Most foods are pretty black and white when it comes to the safety of your dog but cherries fall smack in the middle of that grey area. Can dogs eat cherries?
Read on to find out what makes this fruit sometimes ok but also one to be cautious of with your canine.
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ARE CHERRIES SAFE FOR DOGS TO EAT?
Cherries, however, pose a bit of a conundrum when it comes to the safety of feeding them to your pup.
Cherry flesh is perfectly safe for your dog to consume. The pits, stems and leaves of cherries, however, contain cyanide and can be poisonous to your furry friend if consumed in high amounts.
Cherry pits can also pose a problem (especially for smaller dogs) by potentially getting stuck in the intestinal tract and causing a blockage.
HOW MANY CHERRIES CAN A DOG EAT?
The good news is one, two or even a small handful of cherries isn’t overly dangerous to your dog.
If they happen to steal some off of the counter, don’t panic.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY DOG EATS WHOLE CHERRIES?
If your dog consumes more than that amount, you’ll want to watch carefully for any adverse reactions.
Labored breathing, bright red gums or excessive panting can all be signs of potential poisoning whereas vomiting and decreased appetite are more indicative of a potential intestinal blockage.
CAN DOGS HAVE CHERRIES WITHOUT THE SEEDS?
If you’ve already pitted the cherries (I love my cherry pitter for this!), then it’s completely safe to give your dog a few as a healthy snack!
Cherries are actually quite nutritious, like any colorful fruit, containing beneficial amounts of vitamin C and A along with healthy fiber and antioxidants.
They include a lot of the same nutrients as basil and other herbs.
WHAT TYPES OF CHERRIES CAN DOGS EAT?
Given the amount of varieties of cherries out there, you may be wondering which kind of cherries dogs can eat?
The flesh from any variety, from Bing to Rainier to Black cherries are ok for your dog.
There’s one exception. We do not suggest feeding your dog maraschino cherries.
Maraschinos, while already pitted, are usually soaked in a syrup or sugar solution (hence why they’re so delicious in cocktails!) and not a healthy option for dog consumption.
Any canned fruit such as maraschinos are usually something to avoid giving your dog. Once it’s in a can, there are oftentimes lots of added sugars and preservatives that offer no benefit.
That’s why when feeding your dog applesauce we also recommend making sure it’s either homemade or an unsweetened and unflavored variety.
WHAT ARE SAFER FRUIT ALTERNATIVES?
If you’re dead set on giving your dog some fruit, besides the already mentioned options, most other berries are safe options.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and even cranberries can be great alternatives where you don’t need to worry about any poisonous components to the fruit.
Remember, when it comes to any fruit, moderation is key. This type of food should only be used as a snack or treat and never comprise more than 10% of your dog’s calories.
TIPS FOR SERVING DOGS FRUIT
Make sure to wash any fruit for your pup just as you would for yourself. Pesticides can linger on fruit, especially non-organically grown fruit.
Cut the fruit into small pieces and make sure to discard any parts your dog shouldn’t have such as the pits and stems in cherries.
Try freezing the fruit, especially berries if your dog is freaked out by the texture of fruit.
Dogs usually love frozen treats. Hiding a berry or two in an ice cub is actually a great, cheap and healthy treat for your pup!