Blueberries are great tasty treats that provide a pack range of nutrition, including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, Fiber, Copper and of course, Antioxidants. They’re the perfect combination of convenience, tastiness and healthiness. It’s no surprise they’re the second most consumed fruit in the United States. Humans love them and so do most dogs. But the main question that comes up when dog owners alike are struggling with their canine eyeing their blueberry snack is: Can dogs eat blueberries safely?
Yes, Dogs Can Eat Blueberries
Dogs can safely eat blueberries when given to them in moderation. Like other fruits, such as grapes, apples and oranges, moderation is key to preventing any adverse effects. However, blueberries are by no means necessary to include in your dog’s diet for them to be happy and healthy dogs.
The problem is dogs love eating blueberries. So, these fruits can make a great treat if they’ve been especially good. Let’s investigate more on blueberries and dogs.
5 Amazing Health Benefits: Blueberries and Dogs
I want to make it clear that there is no conclusive study that blueberries are as beneficial for dogs as they are for humans. However, it is likely that these fruits can have a positive impact if given in moderation.
To fully examine the health benefits of dogs eat blueberries, let’s look at the nutritional value of blueberries in terms of human daily value.
In 1 Cup of Fresh Blueberries (148 grams):
- 85 Calories
- Vitamin K – 32% Daily Value
- Manganese – 25% DV
- Vitamin C – 19% DV
- Dietary Fiber – 3.6 grams
- Vitamin B6 – 5% DV
- Sugar – 15 grams
- Copper 9 % DV
Blueberries Fight Diseases in Dogs
In 2006, The University of Alaska in Fairbanks conducted a scientific study that was published in the National Institute of Health. In this study, sled dogs (presumably Alaskan Huskies) were given blueberries as a supplement to their diet regimen.
The results showed that there was a spike in antioxidants in the sled dog’s blood. This is a very positive study because antioxidants play a huge role in preventing free radical damage and ultimately cancer (Yes, dogs can get cancer too).
Blueberries For a Healthy Dog Heart
Blueberries have been known to provide many health benefits. Among them, is the benefit of promoting a healthy heart in human and dog. How do blueberries lead to a strong heart in your dog?
There could be a lot of buildup of cholesterol in a dog, especially of old age. Blueberries not only lowers LDL cholesterol, but also does it in a very natural way. In addition, research has concluded that blueberries are also a good way to lower blood pressure in a natural way. All of these factors can ultimately lead to a better heart in your dog.
Blueberries Help Dogs Lose Weight
These fruits are considered low calorie foods, while also being low on the glycemic index. To top it off, blueberries are high in fiber. What does this mean? All these factors put together and it means that blueberries make excellent diet foods.
If you have a food-loving dog struggling to shed some pounds, then it may be a good idea to give them some blueberries. Instead of their protein based dog treats, switch it up with a few blueberries from time to time.
The only problem is the high amount of sugar in blueberries. Never replace all their daily treats with blueberries. For a healthier alternative diet treat, look into giving celery sticks to your dog.
Blueberries Promote Strong Dog Bones
From looking at the nutritional value of blueberries, there’s one vitamin that sticks out the most – Vitamin K. A single cup of blueberries contain an amazing 32% human daily value of this vitamin! But what does Vitamin K do for your dog?
As you may have guessed from the title, Vitamin K has often been linked to promoting strong bones in dogs. Vitamin K makes sure that your dog maintains healthy bone density. This means that blueberries are great for older dogs that need some help in that department. Also, certain active dog breeds can benefit from the occasional blueberry as well.
Blueberries Protects the Brain in Dogs
Surprisingly, blueberries are known to improve brain health in humans. However, in theory, this important benefit can apply to dogs as well.
Blueberries are known to contain a high amount of phenols (gallic acid), which acts as a neuroprotective agent. What this means is that blueberries will protect your dog’s brain from degeneration throughout the years. So, it might be a good idea to give some blueberries to an aging dog.
Side Effects: Blueberries For Dogs
Like all dog treats not made specifically for dogs, there can be side effects when eaten (especially in large quantity).
High Sugar in Blueberries Decay Dog Teeth
If you look at the nutritional breakdown of blueberries, you will notice that they have an unusually high amount of sugar. Specifically, blueberries have 15 grams of sugar per cup, which is almost as high as grapes.
This means that if you feed your dog too many blueberries, it could speed up the decay of your dog’s teeth. If you’re like me, you probably don’t spend the time to brush your dog’s set of pearls everyday. In fact, I’m sure most dog owners don’t. So, if your dog eats blueberries too often and never gets his or her teeth brushed, it could be bad.
The solution to brush his/her teeth frequently after eating all fruits high in sugar.
Blueberries and Dog Constipation
A cup of blueberries also contains a good amount of soluble fiber, which is generally good for you. The problem with too much soluble fiber is that it can actually cause constipation for humans and dogs.
Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber absorbs water. And when you have a lack of water, the stool can actually become hard, thus causing constipation. Of course a dog may not drink more water because it doesn’t know any better. This kind of goes back to the whole moderation thing i’ve been stressing. Fiber is generally good, but too much is bad.
Dog Diarrhea From Blueberries
On the other hand, blueberries can also cause diarrhea. Sometimes your dog is drinking more than enough water. If this is the case, then diarrhea is more likely to occur than constipation from the over consumption of blueberries.
A little fiber, however, can be great for your dog. It will loosen up the stool a bit because of their protein heavy diets. In short, to avoid adverse side effects from your dog eating blueberries, treat these fruits as snacks and only give in moderation.
How Dogs Can Eat Blueberries
A reason why blueberries are considered a safer choice of fruit for dogs is because of its small size. Compared to bananas, blueberries don’t really need any prep work like cutting the fruit into smaller pieces.
If you feed large chunks or whole bananas to your dog, there is a chance that it can cause some blockage in their digestive system and cause constipation. This will not be the case with blueberries.
Blueberry Feeding Tips
You’ll want to first remove any stems and leaves left on the blueberries for whatever reason. Try your best to feed just the flesh of the fruit to your dog.
Wash the blueberries thoroughly before feeding them to your dog. Yes, blueberries do contain pesticide, which is extremely harmful to dogs. A lot of pesticide has been known to cause severe dog health problems, such as seizures.
Always start off with no more than a few blueberries to observe if your dog has any immediate side effects or an allergic reaction to the fruit. Watch carefully after you feed them and if you don’t see any changes following (lack or surplus of energy, change in stool habits, etc.), you can slowly increase the dog’s intake over time.
For hot summer days, you can freeze the blueberries to provide your canine a safe and cold treat to beat the heat. If your dog likes blueberries, they will love this treat on a hot day. Also, humans love this too (try it out yourself!).
Can Puppies Eat Blueberries?
The short answer is yes, puppies can eat blueberries in moderation. However, this is not recommended by any means. Generally, the younger the puppy, the weaker and more sensitive the stomach is to foods.
Blueberries contain a large amount of fiber – 3.6 grams per cup to be exact. A puppy will certainly not be used to eating so much fiber and could drastically increase the chance of any adverse side effects.
Obviously, because puppies are smaller, you would need to feed them a much smaller portion. I would also be very cautious in the beginning and not too generous with the blueberries.
If you still choose to feed blueberries to your puppy, I would highly suggest consulting with your veterinarian first. However, they likely may not recommend it as well.
Blueberry Dog Treats – Recipe
What’s better than a dog enjoying fresh blueberries? A dog enjoying a fresh batch of dog-safe blueberry cookies! If you want your dog to enjoy the ultimate blueberry dog treat, check this recipe out. This recipe was provided by Lola the Pitty.
Note: this dog treat made with fresh blueberries is completely safe for your dog to consume. To make it even healthier, try to switch of rice flour for organic brown rice flour.
- ¼ Cup Mashed Blueberries
- 1 Cup Almond Flour
- ½ Cup Rice Flour (If you can: Organic Brown Rice Flour)
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Egg (beaten)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Step 2: Mix the rice flour and almond flour together in a small bowl.
Step 3: Beat the egg, olive oil and blueberries in a separate bowl.
Step 4: Combine the mix with the flour. Mix thoroughly.
Step 5: Apply non-stick spray to the baking sheet.
Step 6: Use a spoon to scoop chunks onto the baking sheet.
Step 7: Bake for roughly 15 – 18 minutes or until the top looks crisp and golden brown.
Enjoy some blueberries with your dog!
The Smart Canine is focused on providing you, the dog owner, with the most accurate information possible. Although our team has thoroughly researched the consumption of blueberries by dogs, we still suggest consulting with your local vet. Blueberries are generally safe for dogs, but there are always exceptions. We cannot determine how safe blueberries are with absolute certainty without examining your dog in person.