Can Dogs Eat Berries? – Are They Safe for Dogs?

When it comes to berries, a lot of dog owners are unsure which, if any, are safe for their pets to eat and which should be avoided. Given the large number of different types of berries and the considerable amount of conflicting information available on many of them, this is not surprising.

In this article will give you a clear understanding of which berries are safe for your dog to eat, which should be avoided, as well as which make a great healthy snack for your dog.

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What exactly is a berry?

This may seem like a simple question, but the fact is that many of the fruits that we generally consider to be berries are not berries at all. Botanically speaking, a berry is a “simple fruit having seeds and a fleshy pulp that is produced from the ovary of a single flower.”

dog eating
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By that definition, a banana is a berry, but a strawberry or a blackberry is not.

Generally, though, most of us consider berries to be any small pulpy and edible fruit, and with this broader definition, all of the small fruits that we consider to be berries, but technically are not, such as strawberries and blackberries can be included.

For this article, we have considered any fruit that meets the botanical or common definition of berries to be a berry.

Strawberries

strawberries
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Yes, dogs can eat strawberries.

This small sweet fruit can be a great healthy snack for your dog. Strawberries are packed full of fiber, and Vitamin C so they can be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet.

As with many sweet berries though, keep in mind that they also contain a lot of natural sugars and as such, you should only feed them to your dog in moderation or save them as special treats.

Strawberries can help keep your dog’s teeth clean

Strawberries contain malic acid, an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth by causing many of the particles that make stains on a dog’s teeth to break away.


Blueberries

blueberries
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Yes, dogs can eat blueberries.

A favorite in many households, and one of the most commonly consumed berries in the United States; blueberries are a tasty and nutritious superfood.  Packed full of antioxidants, blueberries are a delicious snack for dogs and humans alike. They also contain a variety of organic compounds and vitamins which will help support your dog’s immune system and overall health, and they’re a good source of natural fiber.

Blueberries can be given to your dog fresh or frozen, and as they are quite small don’t need to be cut before giving them to your dog.

Blueberries as a training aid

If you are looking to teach your dog to catch, fresh blueberries make an ideal alternate treat to commercially prepared dog treats.

However, you should take care when feeding them to small dogs or puppies, as although they are small, blueberries could be a choking hazard.


Blackberries

blackberries
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Yes, dogs can eat blackberries.

Blackberries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber and are a healthy and delicious snack that you can share with your dog. They also contain a healthy dosage of omega-3, which is an essential fatty acid that will do wonders for your dog’s skin and coat.

As with all berries that you give to your dog as a treat, blackberries should be feed in moderation. When it comes to blackberries, it is certainly possible to have too much of a good thing, and feeding your dog more than a small amount may give them an upset stomach and diarrhea.


Raspberries

raspberry
Image by Mari Vorobei from Pixabay

Yes, dogs can eat raspberries.

These small dark-colored berries are often confused with blackberries due to their similar appearance, and it is not uncommon for people to think they are the same fruit. They are, however, two distinct fruits—although neither one of them is botanically considered a berry.

Of the two fruits, it is more likely that your dog will be attracted to raspberries, as they have a much sweeter taste than blackberries, which are typically tart.


Cranberries

cranberries
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Yes, dogs can eat cranberries

Cranberries are low in calories and high in vitamin C, fiber, and potassium and are packed full of antioxidants that are good for your dog. Cranberries can be feed raw, cooked, or dried. You should avoid giving your dog cranberry sauce which is extremely high in sugar.

Despite their nutritional benefits, the chances are that your dog won’t want to eat cranberries as these small red berries are extremely tart, which is not a flavor naturally favored by dogs.

Treatment of UTI’s

There have been several medical studies conducted into whether or not cranberry extract can be used to treat and prevent urinary tract infections (UTI’s) in dogs.

While there have been some positive results that indicate cranberry extract may be useful for preventing UTIs in dogs, it is too early to definitively tell how beneficial cranberries are in treating and preventing UTI’s in dogs.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from a urinary infection, you should seek assistance from your vet.


Grapes

grapes
Image by My pictures are CC0. When doing composings: from Pixabay

No, dogs should never eat any form for grape or raisin.

Grapes and raisins are known to be highly toxic to some dogs, and as such, you should never allow your dog to eat them.

According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, “it is not known why many dogs can ingest grapes or raisins with impunity while others develop renal failure after ingestion.”

If your dog eats even the smallest amount of grapes or raisins, you should seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Most dogs that are affected will suffer vomiting and diarrhea within 6 to 12 hours of consuming grapes or raisins. Other signs to watch out for include:

Symptoms to watch out for
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Tremors (shivering)

Avocado

avocado
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Yes, dogs can eat avocado.

The fleshy pulp of avocados is not toxic to dogs, but other parts of this tasty fruit can be harmful.

Avoid feeding your dog avocado skin

Avocados contain a chemical called persin, which is a natural chemical with antifungal properties.

Persin is known to be highly toxic to some animals; however, dogs are mostly immune to its effects. None-the-less there have been several recorded incidents where dogs have been affected by avocado toxicoses.

The skin, leaves and bark of avocado plants are known to contain the highest concentration of persin, and for that reason, you should never let your dog eat avocado skin.

Avoid the Pit

Avocados have a large seed, or pit in the middle of them. Never allow your dog to eat or paly with an avocado pit as it is large enough to be a choking hazard.

Besides, the pit of an avocado doesn’t digest very well and could cause intestinal blockages or other digestive problems for your dog.


Banana

banana
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Yes, dogs can eat bananas.

When fed in moderation, bananas can be a great low-calorie treat for your dog. They are high in potassium, vitamins and fiber, and low in cholesterol and salt. But, as bananas are high in sugar, they should only be given to your dog as a treat and always served in moderation.

Avoid the peel 

While there is nothing toxic about banana peels, they are difficult for your dog to digest and may cause them an upset stomach or even an intestinal blockage. They also pose a choking hazard, so it is best to err on the safe side and avoid feeding banana peels to your dog.


Pumpkin

dogs and pumpkin
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Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin

If you are looking for a new treat to give your dog, you may want to consider pumpkin. Cooked until soft, pumpkin can easily be mixed into your dog’s regular food to provide variety and a change of pace for their pallet.

Pumpkin is an extremely nutritious food that is full of vitamins and minerals. Its high fiber content can also be of benefit for any dog experiencing constipation or diarrhea.

You should only feed pumpkin to your dog in moderation. It contains a considerable amount of beta-carotene, which is a rich source of Vitamin A, and in extremely high concentrations of vitamin A can be toxic to dogs.


Tomato

tomatoes
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Yes, dogs can eat tomatoes.

However, only feed ripe tomatoes to your dog, and never let them chew on the stems or leaves of a tomato plant.

The stems and leaves of tomatoes, along with unripe green tomatoes, contain a substance called solanine, which can be harmful to dogs.

If your dog has consumed unripe tomatoes or the green parts of a tomato plant, you may want to watch out for the following signs:

Symptoms
  • Loss of coordination
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremors (shaking)
  • Seizures

If your dog suffers from any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate assistance from your vet.


Kiwi Fruit

kiwi fruit
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Yes, dogs can eat kiwi fruit.

Kiwi fruit is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium and in moderation can be a nice sweet treat for your dog.

However, you should only feed kiwi fruit to your dog in moderation, as too much can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Limiting your dog’s consumption to a small slice or two every few days will avoid any complications.


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