog foods do contain blueberries, mainly as a flavour enhancer. You'd have to check the food packaging to find this information out.

Can dogs eat blueberry muffins?

I am sure most dogs would like to share a blueberry muffin with you, but they really shouldn’t be shared with dogs. They have high amounts of sugar and could easily cause gastric upset. If you are wanting to give your dog some blueberries, they are really best given in the natural form.

Reasons you should be careful with blueberries

If your dog eats lots of blueberries, then it is possible that they can cause gastric upsets and result in diarrhoea. Also, in very small dogs, much like grapes with children, there is a risk of choking, if your dog swallows one whole.

Alternative berries to blueberries for dogs

Other berries that dogs can eat include strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. However, as with blueberries, if your dog has never had them before, you should introduce them slowly. Don’t forget to remove the stems and leaves, then try giving them one or two either fresh or frozen. Then keep an eye on your dog for the next day or so, to check they don’t have any negative effects.

What happens when a dog eats blueberries?

It is worth knowing that blueberries can change the colour of your dogs’ faeces. They may appear darker or even blackish, if they have eaten a lot. However, if your dog’s faeces are frequently very dark, please consult a veterinarian, as there are other health issues that can also cause this.

When should I see a vet?

If you believe your dog has eaten a large number of blueberries and they are experiencing a nasty bout of diarrhoea, then please contact a vet, as your dog may require fluids and medical attention.

If your dog has been fed raisins or grapes, contact a vet, as this can lead to kidney damage.

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