You've got questions — we've got answers. So let's get right to it: Can dogs eat blueberries? Yes, this fruit is not only safe for dogs, but it can also provide numerous benefits.
Feeding blueberries requires minimal prep work compared to other fruits and veggies, which makes them easy to share as a tasty treat or to use as a dog food topper.
Blueberries are an all-around great superfood treat for your dog. Find out more about how to safely feed blueberries to your furry friend, plus learn about the health benefits and check out our favorite recipe for blueberry dog treats.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries? Yes, and Feeding Them Is Easy
Blueberries are completely safe for dogs. With many other fruits, like watermelon and cantaloupe, you need to remove the skin and seeds before you can safely share it with your dog. But with blueberries, your dog can eat the whole thing. Because this fruit is small, low-calorie, and can be fed whole, it makes a great training treat.
However, blueberries can be a choking hazard for smaller dogs like toy breeds. If you have a small dog, you can reduce this risk by blending the fruit or cutting it in half.
When feeding blueberries, opt for fresh blueberries. Feed blueberries raw, not cooked, for maximum benefits. Frozen blueberries are also a good option because they still maintain their antioxidant potential, but make sure they don't contain any added ingredients. You should avoid canned berries, as those often have harmful added sugars and preservatives that may not be safe for our dogs.
Berries also top the list of fruits to buy organic because conventional berries can be contaminated with large amounts of pesticides and herbicides. So, you may want to consider going organic when you buy this snack for yourself and your pet.
Will Blueberries Upset My Dog's Stomach?
Blueberries are a great source of fiber. However, each dog has their own unique tolerance to fiber. For that reason, too many blueberries can cause an upset stomach in some dogs. But, other dogs may benefit from improved digestion because of the increased fiber.
Digestive systems certainly vary from dog to dog. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, try blending or mashing the blueberries to make them easier to digest. You can also support your dog's system with pet supplements. A pet probiotic and pumpkin for dogs can both help keep your dog's digestive tract healthy in times of change.
As with any new food, start by feeding smaller amounts of blueberries to avoid gastrointestinal upset. And remember — even foods deemed “dog safe” have the potential to cause an adverse reaction. As a dog owner, you know your pet better than anyone. So, watch for signs that can help you determine if your pet is tolerating the changes in their diet.
If they experience diarrhea, remove the new food from their diet for a few days. (If their diarrhea doesn't improve within a few days, make an appointment with your vet.) Once your dog is feeling better, you can reintroduce the new food in smaller quantities if you want to try again.
How Many Blueberries Can My Dog Eat?
When you first start feeding your dog blueberries, give them a half gram per pound of body weight. For example, a 56-pound dog would get one ounce of blueberries maximum to start.
Keep in mind that your dog may not care for the taste of some human foods like blueberries, so avoid adding them to a bowl of dog food without testing them first. Instead, start by feeding blueberries as a healthy snack or training treat. That way, if your dog decides they don't like the taste, you won't end up wasting a whole bowl of food.
What If My Dog Won't Eat Blueberries?
Just like humans, dogs have their own unique taste preferences when it comes to fruits. For this reason, many dogs refuse to eat blueberries and will even pick them out of their food. If your dog won’t eat blueberries, there are many other great fruits and veggies that can help you add extra nutrients to your dog’s diet. If you're looking for another dark pigmented food, try cooked and peeled beets.
Even if your dog loves blueberries, consider rotating this fruit with other dog-safe berries like cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries for an occasional treat. Each dog-safe fruit has its own unique set of benefits, and variety is the only way to provide maximum benefits and nutrient exposure.
Health Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Blueberries
Blueberries are a great snack because they're low calorie and contain manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium. While these essential nutrients are great, blueberries stand out because they are rich in non-essential but beneficial components.
For example, blueberries contain vitamin C. Dogs can synthesize vitamin C, so it's not considered an essential nutrient. Even though dogs can make their own vitamin C, they may not be able to synthesize it at optimal levels, especially as they age or when they're under stress.
Vitamin C works with vitamin E to stop free radical damage in the body. In this way, blueberries have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body and therefore support the immune system of your furry friend.
Blueberries are also an antioxidant-rich superfood. This fruit is unique in that it contains stilbenoid — a polyphenol. Polyphenols are natural chemical compounds found in plants. They're known for their antioxidant capacity. Stilbenoid may have a higher capacity to act as an antioxidant even compared to other polyphenols.
There are still numerous other phytonutrients found in blueberries, which include but are not limited to anthocyanins, flavonols, and flavan-3-ols. In a scientific study, blueberry extracts were shown to reduce oxidative stress and unwanted inflammation in dogs. This provides great benefits to the cardiovascular system. Animal studies have also shown benefits of blueberries ranging from blood sugar stabilization to blood-pressure regulation.
The phytochemicals found in blueberries and other fruits are often not found in kibble. Most dogs are missing out on their numerous benefits because they are considered “non-essential.” This means processed foods like kibble do not have to provide phytonutrients, even though they likely will benefit the majority of dogs.
DIY Blueberry Dog Treat
Because you can feed whole blueberries to your dog, it's an extremely easy human food to share. Most dogs love blueberries, so you don't need to do anything special before feeding them. But, on days when you feel like spoiling your pup with a healthy homemade dog treat, try this easy blueberry frozen yogurt recipe. It's a great treat for hot summer days.
- 1 pint of blueberries
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Medium bowl
- Freezer safe container
- Blender (optional)
- Roughly mash the blueberries with the back of your spoon, then stir in the yogurt. Or, place the whole blueberries and yogurt into your blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container and freeze overnight or for up to one month.
- Add a small scoop to your dog's bowl as a tasty treat.
Share a Sweet Treat
So, can dogs eat blueberries? Yes, this is one of the best treats to share with your furry friend. Dogs can eat the entire blueberry, so unlike with other fruits, you don't need to do any prep work to share this healthy snack with your pet.
Their small size and low calorie content makes whole blueberries a great training treat. And for days when you want to do something extra special, you can mix blueberries with other healthy human foods to create a decadent dog treat. However you feed this fruit, you'll be helping your dog get beneficial vitamins and minerals that you won't find in a typical dog food.For more great recipes and health tips for your dog, check out the Native Pet Blog.