- Yes, dogs may eat blueberries — These superfruits boast antioxidants and fiber, which can help with brain and digestive function.
- Consult your vet — It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet about how many blueberries are safe for your specific breed.
- Dog food comes first — Even healthy snacks and treats like blueberries should equal no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
Blueberries are in season in many parts of the U.S. during the summer, and they’re a healthy and delicious food for humans year-round. It’s fun to give our dogs some of our favorite foods so they can share in the season. However, other favorites like chocolate or grapes are dangerous for dogs to consume.
Blueberries come packed with antioxidants, which combat cell damage in humans and canines. They’re also loaded with digestion-friendly fiber and phytochemicals. But that doesn’t mean blueberries should be the primary source of nutrition for your dog. We’ll help you find the right balance between treats (canine and human) and other parts of your dog’s diet.
How healthy are blueberries for dogs?
Though you likely know there are treats specifically designed for dogs, blueberries are a safe and healthy alternative. Blueberries are “superfruits,” which means they have a long list of health benefits such as:
- Few calories. Keeping a dog’s weight in check is important, so low-calorie treats are ideal. 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. Vitamin C boosts your pup’s immune system, lowers inflammation, and improves cognitive aging.
- Fiber. Fiber helps the GI tract function. It aids in digestion and bowel movements. Because fiber breaks down more slowly, it 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 have anti-cancer properties or cardiac benefits for dogs.
- Antioxidants. Studies show antioxidants can lower cognitive dysfunction in senior pets.
How to feed your dog blueberries
Blueberries are a low-maintenance human food that your dog can enjoy occasionally. For larger breeds, blueberries don’t require any prep and can be served whole. They can be a choking hazard for small dogs, so it’s best to cut them into pieces equivalent to the size of your pet’s kibble or smaller.
Step 1: Wash berries before serving
It’s important to wash blueberries (even organic ones) before giving them to your dog because it removes any dirt or pesticides.
Step 2: Use caution with small dogs
Puppies can have blueberries as a training treat starting at eight weeks if they are eating dog food on their own. For puppies that weigh less than 20 pounds, it’s best to cut blueberries into smaller pieces to reduce choking risks.
Step 3: Serve blueberries as an occasional treat
You can turn blueberry treats into a game by throwing them in the air and teaching your dog to catch them. If you’re into baking, adding some blueberries to a delicious DIY treat is a fun way to reward your pup.
Blueberries shouldn’t replace your dog’s regular diet, though. Give them to your dog in small quantities. Even healthy treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily food intake.
👉 Dogs can enjoy fresh blueberries or even frozen ones for a tasty treat on a hot summer day.
Other fruits that are safe for your dog
Blueberries aren’t the only things dog owners can share with their furry friends. Other items in the produce aisle are perfectly safe to feed your pet as an occasional treat.
- Apples. An apple a day may keep the veterinarian away. Apples have vitamins C and A — vitamin C helps treat inflammation while vitamin A boosts the immune system and helps with vision. Just be sure to take out the seeds and core before treating your pet. They are choking hazards.
- Bananas. Bananas are a good source of fiber and potassium. They also contain a lot of sugar, so consider this fruit an occasional treat. Consult your vet if your pup has diabetes.
- Cantaloupe. Cantaloupe has fiber and may help quench your dog’s thirst. Like bananas, they may have too much sugar for some dogs. Avoid feeding the rind or seeds to the dog. The rind can cause stomach upset, and the seeds are a choking hazard.
- Mango. Mangos are high in vitamins A and C and antioxidants. Though they are low in calories, they contain a high sugar content. Remove the pits, as they can cause gastrointestinal obstruction.
- Oranges. This citrus fruit is loaded with fiber and vitamin C. Be sure to peel an orange before treating your pet because it can cause vomiting if ingested. Also, be mindful of the sugar content.
- Pineapple. Small amounts of this tropical fruit contain fiber and nutrients. Be on the lookout for upset tummies, though — the fiber and sugar can lead to GI issues.
- Pumpkin. Canned pumpkin (not sugary pumpkin pie) can help with digestion.
- Strawberries. Strawberries have an enzyme that can whiten teeth and provide vitamin C.
- Watermelon. Ditch the rind and seeds before you let your pet (occasionally) eat this nutrient-rich, hydrating treat. It has a considerable amount of sugar, though.
Many human foods are OK — even good — for pets. But it’s often necessary to prepare the food first. Some foods are too big to eat whole, making them a choking hazard. You’ll need to cut them. Others contain peels, pits, or seeds that need to be removed before serving to prevent choking and blockages.
Avoid dehydrated fruits
Feeding a large number of dehydrated fruits can cause increased sodium levels (hypernatremia) in dogs which may lead to lethargy, dehydration, weakness, and vomiting. It is best to avoid feeding any dehydrated fruits as a precaution. Always consult your vet before feeding your dog table food. Not all of it is safe, and pups with specific conditions may need to steer clear.
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Frequently asked questions
How many blueberries can I feed my dog?
Start by feeding your dog one blueberry, then look for signs of GI upset. Treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet, so smaller dogs should eat fewer blueberries than larger ones.
Can blueberries give dogs diarrhea?
Blueberries are typically a great snack that won’t harm your dog’s health. Every pup is different, though. Blueberries may cause upset stomachs and diarrhea, particularly if you give your pet too many. If your pet has diarrhea after eating a blueberry, it’s best to avoid them.
What fruit is toxic to dogs?
Blueberries may be safe to feed in moderation, but other fruits are not, including grapes and raisins. Seeds, cores, pits, peels, and rinds aren’t safe to consume, either, in most cases.
What fruit is safe for dogs?
Besides blueberries, fruits like strawberries, pineapples, mangos, and watermelons are safe for dogs. Always consult your vet first, though. Some conditions, like diabetes, make high-sugar fruits a no-go for dogs.