We know that dogs are largely carnivores, but we also know they can benefit from small amounts of vegetables and fruits. Besides, it’s fun to share our favorite snack with our pet every now and then. Surely, if fruits are good for humans, they must be good for dogs too?
Is It Safe For My Dog To Eat Blackberries?
Most of us are aware that dogs should never be fed foods like onions, chocolate, raisins, and grapes. Because dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, they’re not easily able to digest vegetables and fruits. We also know that dogs don’t necessarily need vegetables and fruit in their diet.
Blackberries are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they also contain sugar, which is a no-no for dogs. It seems there are only a few fruits that are safe for your pooch to eat, so let’s discuss blackberries and determine whether they’re a safe snack for your pet.
Are Blackberries Safe for My Dog?
The answer is yes, your pet can have blackberries, and when fed in small amounts on a regular basis they may offer some benefits. They can be served alone, added to a homemade treat, or mixed in with food. Your pet will love blackberries and they’re sure to become his new favorite snack. Because they’re low in calories you can safely offer your pup a few of these delicious berries from time to time.
Blackberries are a great source of antioxidants, Omega-3, and fiber for your dog. Antioxidants aid with digestion while Omega-3 keeps your dog’s hair and skin healthy. Fiber in your dog’s diet is ideal for promoting healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Blackberries also contain minerals (potassium, zinc, calcium, and copper) and vitamins including folate, manganese, niacin, thiamine, B6, and Vitamins A, C, K, and E.
Note: Dogs produce their own Vitamin C so don’t really require any supplementation.
Blackberries can be served to your pet frozen, fresh, baked (into your homemade dog treat), or pureed with xylitol-free peanut butter, with other dog-safe fruit or vegetables, or with yogurt.
Moderation is Key
Keep in mind that dogs’ nutritional needs are not the same as ours, so while blackberries do have nutritional benefits they must always be given in moderation, and only when you know your dog’s stomach will not be adversely affected.
If your pet has too many blackberries they can give him/her an upset stomach. Start with just two or three blackberries and keep an eye on your dog for an upset stomach or diarrhea. If all goes well, you can add a few to his food, or offer them from your hand as a treat.
The amount you feed your pet should be determined by his size; for example, if you have a small dog, just one or two would be sufficient, whereas a large dog should be able to tolerate five or six. Keep in mind that you can also add blackberries to your own homemade treat recipe – in moderation. If your dog has a weight problem, giving him one or two blackberries will allow him to enjoy a nice, sweet treat without lots of calories.
Words of Caution!
- We always suggest that dog owners consult a canine nutritionist or veterinarian before adding any new food to their pet’s diet.
- It’s very important that you wash and scrub the outer surface of all fruit, including blackberries, to remove herbicides, pesticides, manure, and dirt.
- Blackberries may not be a good choice if you have a diabetic dog because of the sugar content. In addition, don’t feed blackberry jam to your pet as it is extremely high in sugar and contains many additives, one of which could be the artificial sweetener Xylitol.
- Consult your veterinarian immediately should your dog experience vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or lack of appetite, after eating blackberries.
What About Other Types of Berries?
Other types of berries, like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, are also safe for your dog – in moderation. They’re soft and easy to chew and contain no ingredients toxic to dogs. Our second warning is grapes, raisins, and currants. Grapes are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause acute kidney failure, leading to death. Sadly, some small dogs have died from eating just one grape! Cherries should always be avoided due to their pits.
Blueberries: Blueberries are so rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, that they’re often referred to as a superfood. And, when given in moderation, they’re very healthy for your dog.
Blueberries contain a little more sugar than blackberries, the same amount of Vitamin K, half the amount of fiber, and slightly more carbohydrates than blackberries. They also contain slightly less Vitamin C, E, B-6, A, pantothenic, riboflavin, thiamine, folate, and niacin, and a lot less Omega-3 than blackberries.
Tip: Dogs love frozen blueberries, and they’re a great treat for your pet on hot days.
Strawberries: Strawberries are another delicious treat for your dog and they have fewer calories than blackberries and blueberries. If your dog is a little overweight, strawberries might be your best choice for a tasty treat.
Strawberries have less fiber and carbohydrates than blackberries, with very little Vitamin A, but more Vitamin C. They also have more Vitamins B6, E, and K, thiamine, and niacin; but less iron, calcium, and Omega-3. Both berries have the same amount of folate acid.
Did you know that strawberries contain a teeth-whitening enzyme? Good for both humans and dogs.
Another Tip: Dogs also love frozen strawberries!
Raspberries: Raspberries contain beneficial antioxidants, but they also contain natural xylitol. Even though the levels are low, you should be aware that xylitol in large amounts is highly dangerous to your pet. If your dog loves raspberries, keep the serving amount small so your dog won’t be harmed. Small dogs should have no more than three raspberries, and large dogs no more than six.
Raspberries contain less carbohydrates and calories than blackberries, more fiber and Omega-3, and a lot more Vitamin C. They have a lot less sugar and Vitamins A and K, slightly less Vitamins E and B, more zinc and iron, and roughly the same mineral content.
Are There Berries That Are NOT Safe for Dogs?
There are definitely some types of berries that should never be fed to your dog under any circumstance.
- The first berry we’ll mention here is cherries. Every part of the cherry is dangerous to your dog, from the pit, stem, leaves, tree, and the shrub itself. The pits are dangerous because they’re a choking hazard, while every other part contains cyanide, which we know to be lethal when eaten in large enough quantities.
- Other berries like juniper berries, holly berries, pole berries, baneberries, and mistletoe berries have similar risks related to the pit and/or chemicals that are highly toxic to dogs. Please don’t ever feed any of these berries to your loved pet.
- Blackberry shrubs in parks and gardens are typically sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals. If ingested, these chemicals can be very dangerous to your pet’s health. We suggest you don’t let your pet consume these berries, and if they have consumed some you should keep a close eye on your dog.
What About Other Types Of Fruit For My Dog?
Yes, your dog can certainly have other types of fruit, in moderation. Mangoes and peaches are fine, provided the pit has been removed. They can also have pears, oranges, apples, bananas, cantaloupe, and pineapple, provided all seeds, core, and peel have been removed prior to feeding your dog. Dogs also love broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.
Remember that treats should add up to no more than ten percent of your dog’s daily diet. The other ninety percent should consist of nutritionally balanced, high-quality dog food.
Blackberries are just one type of fruit you can give your dog as a treat. We trust the above tips help you decide which berries are good for your dog, and which are not.