Can Dogs Eat Blueberries? What Are The Benefits & Risks?

Introduction

Like other types of fruit, blueberries can make a nice treat once in a while. They contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so they support your dog’s overall health.

Since they are a treat and since dogs are genetically designed to eat mostly protein and fat, not carbs, they should only be given to pets on occasion.

If you have any concerns as to whether you should feed blueberries to your dog, make sure to first consult your veterinarian. Some dogs, especially those that are obese or that suffer from diabetes, might have to steer clear of fruit altogether, including blueberries.

Benefits for dogs

Antioxidants

Many scientific papers suggest that antioxidants can prevent a number of diseases, including cancer of the lung and cancer of the prostate. They also have a beneficial effect on keeping your dog’s skin and coat in check.

If you regularly give your dog antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies, you can slow down your pet’s aging process.

Blueberries

Low in calories

There are just 85 calories in one cup of blueberries, which means that they are among the lowest calorie-rich fruits out there. By comparison, a cup of banana has as many as 200 calories.

For this reason, blueberries can be considered as a healthy snack for dogs that are predisposed to becoming obese.

Dietary fiber

As is the case with other types of fruit, blueberries have their share of fiber. In dogs that are constipated, a treat like blueberries once in a while can improve their digestion.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients in blueberries as it supports a healthy immune system and effectively makes it harder for your dog to catch an infection.

Vitamin K

In case your dog suffers any physical trauma, their blood-clotting ability should be up to par in order to stop a hemorrhage as soon as possible. Vitamin K is in charge of doing just this.

How much to feed

There isn’t a golden rule when it comes to the amount of blueberries you can feed to dogs, and that’s because the diversity of dog breeds out there is downright immense.

You cannot feed the same quantity of blueberries to a Yorkshire Terrier as you would to a Saint Bernard. For this reason, refer to the table below and ask your vet before adding this fruit to your dog’s diet.

Potential risks

Choking hazard

Very small dogs, especially puppies who haven’t yet learned how to swallow properly, can have a hard time eating blueberries. If you own such a dog, it might be better to puree the fruit than to feed it in its natural form.

Digestive upset

Too many blueberries can cause a gastrointestinal imbalance, causing some dogs to bloat or experience diarrhea episodes. Try to keep the amount of blueberries you give to your pet to a minimum, for this reason.

A spike in blood sugar

If your dog has diabetes or is known to have hyperglycemia, it’s better to steer clear of all fruit, including this one. Even so, blueberries contain very low amounts of sugar compared to other types of fruit, so they might be safe in these circumstances, too.

Pesticide exposure

The USDA’s Dirty Dozen list made it clear that some types of fruit have to be consumed only when they are farmed organically. Blueberries, strawberries, and other such treats can contain over 50 pesticides if they don’t come from organic farms. The best blueberries you can give to your dog, if you don’t want to risk anything, are those from a Farmer’s Market or those that you have grown yourself.

dog trying blueberries

Preparing the food

Most of the nutrients in blueberries are temperature sensitive (including the antioxidants). As such, the best advice that we can give you is to feed them to your dog raw.

Thoroughly wash the blueberries before doing so, however, since some types of fruit might be dirty or might have been sprayed with pesticides.

If your dog has a hard time eating the fruit as is, you can mash it or even pop it in the oven for a chewy treat.

Serving ideas Here are some tips on how you can easily incorporate blueberries into your dog’s diet.

  • Blend the blueberries with spinach for a healthy smoothie
  • Freeze blueberries for a cool summer snack
  • Use them as an ingredient in sugar and sweetener-free brownies or muffins
  • Add them as a tasty, juicy topper on the kibble
  • Make fruit leather out of a blueberry paste

Conclusion

Questions like “Can dogs eat blueberries?” are very important as a dog owner. You need to consult with your vet and carry out your research so that you can treat your dog with confidence.

You should pay attention to your dog’s reaction after eating blueberries, especially if this is the first time you’re feeding this treat to them. If you notice any adverse reactions or any strange behavior whatsoever, be sure to get in touch with your veterinarian.

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Cristina Vulpe

Cristina Vulpe

As a veterinarian and a cat guardian, Cristina Vulpe holds a Ph.D. in veterinary oncology. She loves writing about feline pathology, parasitology, and infectious diseases, but she also cares deeply about animal nutrition and welfare. When she isn't writing, you can always find her in the company of her cat and a good book.
Iasi, Romania