If you a dog lover, you want what is best for them. That includes making sure they are in the best possible health, whether they are a puppy or a senior. When it comes to food, it can be challenging to know what foods you can and can’t your four-legged friends. To make your life easier, here is a guide on everything you need to know about feeding your dog cherries.
Are Cherries Safe for Dogs?
The answer is yes, and no. The flesh of the cherry is not toxic, so you can feed those to your dog. However, parts of the cherry can be poisonous, such as the pit, stem, and leaves. These components have cyanide, which can be toxic in large enough doses.
There are many varieties of cherries available on the market, such as maraschino, Rainer, and Dark Hudson. Even if you remove the choking-hazard and toxic-risk that is the pit, cherries are not necessarily an ideal food. For instance, maraschinos, which are cherries without the seed, have high sugar levels that can lead to health complications.
Eating a couple of maraschino, Bing, or black cherries is not going to hurt your canine. That said, there are other, better alternatives. Some fruits and berries have comparable nutritional value without the same health risks, such as blueberries and apple slices.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry-Related Products?
Again, the answer is yes, and no. While your dog will be fine eating a few dried cherries or canned cherries without seeds, we would not go out of our way to recommend them. Based on all your options, dried cherries are probably your dog’s best friend, though, as mentioned above, the sugar level can be a potential concern.
Humans and dogs don’t absorb nutrients the same way. Because of this digestive feature, dogs don’t get the same quantity of health benefits from cherries than humans do. Still, cherries can be a fantastic source for essential vitamins and minerals.
For starters, cherries are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Vitamin A, for instance, is the organic compound that aids in eyesight for humans and dogs. Getting a fair share can be especially important if your dog is a senior or has vision issues.
Cherries also come with anti-inflammatory properties that can combat joint pain or arthritis. That is because antioxidants in cherries reduce the nitric acid in the body, which contributes to that discomfort. That way, your dog will be less prone to stiffness or deep-set pains. It is also worth mentioning that you can find these benefits in dog-friendly foods like pineapple, celery, and cantaloupe.
The ASPCA or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does not recommend feeding dogs cherries. The foremost reason is the (potential) presence of cyanide or cyanogenic glycosides in the stems, leaves, and pits of the cherries. If a dog eats too many cherries, this can lead to phenomena called cherry poisoning.
Cherry poisoning occurs within minutes to hours after consuming cherries. That said, these effects can also take place from eating other pitted fruits, such as peaches and almonds, as well as pears, elderberries, and legumes. If your dog is suffering from cherry poisoning, they may experience one or more of the followings symptoms:
- Higher than normal heart rate
- Reddening around the mucous membranes
If you recognize these symptoms, it is essential to seek veterinary care as quickly as possible. A veterinarian can run a urinalysis, blood work, and other examinations to diagnosis and treat your dog. Typically, that means detoxification or inhaling nitrates, which can act as antidotes against the effects of cyanide.
Cherries have other potentially harmful side effects, such as tooth decay and upset stomachs. One cup of sweet, raw, pitted cherries contains 17.6 grams of sugar. The high sugar content will slowly eat away at your dog’s teeth unless you brush them daily.
Dogs are significantly more likely to experience an upset stomach or diarrhea because of cherries, as opposed to their human counterparts. Dogs don’t process fruits as well as humans, so giving them high fiber foods is a recipe for a runny stool. If you have ever wondered why canine diets are primarily made up of protein, now you know.
Summing It Up
Cherries can be a safe and healthy snack for dogs on occasion, though they are not a treat we recommend. There are numerous healthier fruit options for your dog. If you are unsure about whether you should feed your dog cherries or cherry-related products, contact your local veterinarian. They can walk you through any specific questions or concerns you have based on your dog’s specific health concerns, age, and breed.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Celery?