If you're regularly Googling what dogs can eat, you're not alone. Human food isn't always the best for dogs, which is why we need to make pet-safe versions to share them. But there are some foods that dogs can eat, like certain fruits and vegetables. One of the healthiest human foods is blueberries, but is the same true for our dogs? Can dogs eat blueberries? Here are 15 questions answered about blueberries for dogs.
Can Dogs Have Blueberries? Are Blueberries Safe For Dogs?
Yes! Blueberries (in moderation) are safe for most dogs to eat. But for some dogs - such as those with food sensitivities, diet restrictions or medical conditions - you may need to avoid blueberries, so it's best to contact your vet for consultation.
Are Blueberries Good for Dogs?
Blueberries are not only okay for dogs to eat in moderation, they actually contain several nutrients and offer a variety of nutritional benefits. These low calorie, bite-size snacks are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, disease-fighting properties and more.
Notable nutrients in blueberries include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
The benefits of blueberries for dogs include:
High fiber for digestive support.
Phytochemicals (which are disease-fighting compounds that combat bacteria, viruses, fungi, heart disease, and cancer).
Antioxidants (such as Flavanoids, Stilbenoids, and Polyphenols, which can help prevent cell and molecular damage).
Promotion of skin, coat, muscle, and nerve health.
Immune system support.
Reduction of inflammation and support for dogs with inflammatory diseases.
Hydration (as blueberries have high water content).
Promotion of healthy metabolism rates.
Assistance with arthritis and arthritic joints.
Support for mental function in senior dogs.
Combating free radicals (which are molecules with unpaired electrons that can cause tissue damage, inflammation, and cognitive dysfunction).
Potential to improve night vision.
Support for bone density and bone growth.
Can help keep clotting functioning properly and minimizing bleeding.
A good option for weight management treats.
- May be helpful in treating large breed puppies prone to panosteitis (an orthopedic condition that causes growing pains).
Pro Tip: Research has shown that antioxidants can reduce the effects of aging on a dog's brain. Adding them to your dog's diet can be beneficial. Furthermore, studies have shown that blueberries can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, benefiting the cardiovascular system in dogs. They can also help stabilize blood sugar and regulate blood pressure in animals.
Are Blueberries Bad For Dogs?
In general, no, blueberries in moderation are not bad for dogs. The key is moderation, as consuming too many blueberries can upset a dog's stomach or cause diarrhea due to their fiber content. However, blueberries may not be suitable for all dogs, as they contain natural sugars and oxalates. For instance, dogs with dietary restrictions or medical conditions may need to avoid blueberries. Additionally, although rare, dogs with food sensitivities or allergies may have negative reactions to them.
Also, small dogs may be at risk of choking, especially when given frozen blueberries. So, if you have a small dog, you'll want to make sure to cut them in smaller pieces or mash or puree them. Furthermore, excessive consumption of blueberries could potentially lead to cavities in dogs (although cavities in dog teeth are rare, consuming an excess of sugary foods could contribute to this issue).
That being said, blueberries in foods that are pre-packaged, processed, contain added sugars or sweeteners (such as Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and can cause low blood sugar levels or liver failure), preservatives or other unhealthy additives are often harmful to dogs due to these additives.
How Many Blueberries Can A Dog Eat?
Despite their numerous health benefits (and minimal drawbacks), blueberries should be given to dogs in moderation. They should be regarded as a treat and make up approximately 10% of your dog's total diet and calorie intake. As long as you stay within these limits and your dog tolerates them well, it is safe to give blueberries regularly and even on a daily basis.
Most experts recommend feeding your dog no more than eight to 10 blueberries per day, which is sufficient for smaller dogs. Larger dogs can consume even more. However, PetMD's general guideline for feeding blueberries to your dog is slightly more conservative:
Extra-small dogs (up to 20 pounds) = 1-2 blueberries
Small dogs (21-30 pounds) = 2-3 blueberries
Medium-size dogs (31-50 pounds) = 3-5 blueberries
Large dogs (51-90 lbs.) = 5-6 blueberries
Extra-large dogs (91+ lbs.) = small handful of blueberries
Pro Tip: Start by feeding your dog fewer and work up to eight to 10.
Signs that your dog ate too many blueberries include:
- Upset stomach and diarrhea
- Gas and bloating
- Decreased appetite or loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Looking uncomfortable
- Acting lethargic
- Licking their lips, the air or objects
If you think your dog ate too many blueberries, contact your vet. And take your dog to a vet immediately if your dog has excessive diarrhea or vomiting, blood in their stool or vomit, or experiences weakness or collapsing.
Can Puppies Eat Blueberries?
Yes, like dogs, puppies can eat blueberries! In fact, as aforementioned, blueberries may be beneficial in treating large breed puppies prone to panosteitis (an orthopedic condition that causes growing pains). Of course, puppies need to eat fewer blueberries than adult dogs, as they are smaller and weigh less.
Can Dogs Be Allergic To Blueberries?
In general, it is highly unlikely to find a dog that is allergic to blueberries. However, similar to humans, dogs can develop food allergies, so it is not impossible. Additionally, certain dogs may exhibit intolerance or even allergies to new foods. Signs of such reactions may include but are not limited to:
- Upset stomach
- Ear inflammation
That is why it is always advisable to consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your dog. If you notice any of these signs after feeding your dog a new food, it is important to discontinue feeding and promptly contact your vet for further guidance.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Blueberries?
Yes! Frozen blueberries are a great option as they retain most of their nutrients while having a longer shelf life compared to fresh blueberries. Additionally, they provide an engaging experience for dogs due to their crunchy texture, similar to that of ice cubes. This is particularly appealing to dogs since their auditory senses are highly acute, and the sound of scraping and crunching enhances their overall experience.
Pro Tip: Frozen blueberries provide your dog with a good treat on hot days as well.
Can Dogs Eat Wild Blueberries And Blueberry Leaves?
Wild blueberries are safe for dogs as long as they are true blueberries and have not been treated with any chemicals. However, it is advisable to exercise caution and avoid letting your dog eat them, as there are other wild berries that resemble blueberries but are toxic to dogs or from plants that are toxic to dogs. If you are certain that the berries are blueberries, it is important to rinse them thoroughly before giving them to your dog, in case they were sprayed with any substances. Additionally, always remove any non-berry parts of the plant before feeding them to your dog, as these parts are indigestible and may pose a risk of injury to the mouth, throat, esophagus, or gastrointestinal tract due to their sharpness.
Pro Tip: If you have your own blueberry bush, you may want to prevent your dog from eating off it, as that can teach them to believe that they can eat your garden.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Blueberries?
Dried blueberries can be safe for dogs to eat, but only if you do it at home with a dehydrator. This is because store-bought dried blueberries contain high amounts of sugar (more than fresh, raw or frozen blueberries) along with preservatives and potentially other additives. Another option are dog treats that are freeze dried whole blueberries with no other ingredients, like Pupford Freeze Dried Whole Blueberries Dog Training Treats.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberry Muffins?
While dogs can eat blueberries, they cannot consume everything that contains blueberries. Treats filled with blueberries intended for humans (especially processed or pre-packaged varieties and baked goods) often contain sugars, fats, preservatives, and ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Some products even contain toxic substances like alcohols and Xylitol. Consuming excessive amounts of these ingredients can result in an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, weight gain and obesity, and pancreatitis.
Examples of such products include baked goods like blueberry muffins, pastries, pancakes, toaster strudels, and more. Blueberry yogurt, blueberry juice, and blueberry toppings such as jam, jelly, or preserves also fall into this category. Processed blueberry juice and dried blueberries may seem fine, but they contain significantly more sugar than natural blueberries.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberry Yogurt?
While it may seem logical to assume that dogs can have blueberry yogurt since they can consume yogurt and blueberries separately, store-bought blueberry yogurt often contains high amounts of sugar (or potentially Xylitol in low-sugar options), preservatives, and other additives. However, if your dog happens to lick up some blueberry yogurt you or your kids spilled, there shouldn't be much cause for concern. If you do wish to give your dog blueberry yogurt, it is best to use plain yogurt (preferably with live cultures) and add fresh or frozen blueberries.
Pro Tip: It is important to note that dogs do not tolerate dairy or lactose well, so while yogurt is a better option than ice cream, it may still upset your dog's stomach. Therefore, it should only be given in small amounts as an occasional treat.
Ways To Feed Blueberries To Your Dog
Even though dogs can only eat fresh or frozen raw blueberries, there are still plenty of ways to prepare them. A few options include:
Fresh and raw (as a daily treat on its own, fed one-by-one, on top of dog food, for training, etc.)
Frozen without additives (as a daily treat on its own, fed one-by-one, on top of dog food, for training, as a cool treat on a summer day, etc.)
Mashed (on their own or mixed into your dog's food)
Dried at home (using an at-home dehydrator for DIY dried blueberries).
Pureed (on their own; mixed with other dog-safe fruits, plain yogurt or natural peanut butter; frozen into doggie popsicles or DIY ice cream, etc.)
- Cooked without sugar or any additives (this will reduce the amount of nutrients, though)
In dog-friendly baked goods (using dog-friendly recipes)
Tips For Feeding Blueberries To Your Dog
Organic blueberries are the best option, but regardless of the type, it is essential to thoroughly wash fresh blueberries to remove any dirt, debris, mold, bugs, pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals before feeding them to your dog.
Make sure to remove any non-berry parts, such as stems or leaves, before offering blueberries to your dog.
To prevent choking, it is recommended to offer blueberries in small amounts rather than all at once. For small dogs, consider cutting the berries into smaller pieces or opt to mash or puree them.
Before introducing any new food, especially a human food, it is always a good idea to consult your vet. They can address any questions or concerns you may have and provide guidelines on how much to feed your dog based on factors such as size, age, and overall health.
When introducing blueberries to your dog, it is best to do so gradually, similar to introducing any new food. This approach helps reduce the risk of adverse reactions. Start with small portions and closely monitor your dog for any signs of gastrointestinal upset (such as diarrhea or gas), as well as allergic reactions. If you suspect your dog is experiencing any issues, contact your vet for further guidance.
Dog Food With Blueberries
If you prefer to add blueberries to your dog's diet through their food, there are some options. Just make sure to consult your vet before to see if they approve of the brand and recipe in addition to believing it's a good match for your dog:
- Purina Beneful Playful Life Dry Dog
- Farmina Pet Foods Lamb, Pumpkin And Blueberry Adult (Medium & Maxi)
- Farmina Pet Foods Lamb, Pumpkin And Blueberry Adult (Mini)
- NUTRO ULTRA Adult Small Breed High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food With Chicken, Lamb and Salmon
- NUTRO ULTRA Adult Large Breed High Protein Natural Dry Dog Food With Chicken, Lamb and Salmon
Just remember that blueberries naturally have sugar, so feed these in moderation and over time to you pups!