Can dogs eat blueberries?

Written by Dr. Colleen Fisher  | Published on: 6/19/2020

Nothing says summer like fresh berries, and your dog thinks so too!  Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all safe for your dog to eat – in moderation. Other safe fruits include apples, pears, bananas, peaches, watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. Try offering your dog whole berries and cut-up fruit as a delicious snack or training treat.

The good and the bad about blueberries

  • Limit fresh berries and other fruit to 5-10% of your dog’s daily diet to avoid tummy upsets like vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydrated fruit is even more likely to cause gastrointestinal problems.
  • Berries provide vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and K, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. The amounts may not be significant to your dog’s overall nutritional status, but it’s nice to know they are healthy!
  • Blueberries contain natural antioxidants that help repair cells from damage due to inflammation, exercise, and other forms of oxidative stress. Sled dogs receiving blueberry supplementation had higher levels of antioxidants, suggesting they may be better protected against muscle damage after exercise.
  • Both fresh and frozen berries can present a choking hazard to small dogs or dogs that eat them while overly excited. Be careful when using blueberries and small pieces of fruit as a reward. Make sure your dog chews and swallows each berry or fruit slice before you offer another one.
  • Allergies – Although uncommon in pets, we can see allergies to berries and other fruits. If you notice a skin rash, sore feet, or ear infection, check with your vet about possible sensitivities.
  • Moulds on berries can be a problem for pets as well as people. Wash berries thoroughly and avoid feeding overripe or fermented fruit to avoid contaminants.

Are all types of fruit safe for my dog?

No, not all fruits are safe. The grape family, including raisins and currents, can cause severe kidney damage and death. Because there is no known safe dose, we recommend avoiding grapes, raisins, and currents for all dogs.

Avoid feeding any fruit still containing the pits or hard rind.  Peaches and cherries, for example, contain small amounts of toxic substances like cyanide within the pits. We are more likely, however, to see problems when the stones are swallowed whole and cause intestinal blockages. If a pit gets lodged in the digestive system, surgery and removal of the foreign body is the only answer to saving the pet’s life. We can see similar foreign body problems with melon rinds and thick citrus peels.

If your dog accidentally ingests anything harmful, don’t take any chances. Call your vet immediately.

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