Blueberries are often considered a superfood for humans due to their vitamin and antioxidant content. While most foods that people eat are safe for dogs, there are a few exceptions that can result in a trip to the emergency vet. Instead of just assuming that your dog can eat whatever you can, be sure to check out the list of foods that are not safe for dogs to eat.
Luckily, blueberries don’t have any compounds that are known to be toxic to dogs. Blueberries are a great snack or treat option as they’re much healthier than commercially bought treats that often contain lots of salt, sugar, and fat. Unlike other fruits, blueberries are low in sugar, making them suitable for diabetic or obese dogs.
Blueberries are high in a wide array of nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are beneficial for your pet. Some dog food formulations even include blueberries as an ingredient, particularly in puppy food, due to their high nutritional content.
The Safe Way to Feed Your Dog Blueberries
Whenever you introduce your pet to new foods, you should do so in a controlled and responsible manner. Different dogs may react differently to new foods and it’s better to take it slow rather than risking an emergency trip to the vet.
Before you jump into feeding your dog blueberries, be sure to speak with your vet or nutritionist. They’ll be able to tell you if your dog can have blueberries and what the appropriate serving size is. They’ll also be able to advise you whether or not blueberries may interfere with any medication that your dog is currently on.
While blueberries are soft, small, and mushy, they can still present a choking hazard to some dogs. If your dog has a tendency to inhale their food, then mash the blueberries up into a pulp. You can then add this into their food as a healthy supplement, or freeze the pulp for a great summertime snack. Blueberries make an excellent alternative reward during training as they are low in calories and filled with goodness.
Start with a small number of blueberries and keep monitoring your dog for any signs of distress or allergies. Since blueberries are high in fiber, feeding your dog too many too soon may result in gastrointestinal upset. Some dogs may have an allergy to blueberries, which can manifest in symptoms such as hives, itching, swelling, and sneezing.
Some dogs don’t like blueberries and find the taste bitter and unpleasant. Luckily, there are many alternative fruits that you can try instead, such as strawberries, bananas, and watermelon. Make sure you do your research beforehand as some fruits, like grapes and raisins, can be toxic to dogs.
Potential Hazards of Blueberries
Some people like to freeze blueberries and feed them to their dogs as a summertime treat. Usually, blueberries don’t present a choking hazard as they’re soft and squishy, but frozen blueberries are much more dangerous. They can present a choking hazard to small dogs in particular, but also to dogs that don’t take the time to chew them.
Blueberries are also very high in fiber. Too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing and some dogs may suffer an upset stomach and diarrhea if they eat too many blueberries at once. You should monitor your dog’s intake of blueberries, particularly if you have a bush at home. Some dogs just can’t stop themselves and you’ll need to make an alternative plan, either by restricting your dog’s access to the garden or by blocking off the blueberry bush.
If you’re buying blueberries from the shops, you should also keep an eye out for potential pesticides. Always wash blueberries before giving them to your dog in the same way that you would wash them before eating. If you’re growing blueberries at home, make sure to check that the pesticides and herbicides you use are safe for dogs and humans.
What About Other Blueberry Products?
If your dog loves blueberries, you may be tempted to offer them other blueberry-based treats, like muffins or yogurt. Unlike raw blueberries, these aren’t actually good for your dog and should be avoided whenever possible. Not only do most blueberry-based products not actually contain blueberries, but they also contain many preservatives and chemicals that aren’t good for your dog. At best, your dog will get a dose of sugar that they don’t need. At worst, you’ll be rushing your dog to the vet with xylitol poisoning.
You want to feed your dog blueberries because they’re delicious and healthy. They’re high in nutrients and fiber while being low in sugar, making them the perfect treat. While feeding your dog raw blueberries is encouraged, you should avoid other blueberry-based commercial products that contain none of the nutritional benefits and are loaded with sugar and preservatives instead.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Avocado?