Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?
The benefits and risks of blackberries for dogs.
Blackberries are a healthy and sweet fruit, and they’re perfectly sized to toss a few to your pup. But can dogs eat blackberries safely — and what do you need to know before feeding one to your pup?
We spoke to a few vets to find out if blackberries are good for dogs or if they’re toxic.
Can dogs eat blackberries on occasion?
Dogs can eat blackberries but only in moderation.
“I recommend only feeding up to 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake in blackberries,” Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian with Paramount Pet Health, told The Dodo.
Vets recommend that treats should only make up around 10 percent of dogs’ diets, blackberries included.
Benefits of blackberries
Blackberries have a lot of health benefits. According to Dr. Burch, blackberries contain:
- Vitamins A, B, C, E and K
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Vitamins C and A support your pup’s vision, Dr. Sara Ochoa, a small- and exotic-animal veterinarian in Texas, told The Dodo. “They also provide a great source of vitamin K, which helps your dog's [blood’s] ability to clot. There are also many other minerals and omegas that will help keep your dog healthy.”
Blackberries are also low in calories, fat and sugar, so they make a better treat than some other high-sugar fruits, like bananas.
Potential risks of blackberries
Just like with too much of any treat, eating too many blackberries at once can give your pup an upset stomach.
Make sure you don’t give your dog blackberries that have gone bad since they can make him sick.
“Dogs ingesting spoiled or rancid blackberries can contract bacterial gastroenteritis, which can cause gastrointestinal upset along with a painful belly and lethargy,” Dr. Burch said.
According to Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian with Hepper, blackberries contain trace amounts of xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. “Even though a dog would have to eat quite a lot of blackberries to experience xylitol toxicity, it’s still important to know that it could be an issue,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo.
Since the amount of xylitol in blackberries is so small, you don’t really have to worry about it, but you still shouldn’t give your dog tons of blackberries, just to be safe.
How many blackberries can your dog have?
Dogs shouldn’t have too many blackberries at once because they can upset your pup’s stomach.
“It is best to feed blackberries in moderation,” Dr. Ochoa said. “I recommend only feeding two to three berries a day [or less].”
If you want to let your dog try some blackberries, introduce them to him slowly so his stomach can adjust to them. Dogs have sensitive stomachs, and they can get sick if you change their food too quickly or give them too many new foods.
“When introducing a new fruit to your dog, it is best to do so one at a time,” Dr. Ochoa said. “If you notice that your dog has any GI issues when eating these berries, it would be best to stop giving them.”
As long as you give your pup fresh, washed blackberries with no added sugar, they can be a healthy snack for him to have once in a while.