The other day my partner was prepping to make blueberry pancakes for dinner (breakfast for dinner for the win!) when he dropped a couple of blueberries onto the floor. My usually very picky Alaskan Klee Kai, Fenrir, dive-bombed the blueberries and ate both of them basically before my partner and I could even think about getting them away from him. We were surprised, to say the least, since Fenrir isn’t usually the type of dog to eat fruit. So, how much did we have to worry about Fen’s seemingly new taste for blueberries? Can dogs eat blueberries!?
Blueberries are Dog Safe!
It turns out – no worries! Blueberries are completely nontoxic for dogs. My papillon, Kitsune, has always loved to snack on dog-safe fruits (in moderation, of course), blueberries included. And can you blame him? These naturally sweet fruits likely taste good to dogs, the same way that they do to people. And besides just tasting good, blueberries can be good for dogs too.
The Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Blueberries
Blueberries are packed full of healthy vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, K, and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also contain antioxidants that are thought to help fight against things like heart disease and cancer. Studies have shown that diets rich in antioxidants can also help improve brain function in senior dogs.
Blueberries are also low-calorie and contain a lot of fiber. This makes them great little snacks, especially for dogs who may be watching their weight. They pack a punch as far as flavor and nutrients go, but don’t contain a lot of calories. If your dog is on a diet, replacing some of their food with healthy, low-calorie fresh foods such as blueberries and green beans can help your pet feel full without adding a lot of excess calories. If your dog really likes them, blueberries could even be used to replace higher-calorie treats!
Downsides to Feeding Dogs Blueberries?
Blueberries can, especially if you have a smaller dog, present a choking hazard if your dog is the type to try swallowing them whole. If your dog is one to forgo chewing, blueberries can be cut in half to help avoid choking.
Blueberries do contain a good amount of natural sugars. It makes them taste delicious, but means they may not be the best snack for dogs with diabetes or other health concerns. Talk to your vet if you have any concerns about feeding your individual dog blueberries.
Blueberries, as well as other snack or treat type foods, should be fed to dogs in moderation. Too many of them at once may cause GI upset in some dogs.
Both Wild and Cultivated Blueberries are Safe for Dogs
Last summer, Kit and I came across some wild blueberry bushes in the woods around our house. Kit had so much fun picking the individual berries off the bushes and eating them. Although wild blueberries are smaller and often a darker color compared to their cultivated counterparts, they are also dog safe.
Does your dog like blueberries? Now that I know that my Fenrir likes them, I’ll have to make a point to buy them more often. There aren’t too many fruits that Fenrir will actually eat. I’m happy that blueberries are one of his accepted fruits now, since they are so packed full of beneficial nutrients. Plus, now I have one more excuse to buy blueberries often! I have to admit, I think I like them even more than my two dogs do.
Most dogs I know like blueberries, though of all the dogs I’ve had, none of mine have liked them until I got Tucker. Tucker is an almost two-year-old papillon who begs for blueberries every time I put them in my yogurt and who picks them off of the bushes when I take him out walking in the woods. I have to pull him away so he doesn’t eat too many at once. He will grab whole branches off of the plants in the wild if I don’t move fast enough with him.