Blueberries are one of the most popular fruit options for people around the world. Whether they are freshly picked or used as a sweet-tasting recipe, they have a distinctive taste that many people love. Dogs seem drawn to the taste as well, but before letting them freely snack on some blueberries, it is vital to know a little bit about the fruit first.
Yes, dogs can eat blueberries. They are one of the best fruits for dogs to consume, as they provide many vitamins, minerals, and more that help to keep a dog healthy. As long as they do not eat too many blueberries in one sitting, they are an excellent snack for them.
What makes blueberries great for dogs?
With so many different fruits to choose from, blueberries might not seem like they are that special in the beginning. However, the more a person looks into and examines blueberries, it becomes pretty easy to see why they are so commonly recommended. These are just a few of the significant benefits of blueberries for dogs.
Low in calories
Every single fruit for a dog is considered a snack, and high-calorie fruits can cause a lot of damage if a dog has more than they should. The good thing about blueberries is that even if they overeat a bit, they are still going to be just fine. Blueberries are very low in calories, and that cuts down on any possible overweight issues or other complications. The sugar count in blueberry is also a little lower, which reduces the risk of diabetes and other sugar-related problems.
Yes, a dog can still suffer from sugar overload, but it takes a lot more blueberries compared to most other fruits. They are usually full before they are breaking their regular diet too much.
Getting proper amounts of Vitamin C from fruits is a huge selling factor for a lot of dog owners. Most people understand the importance of Vitamin C in humans, but it plays a massive role with dogs as well.
The antioxidant can get rid of potentially hazardous free radicals in the body, which is always a plus for dogs regardless of age. Speaking of age, it helps to cut down inflammation in older dogs, making them feel younger and healthier than they have in a while.
Dogs have a unique ability to synthesize Vitamin C in their liver, but that does not mean they can’t benefit from Vitamin C in their diet. Most fruits have pretty high levels of Vitamin C, so feel free to switch it up instead of offering only blueberry options all the time.
Dog foods tend to have a fair amount of fiber in them, but getting it from other sources helps as well. Blueberries are pretty high in fiber, which provides many short-term and long-term health effects.
For the short term, dogs can see an improvement in their digestion and bowel movements. Dogs can get constipated at times, and all this boils down to not have enough fiber in the diet.
The long-term benefits of fiber include a healthier weight and the reduced risk of diabetes. There are individual fibers in fruits that offer slower digestion, which can help keep blood sugar levels pretty standard. With fewer fluctuations, fighting off the onset of diabetes, or dealing with diabetes for that matter, can be much easier.
It seems as though phytochemicals are becoming more and more critical in a human diet. People are paying attention to any food choices with them, and research is showing just what type of impact they can make. The same logic could apply to dogs, as phytochemicals help to improve their overall health subtly.
Phytochemicals might not seem that noticeable, but they help with better immune system activity, fighting off cancer, improving eye health, keeping a heart healthy, and repairing any DNA damage in the dog.
Research is still ongoing with phytochemicals, but most colorful fruits and vegetables have them. Blueberries might seem relatively small, but they come packed with this nutritional benefit.
Vitamin C is the most well-known antioxidant in blueberries, but hardly the only help a dog’s body receives. In fact, blueberries earn the label as the most antioxidant-rich fruit out there in the eyes of many.
Most of the antioxidants in blueberries fall under the category of flavonoids. They help to regulate cellular activity and have the ability to fight off free radicals in a dog’s body.
Are there any negatives to blueberries?
Blueberries are about as worry-free of a fruit for dogs as one can find. They are relatively easy to chew up and digest, but larger dogs might try to swallow them whole if they are fast eaters. That means they can end up being choking hazards in some cases, although they are usually mushy enough not to be a huge issue. If it seems like it could be a problem, there is the option of cutting them up or smashing them to make an easy way to eat.
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Dogs that have a large supply of blueberries can also start to overeat without realizing it. This happens a lot if a dog has access to blueberries outside in the garden, as they begin to eat and then have some mild indigestion, an upset stomach, or even diarrhea. A dog starts to feel pretty full after a while, and the fiber can cause harm if it is too much.
Finally, there are long term effects to watch out for if a dog consumes too much sugar throughout their life. It can cause cavities or other oral complications, and it can also contribute to a dog becoming overweight. If blueberries are combined with other ingredients to make sweets, such as pancakes, muffins, pies, and more, that can speed up the weight gaining process even more.
Tips on keeping blueberries as safe as possible for dogs
Feeding dogs blueberries might seem simple enough, but there are some tips to keep in mind to make it a very straightforward process. No matter how they are served, these are the best tips to keep in mind in the beginning.
Check with a veterinarian
Is this a bit of overkill for the majority of dog owners? Yes, but it is better to be safe than sorry if a dog has shown any struggle whatsoever with foods in the past. They will know the most about your dog and what they can consume individually, and that means appropriately recommending blueberries or telling an owner to look for something else. Most dogs are going to consume blueberries is fine, but some should stay away from all fruits depending on how their body reacts.
Find the right type of blueberries
The safest blueberries to feed dogs fall under the sustainably-raised category. That means that there are no pesticides or herbicides on the berries, and all the full nutrients are available since they are fresh. Make sure that all the blueberries fed to a dog are not dried out or moldy. Wash them off to remove anything that might harm them.
There are some instances where dogs will have the opportunity to snack on berries straight from the garden. To ensure they are eating 100% healthy and safe blueberries, grow and treat them properly.
Gradually incorporate blueberries into a dog’s diet in the beginning. There is no reason to rush them into something that they might not fully enjoy. Not only do they run the risk of having an adverse reaction, but there is a chance that they do not like blueberries in general.
A fair amount to start with is something as small as three to five blueberries in the beginning. They might be begging for more, but examine their behavior and how it passes through the system before increasing the serving amount.
Do not offer too many blueberries ever
Some dogs might end up acting like blueberries are the best snack they have ever enjoyed in their life. That is a good thing for the most part, as blueberries are one of the healthier snack options out there for dogs to enjoy. With that said, everything should be in moderation, and dogs need to eat a balanced diet every single day.
Make sure to do specific research on what to feed a dog based on their size, age, and breed. The serving amounts for a large dog are going to be bigger than a small dog, so make sure to make everything as relative as possible.
Mix it up occasionally
Most dogs are not picky eaters, but it can get monotonous to have the same type of snack all the time. Blueberries should not be the only fruit that dogs snack on, as there are other solid options out there as well. Make sure to mix it up a bit, and even add blueberries to other foods that are safe for them to eat.
A lot of this will come down to what a dog owner actually likes to eat as well. For some people, they only want to buy the fruits and vegetables that they enjoy, and then the dog and the owner can snack together. Just make sure that with each new type of food that is introduced, it is also researched properly so that there are no health risks.
It’s also important to remember that all of the fruits and vegetables are part of the 10% of daily calorie rules. That means to make sure to look up the number of calories per serving, as more sugary options can add up pretty quickly. A cup of blueberries does not translate to a cup of different types of fruit. Try sticking with very similar fruits at first to avoid any digestion issues. After that, jumping around a bit from time to time will be a welcomed change for dogs. They will let their owners know which fruits they enjoy most.
Do dogs prefer fresh or frozen blueberries?
Fresh blueberries are going to provide a bit more nutritional value than frozen options, but they are both healthy snacks that dogs end up enjoying thoroughly. Fresh blueberries are a little more challenging to come by, especially if they are currently not in season locally. That is why a lot of people turn to frozen options in the first place. If the blueberries appear to be too cold, thawing them out is always an option.
One advantage of frozen blueberries is that they can help keep a help keep a dog cool on a warm day as well. It is a big reason why people invest in frozen fruits consistently as a snack to have handy.
Is it safe to allow dogs blueberry drinks, food items with blueberry as an ingredient, and more?
Blueberries by themselves are perfectly fine, but what about combining them with other ingredients? As one might expect, it comes down to what ingredients go into that food choice before making the ultimate decision. For the most part, blueberries combined with other foods are probably fine for dogs to eat. For example, a blueberry pie, pancakes, or muffins are all snackable options, although they might not be able to eat as much since they have some unhealthy ingredients.
Anything that makes blueberries sweeter is obviously going to complicate things a bit. The blueberries and the ingredients to go with them become a bit more of a health risk. Make sure to understand the calorie count of everything before jumping in.
What is the limit on blueberries for a dog during a day?
The recommendation for any snack is to only get up to 10% of daily calories from that source. That ends up being a decent amount of blueberries since they are tiny and low in calories. Smaller dogs should be consuming less, but it is tough to overeat with these blueberries.
Can dogs consume artificially flavored blueberry products?
From time to time, foods will have artificial fruit flavorings. Blueberry is a pretty popular flavor, but it is not generally considered safe for dogs. While most artificial flavors are not going to do too much damage to the dog, it is just not healthy for them overall. Most of the time, these artificial flavors contain a ton of sugar, and they provide no health benefits whatsoever.
The critical thing to keep in mind with a dog is to give them treats that at least provide some value. Real fruit and vegetables do that, while artificial flavors are just for flavoring purposes only. Even humans should only use artificial flavorings sparingly.
Are other berries similar to blueberries safe for dogs?
Berries are excellent choices for dogs wanting to try some fruit. Most rank blueberries at the top of the list, but raspberries and strawberries are okay from time to time as well. Just remember that the bigger the fruit, the harder it is for them to digest without issue. Always cut up fruit before presenting it to them.
Once a person strays away from berries, make sure to understand fruits to stay away from with a dog. Most notably, any fruit that still has a pit is considered a high-risk option for dogs. That is because they are prone to eating and consuming the pit instead of spitting it out, and that can cause some severe health issues since they are poisonous.
Keep in mind that dogs are carnivores, so they do not need fruits and vegetables every single day. Giving them a treat is fine, but it needs to provide some value instead of just satisfying a sweet tooth.
The two most popular fruits to avoid entirely with dogs are cherries and grapes. Cherries have cyanide in them, and it does not take too many for cyanide poisoning to kick in. This can cause some pretty severe health side effects, and could even cause death in extreme cases.
Grapes, as well as raisins, are a considerable risk as well for dogs. They are toxic and can cause sudden kidney failure if a dog consumes too many. It is essential to keep them out of reach of dogs at all times to avoid any mishaps.
A final look at blueberries for dogs
Dogs are always intrigued by the food of humans, and the vast majority will love the taste of blueberries right away. It is better to allow them to have blueberries than a lot of other options out there, so do not be afraid to indulge them once in a while.
If anything changes with their behavior, or they start to show other health warning signs, make sure to reach out to a veterinarian to figure out precisely what might be going on. It might not necessarily be the blueberries, but it is better to know instead of increasing the opportunities to snack.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.