Whether it is snacking on cherries or eating something that has cherries in them, it is a common fruit that humans enjoy from time to time. Dogs tend to be curious whenever there is food around, and they will try to snack on cherries if given a chance. Is this safe for them to do?
Dogs should avoid eating cherries to keep them as safe as possible. This is largely because too many cherries can potentially cause cyanide poisoning with dogs. A minimal amount of cherries is usually fine, but limit a dog to the flesh only. The seeds of stone fruits contain the chemical amygdalin, which converts to cyanide.
Dogs and Cherries
Is there any part of the cherry that is safe for dogs?
The only part of a cherry that a dog is perfectly fine eating is the flesh. This is good news for some dog owners since prepared cherries use just the flesh in the first place. That means if they get into a cherry pie, cherry cobbler, or other cherry related dishes, there is less chance of feeling sick.
The seeds, leaves, and stems all pose health risks for dogs. Preparing cherries for dogs to eat the flesh is a little tedious, especially considering that there are other fruits with better health benefits.
What are the safest cherries for dogs to eat?
With so many different cherries out there, some are safer than others. For example, maraschino cherries are considered relatively safe for dogs, since they do not have a pit. The trade-off is that they have a lot of sugar, which can cause some digestive issues as well as weight gain.
Other than maraschino cherries, all other cherries (such as bing, rainier, black, etc.) are all okay with a certain amount of work beforehand. A dog can have the flesh of the cherry, but owners must put in the proper amount of work to prep everything else.
What limit should owners put on their dogs when it comes to cherries?
It is recommended not even to give dogs a taste of cherries, simply because they will likely want more and search for cherries in the home. By keeping them away from them at all times, they are less likely to try them out on their own.
What should an owner do if their dog eats a cherry?
Since cherries are so dangerous, keep them out of reach of dogs at all costs. Dogs are undoubtedly resourceful, so if accidents do happen, it is crucial to know how to react.
The first step is to try to guess how many cherries the dog has consumed. If it is just one or two, it is probably not going to do much damage at all. At worst, they might feel slightly sick, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
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As the number starts to climb, there is an increased chance of cyanide poisoning. Not only will they show common symptoms like upset stomach and diarrhea, but they will struggle with breathing, red gums, and dilated pupils.
There is also a chance of intestinal blockage with the cherry pit. Smaller dogs have a higher risk than larger dogs, but it is something to keep in mind if it seems like they are struggling.
Symptoms are likely to show fairly quickly, and the more a dog consumes, the faster they will show. If a dog shows no signs within 24 hours, they have likely dodged the problem altogether.
Owners who are unsure if their dog has suffered from cyanide poisoning or not should get their dog checked out for precautionary reasons. Veterinarians will be able to tell rather quickly if the dog has poisoning or not, and how to handle the situation. Even if it is nothing more than a bit of an upset stomach, there is always peace of mind knowing that they are safe.
What is cyanide poisoning, and just how dangerous is it?
Cyanide is a chemical compound found in bacteria, algae, plants, and fruit seeds naturally. Whether it is apricots, apples, peaches, or cherries, it is essential not to consume the pit to avoid sickness.
The difference between humans and dogs is that humans know to not consume the entire cherry. It is tough for dogs ever to get this concept, so the recommendation is to keep them away altogether.
What cyanide does to the body is it inhibits cytochrome oxidase. The enzyme helps with cellular oxygen transport in the body. Without oxygen going to the cells, it can cause dilated pupils, breathing difficulty, shock, and unfortunately, death.
It takes a decent amount of cherries in one sitting for dogs to experience poisoning, but anything that includes the word cyanide in it is dangerous. There are just too many risks out there to not go in that direction.
Are there other reasons to stay away from cherries with dogs?
Most people point out the risk of cyanide poisoning as the main reason to stay away from cherries, simply because of the consequences. The fact that a dog can die from eating too many cherries is reason enough to stay away. With that said, there are smaller risks that should be reasons to keep people away as well.
Believe it or not, cherry stones are pretty hard in the middle, and it could possibly damage the dog’s teeth if they are trying to eat too many cherries. Dogs can usually bite through a lot of different things, but a chipped tooth is possible with even one or two cherries.
Another issue to keep in mind is a dog feeling intoxicated. The feeling only happens if a dog is consuming fruit like cherries that are rotting a bit. The fructose in cherries begins to turn to alcohol, which will essentially make them drunk if they overeat.
What treatments work for dogs after consuming cherries?
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, there are many different solutions for a veterinarian looking to get a dog back to normal quickly. For some cases, they can escape simply by letting everything pass through the body normally. Maybe some medication will help with the process, but it is usually a matter of time that cures everything.
If part of the cherry sticks inside a dog’s body, there is an opportunity to go the surgery route possibly. Most of the time, this only happens if there is intestinal obstruction, as it can be a life-threatening condition if left for too long.
For dogs that appear to have cyanide poisoning, a veterinarian will likely first try to see if they can induce vomiting. Then, they use anti-nausea medication before beginning the process of figuring out if any additional steps are necessary. There are a few different medications that can help with cyanide poisoning, but the unfortunate truth is that a lot of them do not work if too many cherries go in the body.
If cherries are bad, what fruits should dogs eat?
For a similar type of snack that is safer for dogs, blueberries can be a great choice. They are nearly identical in size, and dogs usually love the taste. They do not have the same amount of risks by any means, so dogs can snack on them much more frequently.
Apples are also a great choice, as long as they are prepared for dogs properly. That means taking out the core and the seeds and peeling it. To make it easier on dogs, cut the apple up into smaller pieces, so they do not have to bite through it. They are more than capable of doing so, but it helps them to not.
Can dogs have dishes made with cherry?
Very rarely is it safer and healthier to eat processed food, but that is exactly the case with cherries and dogs. For example, a cherry pie is not nearly as harmful to dogs, simply because only the flesh of the cherry goes into the pie. The process of eliminating the horrible part of the cherry already occurred. That means the only thing to worry about is too much sugar from cherries, and any other added sugars in the dish.
The worst response from a dog overeating cherry pie is merely feeling a little sick for a while. In the long term, consuming a lot of sugar daily is going to contribute to weight gain for dogs as well. Do not make cherry pies part of the diet, but do not worry nearly as much if dogs consume foods made out of cherry.
How likely are dogs to try eating cherries?
The bite-size shape of cherries is one reason why it can be challenging to keep them away from this fruit. Whether they get a taste of cherries inside at home or they are finding them in the wild, there is a level of intrigue.
Saying no to cherries
All in all, dog owners should keep cherries out of reach. There are just too many risks that go into consuming them that it just does not make sense. Even if they are meticulously prepared, they are full of sugar and more of a treat than anything else. There are other fruit solutions out there, making the cherry a non-starter.
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.