As far as superfoods go, blueberries are one of the best fruits that humans can eat. They’re light, refreshing, and packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help keep us strong, energized, and healthy. For dog lovers, this begs the question—can dogs eat blueberries?
If you’re curious about giving fresh blueberries to your dog as treats, you’re on the right track. Blueberries are a very healthy snack that can offer dogs the essential vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.
In this post, we’ll explore the nutritional benefits of letting your dog eat blueberries, the best ways to feed them the tasty blue fruit, and what can happen if your dog eats too many blueberries.
Looking for healthy snacks for your canine bestie can be challenging, but fortunately, blueberries are here to save the day!
Are Blueberries Good for Dogs?
Many of our readers wonder “Are blueberries good for dogs?” Blueberries can certainly be enjoyed by dogs of all sizes. Blueberries are a household favorite for us humans, and with the right approach and approval of your veterinarian, they might just become your four-legged pals’ favorite treat too. No matter the age or breed of your dog, blueberries can be shared safely between you.
Blueberries are low-calorie and rich in vitamins and minerals. And since they’re 85% water, they’re very hydrating and will help keep your dog feeling full. They make for a wholesome treat that might just curb their longing for your dinner plate!
How Many Blueberries Can a Dog Eat?
Once you’ve gotten the okay from your veterinarian, it’s best to feed blueberries to your dog in slow moderation, especially if they haven’t eaten them before. Feeding blueberries to your pooch will depend on what your veterinarian will recommend based on the dog’s size, weight, and regular diet.
Generally, smaller dogs can have one to three blueberries a day. For medium- to large-sized dogs, they can have four to six berries daily.
Benefits of Blueberries for Dogs
These superfoods contain the following nutrients that make them a great snack or treat:
Vitamins and Minerals
Blueberries contain vitamins C and K, which both work to promote a healthy immune system, energy levels, and general health and wellness. Blueberries also contain iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. These minerals contribute to proper bone health and strength in your dog, giving him more days at the dog park, chasing birds, swimming, barking, and being your best friend.
Blueberries are famous for their high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body against free radicals, which can cause damage to the body, quicken the progression of disease, and even advance premature aging.
Blueberries also contain fiber, which helps support your dog’s digestive tract and can help reduce the risk of colon cancer in dogs. Fiber also helps alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation. Our pups may only munch on a few berries a day, but they can still benefit from this nutritious fiber-rich snack.
Whether you are watching your dog’s weight or just feel better when feeding them low-calorie treats, blueberries are an effective snack option in your back pocket. At around 85 calories per cup, blueberries are also low in sodium and fat, making them a clean, nutrient-dense, healthy snack for your pup.
While blueberries are indeed healthy, offering them and other fruits as treats to your pooch won’t dramatically boost their health in comparison to the benefits of a well-balanced dog food.
What You Need to Know about Letting Your Dogs Eat Blueberries
Never serve your dog blueberries from a can or berries in syrup because these products’ sugar content is usually very high. Too much sugar on a regular basis can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, gas, and general discomfort in your furry friend.
It’s also worth noting that many berries and fruits are treated with chemical pesticides during harvesting, so buying organic blueberries and thoroughly washing them is your best bet.
Remember, steer clear of added sugars and keep the berries fresh and clean.
How to Safely Feed Blueberries to Your Dog
Now that we’ve answered the question, “Can dogs eat blueberries?” it’s time to discover the best ways to feed the tiny fruit to your furry friend.
Sprinkle on Top of Their Dog Food
Add some extra flavor to dog foods by sprinkling a few berries on top of their meal. The different texture and taste will spark additional interest in their food. Be sure not to use too many blueberries to ensure they don’t have a negative reaction. Remember, treats like blueberries should only consist of 10% of your pup’s overall diet.
Hand-Feed One at a Time
Ideal for small dogs, hand-feeding blueberries is a simple way to control how many your dog eats. Hand-feeding might be a smart place to start if he’s known for scarfing his food down in less than five seconds.
Use in Training Sessions
If you’re currently training your pooch, use blueberries as an enticing treat during sessions. Listening and learning simple commands will be more fun for your dog if you reward them with sweet organic blueberries!
Other Ways to Feed Your Dog Blueberries
While fresh blueberries are the easiest and most common way that dogs eat blueberries, there are a few other ways to provide a healthy treat for your pup!
Avoid blueberry yogurt bought straight from the store, as this usually has high levels of sugar. Blueberry yogurt may also contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in some human foods. It’s safe for human consumption but can be toxic (and even deadly) if consumed by animals. Opt for a sugar-free, xylitol-free plain yogurt and sprinkle some berries on top for a light, low-calorie snack.
Frozen on Hot Days
Many fruits, berries in particular, are a very refreshing choice on a hot summer day. If your dog is begging for a treat and you want to reward him with something delicious, frozen blueberries are a solid choice.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberry Muffins?
Most blueberry muffins are made with large quantities of sugar, which can be detrimental to a dog’s health. Play it safe and make them from scratch (provided your puppy has no wheat or grain allergy) or skip the baked goods entirely, opting for a fresh batch of blueberries instead.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Blueberries?
If you’re dehydrating berries and other foods yourself at home, you can also offer dried blueberries, as you know what you’re using and the ingredients (if any) of the foods you’re drying. However, offer them dried fruit in moderation. These fruits have a higher, more concentrated sugar content compared to their fresh counterparts.
Also, shop with caution when it comes to dried fruits in the stores. They often come with many preservatives to keep the food fresh for longer, which can harm your dog’s health. Many preservatives contain high amounts of sugar; we already know that’s a big no-no.
Potential Health Dangers of Eating Blueberries
If your dog is diabetic or overweight, blueberries may not be the best snack choice for their particular diet. Because blueberries contain moderate amounts of sugar (around 15 grams of sugar per cup), that may be too much for your pup.
Always consult your veterinarian before adding a new food or treat, whether animal or human, to your dog’s diet. They have the best insight and information into what foods will benefit your dog and which should be avoided.
For smaller dogs, blueberries do pose a threat of potential choking. If your dog takes too many blueberries in their mouth at once, they could choke on the berries as they attempt to swallow. You can avoid this situation by hand-feeding blueberries one at a time and making sure your dog swallows each one before offering him more.
The Final Woof on Blueberries for Dogs
Though blueberries are generally considered safe as healthy treats, deciding on how many blueberries are right for your dog is best decided between you and your veterinarian. Always start with just a few (around three or so) until you know for sure that your furry BFF isn’t allergic and can tolerate the little blue fruit like a champ.
But every dog’s palate is unique, and while some might relish the taste of these berries, others might not be fans. If your pup gives blueberries a pass, try other dog-safe treats, like other fruits or vegetables.
So here’s the verdict… Can dogs eat blueberries? Yes! Just remember to give them in moderation along with their regular well-balanced meals.