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Can my dog have blueberries?

The essentials

  • Yes, dogs can eat blueberries — These super fruits supply your pup with high amounts of Vitamin C,  antioxidants, and fiber, which helps with their cognitive functions and digestive function.
  • Consult your vet for the correct amounts — It’s always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about how many blueberries are safe for your particular dog.
  • Dog food comes first — Even though they’re a healthy snack, blueberries should equal no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.

A seasonal summer favorite for humans and safe for canine consumption, blueberries are a tasty snack that can give your dog extra nutrients. These berries come packed with antioxidants, which combat cell damage and fight free radicals. They’re also loaded with digestion-friendly fiber and phytochemicals. Although they’re a good choice as a tasty treat, they should only be fed as snacks in addition to a balanced diet.

Are blueberries good for dogs? 5 health benefits of blueberries

Blueberries may be a better choice for a delicious snack than many dog treats on the market. They’re relatively cheap, easy to source, and packed full of vital nutrients. Blueberries are actually considered “super fruits.” They have a long list of health benefits such as: 

  • Low calories. Keeping a dog’s weight in check is important, so low-calorie treats are ideal. Blueberries boast fewer calories than many popular dog treats. For example, a medium Milk-Bone biscuit contains about 40 calories, the same as a half-cup of blueberries. High-calorie treats can contribute to obesity, a risk factor for other issues like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Vitamin C. The AAFCO doesn’t consider Vitamin C to be an essential nutrient for your dog because, unlike humans, their body can synthesize this vitamin. However, extra Vitamin C boosts your pup’s immune system, lowers inflammation, and improves cognitive aging. 
  • Vitamin K. The AAFCO recommends but doesn’t require this nutrient in dog food. However, Vitamin K plays a critical role in regulating your dog’s blood.
  • Fiber. Dietary fiber helps the GI tract function. It aids in digestion and bowel movements. Because fiber breaks down more slowly, it also keeps blood sugar in check.
  • Phytochemicals. Blueberries are loaded with phytochemicals like flavonoids that have anti-cancer and heart health benefits for humans. There is no research to support whether these berries fight cancer cells or support a healthy heart for dogs, but it doesn’t hurt.
  • Antioxidants. Studies show antioxidants can slow the progression of cognitive dysfunction in senior pets. Antioxidants by nature also reduce oxidative stress, a process that damages cells and causes inflammation.

While vitamins are essential to your pup’s well-being, Dr. Irish warns that there can actually be too much of a good thing,

Water-soluble vitamins like B and C can be fairly safe to supplement. But there is a daily limit to how much fat-soluble vitamin a dog can take. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K.

Dr. Erica Irish

Make sure that most of your dog’s calories come from a balanced, vet-approved diet — not supplements and treats.

How to feed your dog blueberries

Blueberries by themselves are a good idea for a snack. Just be sure to wash them first to remove any dirt and pesticides

🚨Whole blueberries pose a potential choking hazard for puppies and dogs under 20 pounds. Pet parents of smaller breeds should cut a single blueberry in half for them so they don’t choke. 

When to avoid blueberries 

Although they’re typically considered to be healthy, blueberries aren’t a good idea for diabetic dogs because they contain too much sugar. 

If you feed your dog dehydrated blueberries, the best way is to dry them at home instead of buying commercially dried fruit. Store-bought dehydrated fruit may contain added sugar, food dye, and preservatives that aren’t good for dogs. Frozen raw or fresh blueberries make the best type of treat.

You should also avoid most human foods with blueberries as an ingredient, as the blueberries are often paired with sugary, fatty, or processed ingredients that can harm your pet. For example, a blueberry muffin isn’t healthy for dogs because of the high sugar and fat content.

How many blueberries can dogs eat?

Portion size depends on your dog’s weight, breed, and individual health conditions. It’s always a good idea to ask your vet for advice before introducing a new treat to your pet, especially if they have any medical problems, such as obesity or heart disease. 

Here’s a chart with general guidelines based on weight with breed examples:

Weight Amount of blueberries Breed examples
Toy breeds (2 to 15) pounds 1 to 2 blueberries (feed in halves) Toy poodle, Maltese
Small breeds (15 to 35 pounds) 2 to 3 blueberries Miniature Schnauzer, beagle
Medium breeds (35 to 50 pounds) 3 to 5 blueberries Australian shepherd, Brittany spaniel
Large breeds (50-75 pounds) 5 to 6 blueberries Labrador retriever, Golden retriever
Giant breeds (80+ pounds) A small handful Great Dane, Irish wolfhound

Blueberries shouldn’t replace your dog’s daily diet. Healthy treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. This includes everything outside of your dog’s regular food.

Unlike the bag of grapes lurking in the back of your fridge, blueberries are a safe “people food” that your dog can enjoy. Just make sure to wash fresh berries before feeding, and give them portions that are appropriately sized for their weight, breed, and health conditions.

Frequently asked questions

How many blueberries can I feed my dog?

Start by feeding your dog one blueberry, then look for signs of an upset stomach. As long as your dog’s tummy cooperates, you can feed up to a handful of blueberries depending on your pup’s size and medical conditions. Keep in mind that treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet, so the appropriate number of blueberries depends on their weight.. 

Why can’t all dogs eat blueberries?

If your dog has diabetes or needs to lose weight, you might want to skip blueberries—and all fruits—due to their high sugar content. While blueberries are usually a safe snack for small breeds, you want to cut the berries in half first to prevent choking and only feed them small amounts. 

What berries are toxic to dogs?

While blueberries are okay, cherries and juniper berries are off the table. Cherries pose a high choking hazard due to the pits and juniper berries are toxic. Most other berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are safe fruits in moderation as long as they’re washed beforehand.

Can blueberries upset a dog’s stomach?

Blueberries possess a high amount of fiber, so large amounts can upset your dog’s stomach. If your dog struggles with food sensitivities, it’s important to start with small portions. Feed them one blueberry at a time until you’re certain that this new snack won’t cause any adverse reactions. 

Can dogs eat blueberries raw?

Yes! Plain fresh or frozen blueberries serve the best benefits to your dog. If you choose to give your pup dehydrated blueberries, you should either dry them yourself or find naturally dried blueberries without sweeteners, food dyes, or preservatives.