Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

helloBARK!
By helloBARK!
Updated on 8 December 2020

Blueberries are a popular choice for dog owners who enjoy a post-workout smoothie.

You may be tempted to give your canine companion a blueberry or two as you enjoy a fruity snack.

The good news is that it’s safe to feed your dog blueberries in moderation.

The American Kennel Club write on their website that dog owners can feed both fresh and frozen blueberries to their pooch.

The organization add that blueberries should be fed in moderation and they shouldn’t make up more than 10 per cent of your dog’s diet.

While it’s great to see the AKC endorse feeding your dog some blueberries as healthy treats, you should still consult with your veterinarian before you feed a new food type to your four-legged friend.

Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as veterinary, medical or professional advice. The content of our articles does not constitute veterinary advice. It’s always best to speak with your vet or a certified pet nutritionist before making any changes to your pet's diet or feeding routine.

In this article, we’re going to hear from some experts to learn more about dogs and blueberries.

Is It Safe To Feed Your Dog Blueberries?

Dr Michelle Burch, DVM from Safe Pet Hounds

Yes, it is incredibly safe to feed your dog blueberries, and they are included as ingredients in many commercial dog foods and treats.

Dr Maureen Murithi, DVM from SpiritDog Training

Both large and small breed dogs can eat blueberries. They make an excellent choice as a treat. They can be served as is as they are pretty small.

What Are The Benefits?

Dr Michelle Burch, DVM from Safe Pet Hounds

I recommend blueberries as a healthy treat for dogs or in their primary diet for their many benefits. Your dog can eat fresh blueberries that have been washed or frozen blueberries as a summer treat to keep them cool.

Blueberries are antioxidants and help to reduce the number of free radicals in your dog’s body. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the body that can damage cells and increase the risk of cancer.

Additionally, blueberries are high fiber and low-calorie food. This combination can help your dog feel full easier and decrease the risk of obesity. Approximately 55.8% of dogs in the United States are overweight, leading to further health diseases, including joint damage, heart disease, and a higher risk of diabetes.

Blueberries are brain food for not only you but your dog as well. The antioxidants in blueberries can help improve the function of older neurons. The improved function will improve cell signaling, which can help delay or mildly improve cognitive dysfunction in older dogs.

Dr Maureen Murithi, DVM from SpiritDog Training

In terms of nutritional value, blueberries are considered superfoods. They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Vitamin C which is found in high amounts helps in strengthening the immune system as well as a building block for connective tissues in the body such as collagen.

Healthy Training Treats

Dale Buchanan, Certified Dog Trainer and Behaviourist

I use fresh blueberries often as a reward with positive reinforcement obedience training as an alternative to traditional dog treats. I sometimes will cut them in half so the dog can eat them faster, because the skin of a blueberry can be difficult for some dogs to quickly puncture through and they end up swallowing them whole.

Emma Bowdrey, Qualified Canine Behaviourist at Four Long Legs

I often add blueberries to 0% yoghurt and freeze them in the summer. My greyhound Swift loves them, but sprinkling a few over a morning feed is just as satisfying for them.

Swift enjoys a blueberry treat (Photo: Four Long Legs)

Swift enjoys a blueberry treat (Photo: Four Long Legs)

Dr Sara Ochoa, Veterinary Consultant for Doglab.com

Blueberries are low in calories and great for dogs trying to lose weight and are even a treat that you can give to your diabetic dog as they are not very high in sugar.

Julie Burgess, Certified Veterinary Technician and Founder of Critter Copy By Julie

If you’re trying to train your dog to catch treats mid-air, why not think about frozen blueberries? This slightly sweet treat is relatively easy for your dog to grab. Given it may take many repetitions to train your dog on catching, blueberries are a great option because they’re also low in calories. Use blueberries to train your dog for cues like sit, down, shake paws, and so on. Blueberry smoothies containing mashed blueberries and plain yogurt and frozen inside a Kong or other interactive toy will keep your dog or puppy busy for awhile.

Potential Risks

Dr Michelle Burch, DVM from Safe Pet Hounds

I warn pet owners dried blueberries should be feed minimally or not at all. Large ingestion amounts of dried blueberries, or any other dried fruit, can cause increased sodium levels in the blood. The increased sodium levels can cause neurological signs, including lethargy, weakness, drunk walking (ataxia), behavior changes, and muscle cramps. If your dog ingests many dried blueberries and these signs are seen, I recommend contacting your veterinarian.

Dr Maureen Murithi, DVM from SpiritDog Training

Blueberries should be thoroughly washed before serving to get rid of harmful carcinogenic pesticides. Due to their small size, they can also potentially choke your dog while eating.

Feed In Moderation

Dr Maureen Murithi, DVM from SpiritDog Training

They should however be fed in moderation just like other treats i.e 7% to 10% of your dog’s diet.

Anything Else To Consider?

Dog opens wide for fruit and vegetables (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Dog opens wide for fruit and vegetables (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Emma Bowdrey, Qualified Canine Behaviourist at Four Long Legs

As a firm believer in what we feed our dogs has a big impact on their behaviour, I have done a lot of research into what foods are not only safe but also beneficial for our canine companions. The general rule is if it’s good for us, it is also good for our dogs.

However, owners need to take into consideration the calorie content vs size, weight, and activity levels of the dogs. All foods in moderation. Some fruits can be dangerous for dogs, Grapes contains a toxic substance that may lead to kidney failure and cherry seeds contain cyanide that reduces the flow of oxygen in the blood.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, dogs can eat blueberries. They’re a healthy, low calories snack for pups.

However, dog owners should remember to make sure blueberries don’t make up more than 10% of your canine companion’s diet.

It’s a good idea to wash the blueberries before you give them to your four-legged friend to wash away any potential chemicals on the fruit.

While you can feed fresh or frozen blueberries to your dog in moderation, you should avoid giving your pet dried blueberries.

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