Blackberries are sweet, delicious fruits that are just as good on their own as they are in jams, cobblers, pies, smoothies, and fruit salads.
You may already know that certain types of fruit like grapes and raisins are not safe for dogs. That begs the question: Can dogs eat blackberries?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat blackberries. There are actually two types: the American blackberry and the European blackberry. Neither type of blackberry is toxic to our canine friends, and blackberries have various health benefits. Still, there are some guidelines you should follow to feed your dog blackberries safely.
Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits of blackberries for dogs as well as some of the risks. Then, we’ll find out how to give your dog blackberries in a healthy way.
What Are the Health Benefits of Blackberries?
You’ve probably heard about “superfoods” for humans, like blueberries and kale. The blackberry is also sometimes considered a superfood. That’s because it packs a powerful nutritional punch.
Can dogs eat blackberries to get the same nutritional benefits as humans? Yes.
Here are some of the great nutritional benefits of blackberries for dogs:
Vitamin A and Vitamin C
Fresh blackberries contain plenty of Vitamins C and A, which are essential nutrients for your dog. These vitamins help to support the immune system and your dog’s metabolism; they also support bone, skin, eye, and tooth health. Additionally, Vitamins A and C can help reduce inflammation and associated pain around your dog’s body.
Vitamin K is an essential component for creating coagulation proteins in the blood, which are needed for the blood to clot properly. This allows your dog to heal successfully after injuries and avoid excessive bleeding.
Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant found in purple, blue, and red foods, including blackberries. These powerful nutrients offer a whole host of health benefits for your canine friend.
Antioxidants help to fight free radicals that cause oxidation damage to the cells, and they have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects. Antioxidants have also been shown to fight the effects of aging in dogs, and they could help your dog retain good brain function as they age.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another reason to feed blackberries to your dog is because of the omega-3 fatty acids they contain. These nutrients help to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, moisturized, and smooth. Fatty acids are also important for good heart health and reduced inflammation around the body.
Looking for another easy way to add omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet? Try Native Pet’s Omega Oil, which is jam-packed with omega-3 to benefit your dog’s skin, coat, and heart.
Blackberries have a high fiber content, and fiber is important for avoiding constipation and diarrhea as well as keeping the digestive tract and immune system healthy. Fiber also helps your pooch feel full when they eat, which can be helpful if your dog is a food beggar or needs to lose a few pounds.
Can dogs eat blackberries as a low-calorie dog treat? Absolutely. An entire cup of blackberries contains only about 60 calories, so you don’t have to worry about this fruit adding to your dog’s waistline.
Are There Risks to Feeding Your Dog Blackberries?
Can dogs eat blackberries? Yes, these little fruits are not toxic for our furry friends. But now that we’ve covered some of the nutritional benefits of blackberries for dogs, it’s important to realize that there are a few risks, too.
First, remember that any new food introduced to your dog’s digestive system can cause an upset stomach, especially if it’s a high-fiber food like the blackberry. That’s why it’s a good idea to only feed your dog a few blackberries at a time.
Secondly, blackberries do contain trace amounts of the sweetener xylitol, which can lead to hypoglycemia and kidney failure in large amounts. While your dog would have to eat a very large amount of blackberries to experience symptoms of xylitol poisoning, it’s wise to feed your dog this fruit in moderation.
Blackberries can also be a choking hazard, like any small fruit or vegetable. As much as your dog might like to gulp down this delicious treat, remember to take it slow and feed them small pieces, a little at a time.
If your dog comes across any berries growing outdoors, don’t let them eat them. Wild blackberries shouldn’t cause your dog harm by themselves, but it’s always possible they’ve been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals.
Other types of wild berries like juniper berries, holly berries, and mistletoe berries all contain potentially harmful toxins. To be safe, don’t let your dog chow down on any types of berries they encounter in the great outdoors.
More Tips for How to Safely Feed Your Dog Blackberries
Yes, dogs can eat blackberries — it’s one of those human foods that benefits dogs just like it does people. But as you can see from the risks described above, it’s important you feed your dog this fruit the right way.
We’ve already covered one tip for feeding your dog blackberries safely: do so in moderation. It’s best to only give your dog a few blackberries at a time to ensure no gastrointestinal upset, choking, or — at worst — xylitol poisoning.
Give your dog fresh, plain blackberries that have been washed thoroughly. Never give your dog human food that contains blackberries, like a pie, smoothie, cobbler, or fruit salad canned in syrup. These foods have much too high of a sugar content for your dog to ingest safely.
If your dog likes fruit, you can make them their own small fruit salad out of dog-safe choices like blackberries, blueberries, and small chunks of watermelon (just be sure to remove the rind and seeds). Remember to keep the portion size small, though, and always make sure you only include fruits that are completely safe for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries? Yes — Here’s How
Still wondering if dogs can eat blackberries? The answer is yes, this fruit serves as a healthy treat for dogs and offers multiple health benefits because of its many nutrients. In addition to being a low-calorie food, the blackberry contains nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and powerful antioxidants.
Blackberries aren’t completely without risk. They contain trace amounts of xylitol, which can poison your dog in large amounts, and can also cause upset stomach if your dog eats enough. Small and large dogs alike could choke on blackberries if they gulp down too many too quickly, and it’s never worth letting your dog chow down on wild blackberries or any type of wild berry they might come across.
Want to give your dog blackberries as a healthy snack? Keep the portion size small, and feed them fresh, washed berries at a slow pace. Skip jams, pies, or other human foods with blackberries and stick to feeding them just the berries.
For further reading on your dog’s nutritional needs, health, and wellness, browse the Native Pet blog.