Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
There's no reason to feel blue about blueberries in your and your dog's diet! These healthy little snacks are considered safe for dogs to eat, and are included on almost every list of fruits and vegetables that dogs can eat safely.
Blueberries are considered a sweet but relatively low-calorie treat, with plenty of vitamin C and fiber. Studies show blueberries boast a wide range of other health benefits for mammals—meaning both human beings and our canine companions have a lot to gain from adding this nutritional superfood to our diets.
Blueberries Are Safe for Dogs to Eat
Blueberries are a perfect fruity substitute to other foods that are considered toxic to dogs, including grapes and raisins.
Ahna Brutlag, DVM, a vet who works with the Pet Poison Helpline to help answer potential poisoning questions for veterinarians and pet owners, says it's fine to give your dog blueberries. "You'll even see pet treats with blueberry as an ingredient," Brutlag says. But she cautions that while pet owners can think of raw blueberries as a relatively low-calorie snack option, blueberries that have been added to high-calorie desserts and baked goods are probably not the best option. A dog who's fed too many blueberry muffins may gain weight and run into medical issues associated with obesity.
In addition, many baked blueberry treats meant for people can include a lot of fat."If a medium-sized dog ate a whole muffin, we might see pancreatitis," says Brutlag, as the big dose of fat can inflame a dog's pancreas.
How to Safely Feed Blueberries to Dogs
Blueberries are not toxic, so the only dangers to feeding your dog blueberries are choking and allergies. If your dog tends to eat their food quickly, a raw blueberry—especially a hard, frozen blueberry—could be inhaled instead of swallowed. If you're worried about the choking hazard of a blueberry with a fast eater, consider soft foods that require more chewing and can't be wolfed down whole, like cut-up bananas, watermelons, or peaches.
Tips for Introducing Blueberries into Your Dog’s Diet
As with any new food introduced to a dog's diet, if you start feeding Fido blueberries, watch for signs of an upset stomach. Diarrhea, gas, or other gastrointestinal issues might indicate your dog is allergic to blueberries or isn't tolerating the increase in fiber well. Check with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog might be allergic to the fruit or something else new in his diet.
Brutlag says that if you want to try out blueberries on your dog, start with a few and see how it goes. "Some dogs really like them," she says. "Others need a little encouragement."
You should always wash off blueberries before feeding them to a dog to get rid of any pesticides, dirt, or mold. One of Brutlag's dogs, Sherman, who took a shine to raspberries, another safe treat, didn't always give her the chance.
"We grew them in our garden," she says, "and I'd see Sherman picking his way through the raspberry bramble to eat all the ripe ones."
Sounds like one smart, healthy pup!