As a dog owner, you might be tempted to share your favorite people food with your furry friend. After all, how could it harm your dog if it does not harm you? The truth is that your dog digests food differently than you, and giving him the wrong food could lead to serious health problems. This is why you should always learn which people foods, including fruits, your dog can safely eat. With that in mind, Can Dogs Eat Blueberries? Read on to find out.
Can You Feed Your Dog Blueberries?
Yes, you can feed your dog blueberries, and he will probably love them. Blueberries are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. According to AICR, phytochemicals have multiple health benefits, including fighting cancer. Additionally, they are a superfood and an excellent source of minerals and vitamins, which explains why most dogs love them. In addition to being low in calories, blueberries also have high amounts of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial to your dog’s proper nutrition and plays a crucial role in bone health and formation. The antioxidants in blueberries have also been shown to improve animal health by preventing molecular and cellular damage. They do this by helping the body fight free radicals. A study published in NCBI shows that introducing antioxidants to your dog’s diet can slow down the effects of brain aging. This means that blueberries can make a valuable and important snack for senior dogs.
Benefits of Blueberries for Dogs
As mentioned, blueberries have a low-calorie count, which means they can make great training rewards and will not cause your dog to gain weight. They are also high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, which can help combat cancer, arthritis pain, and brain aging while boosting your dog’s immunity. In some cases, they can even prevent health conditions like the common cold and heart disease. Blueberries also have a low sugar content when compared to other fruits. This makes them ideal for dogs with diabetes because they don’t increase the risk of worsening the condition. That said, while blueberries offer many health benefits, dogs differ from each other. Always consult your vet before introducing blueberries to your dog’s diet, especially if your four-legged friend has a medical condition.
Can Blueberries Harm Your Dog?
Blueberries contain a lot of fiber, and although fiber is beneficial to your dog in appropriate amounts, too much of it can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. If you grow these fruits in your yard, therefore, you should install a gate and keep it closed so that your dog doesn’t gorge himself on blueberries. You should also try to avoid artificial blueberry-flavored dog treats. While they might taste good, they often contain substances like preservatives, artificial sugars, and chemicals that could be harmful to your dog. The added sugar could also be dangerous to dogs with diabetes. Another possible harm of feeding blueberries to your dog is the possibility of choking. Yes, blueberries are small and soft and don’t present a serious choking hazard. However, when frozen, they become hard and can choke smaller dogs. The risk is not great, but you should always defrost frozen blueberries for smaller dogs to be on the safe side.
How to Feed Blueberries to Your Dog
As a rule of thumb, always consult your vet before giving your dog people food, including blueberries. They will recommend the ideal serving portions to ensure your dog remains healthy. If your dog has a medical condition that could be worsened by blueberries, they will also advise you to avoid them. Overall, animal health experts agree that treats should not make up more than 10 percent of a dog’s caloric intake. This rule applies to all types of treats, including healthy and low-calorie ones like blueberries. If your vet gives you the go-ahead, you can feed blueberries to your dog in one of the following ways:
- Mashing and adding them to your dog’s food as a nutrient boost.
- Blending them with other ingredients to create a healthy dog smoothie,
- Feeding them to your dog directly as berries.
- Freezing and feeding them to your dog as a summer treat – works better on larger dogs.
- Using them as a reward during training. Blueberries fit the bill in the training department because they have low sugar and calorie content.
Always feed your dog organic blueberries. Since they haven’t been exposed to pesticides or herbicides, they are unlikely to make your dog sick. As with any fruit you feed your dog, clean blueberries under running water remove any dirt that could harm your dog’s digestive system. After feeding your dog these berries for the first time, monitor them for any signs of gastrointestinal distress. Not all dogs will love blueberries. If your dog finds them unpleasant or bitter, consider other fruits like bananas or strawberries. Do your research, however, because not all fruits are healthy for dogs. Some studies have shown that grapes, for instance, can cause kidney failure.
How Many Blueberries Can You Feed Your Dog?
Whether you are feeding your dog frozen or fresh blueberries, make sure to do it in moderation. Blueberries are very small, so it is easy to get carried away and feed your dog small chunks all day long only to realize that they are a whole bucket load. Remember, snacks and treats should not make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet, so be deliberate. If you are unsure of how many calories your dog should consume in a day, consult your vet and have them create a diet plan for your dog. You can also ask them to help you factor in treats like blueberries.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries? Generally, yes, dogs can eat and will likely love blueberries. These fruits are full of nutrients and vitamins that can boost your dog’s health and don’t present a choking hazard because they are very small and soft. That said, you should never go overboard when feeding blueberries to your dog. Their high fiber content means that, if taken in too-large proportions, they can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. Always contact your vet before feeding your dog blueberries to get the best proportion recommendations.