Being an extremely popular fruit, it’s not uncommon for you to wonder if blueberries are a safe snack you can share with your dog. Blueberries are found in a variety of human food items including pancakes, muffins, and fruit salads and many studies have found blueberries are a superfood that contains many healthy benefits for both humans and animals.
Sharing a blueberry snack with your dog is not only safe but is often encouraged by veterinarians. Blueberries contain a high amount of antioxidants which can prevent cellular damage in mammals, as well as help improve muscle recovery after heavy exercise.
You’ll also find large amounts of fibre and vitamins in this fruit. And since blueberries are small bite-sized pieces, you can feed them to dogs of all sizes as a training snack or food encouragement item.
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
Dogs can eat blueberries, and in fact, this tiny superfood should be a daily addition to your dog’s diet at least in some form. Whether it’s as an occasional snack during training sessions or as part of their daily meal, blueberries have a wide range of health benefits that dogs can appreciate.
Blueberries are a fruit that is very low in calories but is packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and phytochemicals. These natural benefits have been shown to prevent cell damage, help with muscle repair after exercise, and maintain cognitive function in senior dogs.
Even though blueberries are considered a superfood and are very low in calories, portion control should still be maintained. Treats of any kind should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily intake of food. For smaller dogs, blueberries as an occasional treat would be plenty for the day, but for larger dogs treats as well as an addition of blueberries to their normal food can be beneficial.
One of the biggest risks to feeding blueberries, especially to small dogs and puppies, is that they can be a choking hazard. While they are a very small round fruit, if your dog is a “gulper” that doesn’t chew his food, a blueberry can be caught in their throat and cause gagging or choking. In this case, you can opt to feed blueberries pureed or mashed to prevent this risk.
Additionally, if your dog eats too many blueberries at once, they can get an upset stomach. This is not due to any toxicity in the blueberry itself, but rather the amount of a new and different food than your dog may be used to.
One final thing to watch out for is allergies. Some dogs will show allergies to new foods, so it’s always best to start slow when offering new foods such as blueberries to your dog. Food allergies can cause a variety of symptoms including itchy skin, rashes and red patches, hair loss, severe stomach upset, and more. If you think your dog may have food allergies, it’s best to contact your vet before adding a new food item to your dog’s diet.
How Should You Prepare Blueberries For Dogs?
Blueberries are extremely versatile in how they can be fed to your dog. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that moderation is key. Even though blueberries may quickly become your dog’s favourite snack, it’s important that you limit their intake to moderate levels to ensure they don’t get overloaded with any one vitamin or nutrient.
Fresh blueberries are perfectly safe to feed your dog. If you have an all-organic garden and blueberry bushes, you can pick the fruit directly off the bush and offer it to your pet. If you purchase your blueberries from the grocery store, it’s important that you thoroughly wash them in clear water to remove any pesticide or preservative sprays that may have been added.
Frozen blueberries can be a great snack on a hot summer day. Keep your blueberries in the freezer for a few hours before offering them to your dog whole and frozen, but keep an eye on your four-legged friend to make sure they properly chew the frozen treat and don’t choke on it. This is especially true for small breeds and puppies.
You can also place fresh blueberries and other dog-safe fruits into an ice cube tray with some water and freeze a tasty little cube snack for your pet. This not only acts as a delicious and healthy treat but provides several minutes of play while your dog licks and chews on the cube to get to the snacks inside.
If you are worried about choking with fresh and frozen blueberries, consider mashing or pureeing them instead. This provides the same great taste and health benefits in a safe and hazard-free snack. When mashing or pureeing your blueberries, you can add other dog-safe fruits and vegetables to the mix to make a smoothie or liquid that can then be frozen or added as a topping to your dog’s normal diet.
Is Blueberry Good For Dogs?
Yes, blueberries can be extremely good for dogs! This tiny fruit has been called a superfruit because it contains high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, antioxidants, fibre, and phytochemicals. All of these nutrients are vital for cell, bone and muscle development as well as muscle repair in highly active dogs, and cognitive repair in ageing dogs.
Blueberries are also very low in calories, which makes them a low fat snack for dogs on a diet. While they do contain small amounts of sugar, they can still make a great treat for diabetic dogs as well. However, you should speak with your veterinarian to see how many blueberries are suitable for your dog.
Antioxidants are great for helping with muscle and joint repair after strenuous exercise. For dogs that are always on the move, or for working dogs that put their heart and soul into their jobs, adding blueberries to their diet can help provide the necessary antioxidants needed to encourage rapid muscle repair.
Antioxidants are also great for senior dogs as it helps reduce the effects of cognitive decline. In other words, it can help encourage better brain function even in older dogs. Additionally, the variety of vitamins found in blueberries can help reduce joint inflammation, improve immune function, and help increase bone density which is all extremely helpful for older dogs.
The Bottom Line
Blueberries can be an extremely beneficial snack to add to your dog’s diet. Whether you want to feed them fresh as a treat during training or add pureed blueberries to your four-legged friends’ food, blueberries can be a very healthy fruit for dogs to enjoy.