It's hard not to want to give your furry friend a taste of your plate when they flash you those puppy dog eyes! This is especially true when it comes to foods we typically consider to be healthy - like blackberries. However, not all human foods are safe for dogs to eat. So, is it safe for dogs to eat blackberries? Will feeding blackberries to your dog cause problems with your pet's health? Do dogs gain the same health benefits as people?
Below, we will share everything you need to know about giving blackberries to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?
Yes! Dogs can safely eat blackberries! However, it's important to keep in mind that a dog's diet would not originally contain berries, so blackberries should be approached like any other treat - with moderation. There are also a few health considerations that might pertain to your dog.
Health Benefits Of Eating Blackberries
Blackberries are a nutritious fruit and offer many health benefits to both humans and their canine companions!
Vitamins have a notably high amount of Vitamin A, which is great for supporting healthy vision, activating carbohydrate metabolism, and reducing inflammation! It also contains Vitamin C (boosts the immune system) and Vitamin K (helps blood clot).
Blackberries are more full of vitamins than minerals, but they do include potassium, zinc, copper, calcium, and manganese.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty acids in a plant? Yes! Blackberries contain the plant-based fatty acid known as ALA. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for heart health, brain function, and coat health.
Like many berries, blackberries have lots of antioxidants - specifically anthocyanins. These help fight free radicals that can cause cell damage that would eventually lead to chronic health issues.
Blackberries have a decent amount of insoluble fiber. Fiber helps regulate a dog's digestive system, preventing constipation.
Low Sugar Content
Blackberries do contain sugar but in a very low amount. Because the sugar is paired with the high fiber content, blackberries aren't likely to cause any glucose issues!
The Downside To Dogs Eating Blackberries
Although blackberries have many essential nutrients that both dogs and their owners can enjoy, your dog may have some health concerns that might cause blackberries to be a concern.
Too Much Sugar
It's true that blackberries have a low sugar content - but the sugar is there, nonetheless. For overweight dogs or diabetic dogs, it may be best to avoid blackberries altogether. Sugar might also bother dogs with sensitive stomachs. Therefore, too many blackberries can cause GI upset. A dog's daily diet typically doesn't contain sugar, and so your dog might have a hard time digesting it. The health benefits of blackberries aren't worth an upset stomach!
When feeding your dog a new food, it's wise to watch carefully for an allergic reaction. Most dogs eat blackberries without any sort of allergic reaction, but it does happen on occasion. After feeding your dog blackberries, watch for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a rash around the mouth, and excessive drooling. If you notice any of these signs, it's best to consider your dog to be allergic to blackberries and avoid them in the future.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in blackberries. You may have heard that it's absolutely important to avoid giving your dog foods sweetened with xylitol, as xylitol poisoning is deadly to dogs. This is true! However, your dog would have to eat upwards of six cups of blackberries in order for there to be a concern.
What Is The Best Way To Feed Blackberries To Your Dog
There are many ways to incorporate blackberries into your dog's menu as an occasional healthy treat!
- Hand-Feeding - The most straightforward way to feed your dog blackberries is simply to offer them fresh, one by one, in your hand. It doesn't get any easier than that!
- Diced - You can mix diced blackberries in with their typical dog food. This is a great way to introduce new foods to an otherwise skeptical dog. They probably won't even know it's there, but they'll enjoy the flavor!
- Smashed - There are a wide variety of ways to use smashed blackberries! They're particularly great for lick mats or any of the many food toys that offer mental stimulation.
- Frozen - Frozen blackberries are a fantastic treat on hot summer days. If you have a small breed of dog, cut up the berries prior to freezing. Otherwise, the frozen berries will pose a choking hazard!
- Blended - Make your own healthy "pup cup" using a homemade smoothie of blackberries with other fruits! A generous dollop of yogurt or peanut butter will boost the protein content of these fruity smoothie treats.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Blackberries Should My Dog Eat?
This is entirely dependent on the size of your dog! For a small dog, a serving size of fresh blackberries would be only one or two berries, and for large dogs, a solid handful is appropriate. Always remember that, on any given day, 90% of the calories your dog consumes should be their regular dog food. The remaining 10% can be healthy treats!
Are Wild Blackberries Safe For My Dog To Eat?
If you come across wild berries outside, don't worry - wild blackberries are safe for dogs to eat. However, make certain that your wild blackberry bushes identification is correct because many berries are toxic to dogs. These include juniper berries, holly berries, pokeberries, and mistletoe berries.
Can Dogs Eat Blackberry Jam Or Pie Filling?
You can feed your dog fresh blackberries, but avoiding blackberry fillings or by-products is important. This is because blackberry jams and pies don't just contain blackberries, and they typically have a significant amount of added sugar. Some of these blackberry products might be sweetened using an artificial sweetener, most of which are incredibly dangerous for dogs to consume.