Lots of people nowadays are welcoming ever more super foods into their system, and blueberries are a popular choice.
They’re readily available, packed with goodies and easily added to meals and snacks as an extra boost in vitamins.
But many a health-conscious pet owner might wonder, can dogs eat blueberries? Yes, they can – but find out more about why and how in this in-depth guide.
Are blueberries good for dogs?
Absolutely! More than this, blueberries are actually among the most healthy and nourishing fruits you can feed your dog.
In modern times, people are happy to introduce new and healthy additions to their pet’s diet, and blueberries often make a fine addition to that trend.
Blueberries are easily available in the supermarket, and it’s entirely possible that your dog has already sniffed at some of them that have come home with you in your grocery bag.
Blueberries taste good, but aren’t as rich in naturally occurring sugars as other fruits can often be.
However, it’s important to recognise that blueberries ought to be treated as a supplement to your dog’s meal, or an addition to it – or better still, a snack.
Vets advise that treats like blueberries ought to make up about 10% of your dog’s overall calorie intake daily.
However, while blueberries as they naturally occur are good for dogs indeed, it’s important to recognise that this doesn’t automatically qualify products with blueberries in to become beneficial to your dog’s diet.
For instance, a blueberry muffin is a much less healthy snack for your dog than a handful of blueberries.
Therefore, products with blueberries in or blueberries that have been treated with preservatives, artificial sweeteners or added sugars come less recommended as part of your dog’s diet.
It’s a smart plan to keep it simple – blueberries in their natural form are small and ideally shaped to be naturally slipped into your dog’s diet in a beneficial way.
Come summertime, blueberries can be an especially appreciated treat by your dog if you’re able to serve them up frozen.
The coolness and the added crunchiness in texture makes for a lip-smacking and refreshing way to beat the heat for your dog, and will surely be something for which your pooch is happy and thankful.
Of course, every dog is an individual, and they might not take to the taste of blueberries at all.
It’s always a smart plan to supervise your dog whenever they’re trying something new, to help ascertain if they enjoy it, but also that they’re eating it sensibly.
Some dogs wolf everything down without thinking, which could prove the occasional choking hazard where blueberries are concerned – especially frozen ones in smaller dogs.
Health benefits of blueberries for dogs
There are many superb health benefits for dogs that come from blueberries.
It’s why so many dog owners choose to use them as treats for good behaviour that don’t come with high sugar content, or a meal supplement to be mixed in with the existing dinners of their pups.
For example, there are antioxidants in blueberries that can help boost the health, wellbeing and overall energy levels of your dog.
These will help the immune system as well, and provide some extra resistance to illness and aches that will build up over time as your dog eats more blueberries.
Of course, as with anything, it’s important not to over indulge in blueberries for your dog.
A dog who becomes especially fond of blueberries ought to be similarly watched, in case he or she teaches him or herself to sneak them when nobody is around.
If there’s a blueberry bush in your garden or in the areas where you and your dog take your walks, that’s especially important.
The reason for this is that too many blueberries might well give your dog an upset tummy, not to mention some messy toilet time as a result.
This comes from the fibre in blueberries, but because that fibre is there, it therefore makes sense that this would do wonders for your dog’s digestive system if you do indeed feed blueberries to your dog in moderation.
Alongside that fibre content though, it’s important to know that blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
Health and energy come thick and fast from these fantastic vitamins, and because blueberries have much less sugar than sweeter fruits like bananas and strawberries, they can get to work much more effectively.
How many blueberries can a dog eat daily?
Naturally, if your pet had his or her way, treats like blueberries would be unloaded into their dinner bowl by the punnet, day and night.
But of course, we as owners need to show a little more restraint and responsibility in helping our hounds to lead long, happy and fulfilling lives.
You’ll find that many vets and experts take your dog’s age, size and breed into consideration if offering up their official recommendation, but don’t be afraid to experiment yourself too.
For a smaller dog, consider no more than a handful of five to seven blueberries a day as their upper limit – and perhaps closer to 12 for a larger dog.
The preparation of blueberries as dog treats is just as important, however.
As already discussed, some dog owners prefer to freeze blueberries before feeding them to their dogs, in much the same way as frozen slices of banana can be a little more engaging to a dog to chew on than just mushy fruit alone.
In fact, if your dog hasn’t taken to eating blueberries but you’re quite adamant on making sure they get some of the vitamins from them into their systems, freezing them might be the way to go.
Just keep in mind that frozen blueberries can be a choking hazard – maybe defrost them slightly before serving, or just make sure your dog is chewing his or her food.
Other ways to help dogs eat blueberries is to mash them up into a paste or puree, or otherwise mix them into their regular food.
Remember though, these are more treats or supplements for vitamins than they are a meal in their own right.
What to do if your dog eats a blueberry
Luckily, dogs can’t come to any harm if they eat blueberries without your intending them too.
In fact, even if your dog finds a whole bush full of blueberries and eats almost all of them before anyone can stop them, there won’t be any severe health side effects at all.
Even the most conscientious dog owner knows that our canine companions have the most loveable crafty ways of getting to goodies they shouldn’t.
Maybe your dog has rifled through your grocery bags while you were distracted and eaten too many blueberries that way, or maybe he or she just can’t help but nibble at them from the bush while you’re out on your walk together.
In the absolute worst case scenario, your dog might choke by chomping down too many blueberries at once – they can be surprisingly robust and keep their shape if not chewed just right.
If that’s the case, help calm your pet and clear their airways, and be standing by with a refreshing bowl of water if he or she coughs anything up.
For the most part though, the worst you can expect if your dog eats too many blueberries – or is given them by someone else who doesn’t know they’re only meant to be an occasional treat – is a bit of an upset tummy.
The fibre in the blueberries will work your dog’s digestive system a little more rigorously than he or she is likely used to, so it could lead to an upset tummy or them lying around feeling a bit bloated and unwell.
While it’s likely to tug on your heartstrings to see them like this, your pet is at least in no danger – just some discomfort.
Keep in mind that it could be pretty messy when your dog pops into the yard to do their business though, as the blueberries will take no prisoners working their way through his or her digestive system if eaten to excess.
Just be there for your dog when the worst is over, and make sure they know to rely on you, rather than themselves, to know just how many blueberries to feed them!
Some fruits and berries are good for your dog, while others – like grapes – are incredibly dangerous.
Luckily, blueberries are not only entirely safe for your dog to eat in sensible moderation, but they also come packed with plenty of vitamins and antioxidants to help them stay healthy and happy – as well as fibre that helps them stay regular.
Your dog’s immune system could well get a welcome boost if you feed these berries to them as the occasional treat or snack, and frozen blueberries are very refreshing for your dog in hotter weather too.