This morning for breakfast I had a big bowl of berries with yogurt and granola. It’s my typical go-to breakfast. Fresh, and pretty healthy. And I always share the berries with my pups when I’m making it.
And it got me thinking… I know that the berries I feed are great for my dogs. I’m all for feeding fresh and making sure they have lots of variety. But does everyone know that? Do people shy away from certain berries because they’re unsure if they’re safe or not? I’m sure that’s the case!
So, to help you out, today we’re covering berries for dogs – the ones you can definitely add to their breakfast and the ones you shouldn’t share.
Good Berries for Dogs
These are the berries for dogs that top the “yes” list!
Blueberries top our chart for the best berries for dogs. They’re packed with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals. (Free radicals cause oxidative stress in the body, which has been linked with a myriad of health conditions and diseases.) Their specific antioxidants, anthocyanins, an antioxidant found in purple, blue, or red foods, also have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects.
Blueberries are rich in potassium, are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and they’re also low in calories, making them a great alternative to high calorie treats. Blueberries have also been shown to help maintain strong bones, improve calcium absorption, improve heart health and boost brain function.
Like blueberries, strawberries are full of fiber, manganese, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. In fact, just one serving – about eight strawberries – provides more vitamin C than an orange! They’re also full of those beneficial antioxidants we mentioned earlier, as well as plant compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols are phytochemicals that come from plant sources and include hundreds of beneficial compounds such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, lignans, and stilbenes. Read: good, good, good, and good.
Along with that, strawberries also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth as she eats them. They do contain sugar though, so don’t go overboard.
Raspberries also contain antioxidants, and they’re low in sugar and calories. They’re also high in fiber, manganese, copper, potassium, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin C! As a bonus, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help aging joints.
They do contain minuscule amounts of xylitol, which is toxic to dogs, but you’d have to feed a lot. To give you an idea, to receive a fatal dose, a 22-pound dog would have to eat 32 cups of raspberries. Just to be safe, feed in moderation – a few added to the bowl a few times a week is plenty to give those benefits without the worry.
Another one to add to the list. Blackberries contain a lot of antioxidants that can help fight oxidative stress, and they contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that are important for improving immunity. They’re high in vitamin C, manganese, and fiber, which help regulate immunity, as well as a significant amount of vitamin K, which is one of the most important nutrients to help maintain the health of our animals’ bones and joints.
Like raspberries, blackberries also contain minuscule amounts of xylitol, so again, moderation. Switch them up and add a few to the bowl a few times a week.
Both fresh and dried cranberries are safe to feed to dogs in small quantities. They’re a rich source of vitamin c, e, and k, fiber, manganese, quercetin. The d-mannose in cranberries is also linked with urinary tract health! That’s why so many people reach for cranberry juice when a UTI hits.
Whether your dog will like this tart treat is another story. They’re quite bitter, so your pup may not be a big fan. Also, be careful with dried cranberries – they’re often sold mixed with other dried fruits, like raisins, which are a no-go for dogs.
Safe, with a note of caution: while not technically a berry, cherries can also be a healthy addition…. BUT, you don’t want to feed anything but the flesh of the fruit. Avoid the stems and the pit. If you’re going to feed them, make sure you remove those before you share them with your pup.
[RELATED] What other fruits are good for dogs? Check out this list!
Which Berries Should You Avoid?
While there are many berries that are safe – healthy in fact – to add to your dog’s bowl, there are also a few that should be avoided. These include:
- holly berries
- juniper berries
If your dog has gotten into any of these berries, you may notice symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, extreme lethargy, tremors, seizures, excessive drooling, or even trouble breathing. Call your vet right away and head in, just to be safe.
Many berries for dogs are not just safe, they’re healthy. By adding a few fresh berries to the food bowl or giving them as treats, you can up the nutrition your dog gets on a regular basis. So yes, share those go-to berries with your pup. Make them a berry smoothie, or freeze that smoothie for some tasty pupsicles. There are lots of ways to add fresh berries to the menu, and their health will benefit as a result.
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