Can dogs eat blueberries?

Health and Wellbeing

Are you fancying treating your dog to a fruit salad but you’re unsure if blueberries are a good fruit for our furry friends? Well, look no further as we’ve got all the answers you need.

Can dogs eat blueberries?

Blueberries have reached the ultimate status in human health, they’re referred to as being a ‘superfood’, which basically refers to foods that offer tons of nutritional value with little calorie content, so think kaleavocado, chia seeds and almonds. But is this human superfood as good for our hounds as it is for us humans?

Keep reading to find out more about if our dogs can or can’t eat blueberries.

CAN DOGS EAT BLUEBERRIES?

Yes, our four-legged friends can eat blueberries and due to their small size and low calorie levels, they make perfect training treats if you’re wanting to mix up your dog’s regular treat selection. The same goes for other fruits, such as melonapples and bananas.

Blueberries don’t pose a toxicity threat to your dog, instead they have loads of health benefits, providing an excellent source of fibre to aid the digestive system, along with otns of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

CAN DOGS EAT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS?

Try and avoid eye contact with your dog while you’re tucking into a blueberry muffin, those puppy dog eyes can be hard to resist! Although blueberries are a great snack for your dog, you shouldn’t feed them to your dog in muffin form.

Blueberry muffins for human consumption are packed with sugar, butter and flour, which will not only be unhealthy, but it’ll also be hard for the doggy digestive system to process. Although the sugar and fats packed into muffins aren’t exactly healthy for us humans either, we can tolerate it in our tummy’s a lot better than our pooches can.

Too much fat and sugar will lead your dog to obesity, and possibly even a flare-up of pancreatitis if they’re a sufferer of the illness.

As a compromise, if you really did want to treat your dog to a muffin (or a pupcake), you could make dog-friendly ones and put loads of blueberries inside.

CAN DOGS EAT BLUEBERRY YOGURT?

As a general rule of thumb, we’d always say no. Most fruit-flavoured yogurt will be laden with sugar, and the fruit flavouring is likely to be comprised of artificial flavourings and chemicals rather than the actual fruit.

Therefore, unless the blueberry yoghurt is totally natural, we’d advise your furry friend to stay clear. Dogs can eat a dash of plain yoghurt as a little treat every so often, as it’s rich in calcium and protein, but like we said, always stick to the plain yogurt over the sweet stuff.

CAN DOGS EAT BLUEBERRY-FLAVOURED THINGS?

Similarly to blueberry yoghurt, anything that is labelled as being ‘blueberry-flavoured’ will more often than not be flavoured artificially, which will be unhealthy for your pooch.

ARE BLUEBERRIES GOOD FOR DOGS?

Not only are they super tasty, but blueberries are also super healthy for your dog as long as they're fed in moderation. A close cousin to the cranberry, blueberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, there’s so much goodness packed into this tiny berry.

Blueberries include vitamins such as:

  • Vitamin C for its anti-inflammatory properties and to boost immunity
  • Vitamin A helps to promote healthy skin, coat, muscles and nerves
  • Vitamin K is a blood coalugant, encouraging the blood to clot properly

Minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium are also jam-packed into this fruit, supporting various bodily functions.

Also, blueberries are brimming with antioxidants, which are known to help fight free radicals, which are to blame for both cellular and molecular damage in both people and pooches.

One study attempted to value the total antioxidant power of the brilliant blueberry, and it found that by feeding blueberries to sled dogs who had just completed vigorous exercise, this tiny little fruit helped to reduce their overall recovery time from the physical activity. Now that’s impressive!

Studies also report that these antioxidants are connected with reducing the impact of the deteriorating brain as the dog ages, making blueberries an even better snack for the more senior members of the canine population.

If that wasn’t enough, the blueberry contains something called phytochemicals, which are compounds that are naturally found in plants, and they’re linked to several health benefits. One of the main ones being that they’re reported to help battle cancer in humans. This just shows how much blueberries can do!

It's not surprising that they're labelled as a human superfood.

CAN BLUEBERRIES BE BAD FOR DOGS?

Blueberries are incredibly healthy, but as with anything new to your dog’s diet, they should be fed in moderation. Due to the high levels of fibre in the berry, you don’t want to plate up a full dish of them for your four-legged friend as this could cause them to have an upset tummy.

The teeny tiny dogs such as Chihuahuas may need to be monitored if you’re treating them to a blueberry, as these tiny fruits could pose a choking hazard for small dogs. Also, as you do with your own fruit and veggies, wash the blueberries down before giving them to your dog to eliminate any pesticides or dirt that may be lingering.

Other than that though, there are not many downsides to blueberries!

SHOULD I FEED MY DOG BLUEBERRIES?

Yes! They’re a great healthy snack that can be fed in various different ways to keep things exciting. Freeze them on a hot day to help keep your dog cool, use them as training treats, mash them into a lickimat and even bake them into your very own dog-friendly pupcake!

As with any snack, make sure they’re given alongside a complete and balanced meal so your dog is receiving all of their nutrition. Treats should always be fed as no more than 10% of your dog’s diet, with their regular food making up the other 90%.

If you’re looking for complete and balanced nutrition, then look no further than Pure. Brimming with protein, vitamins minerals and of other tons of fruit and veggies, we want to make sure our four-legged friends get all the nutrition they need with every single bite, but blueberries can be great as an extra added treat.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.

Sources
  1. Difference Between Antioxidants and Phytochemicals? American Institute for Cancer Research, Nov 2015
  2. Brain aging in the canine: a diet enriched in antioxidants reduces cognitive dysfunction Neurobiology of Aging, 23, (5), Oct 2002, 809-818, doi:10.1016/s0197-4580(02)00073-8
  3. Total antioxidant power in sled dogs supplemented with blueberries and the comparison of blood parameters associated with exercise Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 143, (4), April 2006, 429-434