Can dogs eat blackberries?

Foods healthy for humans are often good nutrition sources for pets, too. Most fresh fruits, for example, are excellent treats for our canine companions. But remember, the digestive systems of animals are different than ours, so we must be careful to avoid human foods that may be toxic or cause gastrointestinal upset in pets.

It’s common knowledge that our furry friends should avoid grapes and raisins, but what about berries? Are blackberries, in particular, safe for your pet? Let’s find out if giving blackberries to your dog is a smart move.

What are the health benefits of blackberries for dogs?

People enjoy these sweet, juicy berries, which pack a ton of health benefits into a tiny package. And dogs love them, as well. Blackberries are chock-full of nutritional perks good for both humans and dogs, including:

  • Anthocyanins, an antioxidant found in purple, blue, or red foods, fight free radicals and may provide health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects, reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and improved brain function.

  • Low sugar content should be mandatory with every dog treat. Berries are lower in sugar content than other fruits and are an excellent choice for your pup.

  • Fiber can help with gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation or diarrhea. It can also make your pet feel full, which may help reduce her whining for more food when you’re trying to help her lose a few pounds.

  • Vitamins are useful for many reasons. Blackberries are loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and help support the following:

    • Building the immune system

    • Synthesizing hormones

    • Activating enzymes

    • Metabolizing food

    • Encouraging growth

    • Reducing inflammation

    • Increasing energy levels

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are the backbone for a shiny coat, healthy skin, and strong teeth.

Although blackberries pack a powerful nutritional punch, they should be enjoyed by your dog in moderation. Even nutrient-rich treats should never account for more than 10 percent of your dog’s total daily calorie intake.

Are there dangers associated with blackberries and dogs?

While blackberries are safe for dogs, eating too many can cause adverse effects, such as:

Also, blackberries contain a minuscule amount of the substitute sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. While your pet would have to eat a massive quantity of blackberries to be poisoned, you should limit your dog to a small handful of blackberries a day to be safe.

What are alternatives to blackberries for dogs?

If your dog isn’t a blackberry fan, switch to another berry, or choose a different fruit or vegetable. These berries are also safe for dogs:

A deeper look at raspberries

Raspberries are one of the fruits with the highest amount of naturally occurring xylitol. There are 0.05 g of xylitol in 1 cup of raspberries. This means that in order to eat enough raspberries to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) a 10kg dog would have to eat 4-6 cups of raspberries. To eat enough raspberries to be fatal, that same dog would have to eat at least 32 cups of raspberries!

Berries your dog should NOT eat

Avoid feeding your dog the following berries, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, seizures, or trouble breathing:

  • Mistletoe berries

  • Gooseberries

  • Salmonberries

  • Holly berries

  • Baneberries

  • Pokeberries

  • Juniper berries

  • Dogwood berries

Always avoid wild berries, which typically are toxic to pets, and stay safe with berries that are also safe for people (including not spoiled or rancid) and are found in supermarkets.

How to add blackberries to a dog’s diet

Now that you know all the nutritional benefits packed into these tiny berries, you may want to add them to your dog’s menu. Freeze a few blackberries for a chilled treat. Stuff a Kong toy with a mixture of several blackberries in plain, low-fat yogurt, and freeze the toy overnight. Or, get creative in the kitchen and try out this tasty recipe from PetGuide.com’s editor, Amy Tokic:

Berry wholesome dog treats

Makes 40 to 50 treats

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups assorted berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries

  • 1 small banana

  • ½ cup almond milk

  • 1 cup oat flour

  • ½ cup oats

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, add the banana, berries, and milk, and puree until smooth.

  2. Add flours and oats in a large bowl. Mix until combined.

  3. Add the berry and banana mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir thoroughly.

  4. Place a small ball of dough on the counter. Spray a rolling pin with cooking spray to prevent dough from sticking. Roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into treats with a cookie cutter and place on cookie sheets covered in parchment paper.

  5. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.

  6. Allow treats to cool completely before serving to your pooch.