Mad About Berries

Can Dogs Eat Blackberries

Man eats a lot of things and enjoys their taste. Although many things are not very good for them when eaten in access, people keep eating them. But when it comes to dog owners, things are slightly different.

Their dogs wish so much to eat whatever they eat that they don’t like to enjoy it alone, without sharing it with their dogs.

In summer, when there are berries everywhere, and especially when blackberries are plentiful, dog owners keep wondering whether they can feed blackberries to their dogs.

They are worried if they feed the berries to their dear doggo and if something wrong happens with the dog, what they can do. But they will be delighted to know that dogs can eat blackberries!

Published: January 27, 2022.

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Blackberries are Healthy

As you may know, all berries, and especially blackberries are packed with nutrients, and so, are known as superfoods. They contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and fiber, all of which are beneficial for dogs.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A in blackberries is important to keep one’s eyes healthy.

Vitamin C: Blackberries contain vitamin C which is a potent antioxidant in itself. It reduces inflammation and is good for teeth and gums.

It also strengthens the immune system. Regarding the benefits of vitamin C to dogs, it’s a little unclear whether really dogs get benefited from this vitamin in blackberries or other fruits because dogs produce it naturally and don’t typically need any supplementation of vitamin C.

On the contrary, their ability to produce vitamin C can be negatively affected which may cause vitamin C deficiency.

However, since blackberries have to be served only in a small number to dogs, they should not cause a problem. Still, before giving blackberries or any new food to a pup, the owner should consult their vet.

Vitamin K: Blackberries also contain vitamin K which has an important role in the clotting of blood and thus preventing excessive bleeding.

Trace Elements: Blackberries contain traces of elements like calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc. These help in the proper functioning of systems in the body and support the proper growth and development of muscles, bones, ligaments, and teeth.

Antioxidants: Blackberries are full of antioxidants. For example, anthocyanins which occur in blue, purple, and red fruits, fight free radicals and protect cells from getting damaged. Thus, they reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

They have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and keep cognitive function in a dog healthy as the dog ages.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids help keep dogs’ skin and coat healthy. They also improve cognitive function and cardiac health.

Fiber: Blackberries are full of insoluble fiber. These are indigestible and so, move food easily through the digestive tract.

They form bulk, ease constipation, and thus, promote the health of the digestive system and immunity. They also make the doggy feel full soon and thus the pet doesn’t desire more food. So, their weight remains healthy.

Carbohydrates: There are simple carbs in blackberries in the form of glucose, sucrose, and fructose. But fiber forms half the total carbs and thus, blackberry is low in carbs compared to other fruits.

It’s better to consult one’s vet if the owner is planning to serve blackberries to their diabetic dog as the sugar content is overall high.

Calories: There are only 62 calories in one cup of blackberries. So, they are a great snack not only for dogs overall but also for overweight dogs.

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When can Blackberries be Bad for Dogs?

When Eaten in Large Numbers: If one’s pooch eats too many blackberries at a time, they can have stomach upsets. Therefore, if the owner has planted blackberries in their yard, or their surrounding wild area has blackberry plants, they should monitor their dog to prevent overeating.

Blackberries contain fiber and when the dog eats too many of them, they consume too much fiber which can lead to stomach upsets like indigestions, diarrhea, gas, and vomiting. For dogs with extra sensitive stomachs, the owner should altogether skip this snack.

Still, if one’s canine companion manages to secretly eat a lot of blackberries from one’s cultivation or in the wild, they may show symptoms of stomach upset or chemical poisoning. In that case, they should never delay in taking the dog to the vet.

Symptoms include fever, lethargy, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, hypersalivation, diarrhea, constricted pupils, lack of coordination (a problem in walking), vomiting, and seizures.

When Treated with Chemicals: Blackberries that the pup owner hasn’t grown themselves and occur along the edges of private properties and farms, may carry another danger. They could have been treated with pesticides or herbicides.

If they’ve been used in the right concentrations, they can hardly cause toxicity to pets. However, it’s better to avoid the risk either by not allowing one’s pet to eat these berries or washing them thoroughly before feeding them to the pup.

Rotting Berries: Dog owners should never fall prey to the temptation of feeding rotting berries to their pups as they themselves wouldn’t eat them.

Moldy berries contain potentially dangerous mycotoxins which can lead to severe symptoms like tremors, vomiting, drooling, wobbliness, and even seizures.

If not treated on time, mycotoxin toxicity can be fatal. Dog owners should contact their vet immediately if their pet consumes such rotten food and shows these symptoms.

Choking: Another risk is of choking. All fruits and vegetables pose this risk if the dog gulps them down. This happens especially with smaller breeds. If a dog is a gulper, the owner should cut blackberries in halves or even smaller to reduce the risk.

Xylitol Poisoning: Blackberries naturally consist of a small quantity of xylitol, which is usually added as an artificial sweetener in human foods. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure in them.

However, a dog should eat a very large number of blackberries to develop any xylitol poisoning symptoms. It’s better to consult one’s vet to know in what amount a dog should eat blackberries so as to not get affected by xylitol poisoning.

Allergy: The above rules are generally true for all dogs. But there may be an odd dog who is allergic to blackberries or any new food. If the owner notices any allergy symptoms such as itching, rashes, skin hives, coughing, sneezing, swelling of lips, excess salivation, difficulty in breathing, drowsiness, etc. and very rarely, anaphylaxis (sudden drops in blood pressure, weak pulse, blocked airways, etc. – this can be life-threatening), they should immediately stop serving the berries and consult their vet.

If the owner is serving blackberries to their pooch for the first time, it’s best to serve them in a very small quantity to see if their dog is allergic to the new treat.

Per se, the owner should follow the rule of 90/10. This means that of the calories a dog takes in, 90% should come from their balanced dog food and only 10% should come from treats. Serving a dog too many treats, particularly high-calorie commercial treats, can cause obesity.

How Many Blackberries are Safe for Dogs?

The number of blackberries safe for dogs depends on the Fido’s size. As a general rule, 2 blackberries are enough for a small dog, 4 to 5 are good for a medium dog and 6 to 8 are good for a large dog.

Still, the owner should carefully keep an eye on any symptoms like stomach upsets after eating the berries, and if the pup shows such symptoms, should reduce the number or stop feeding them. The best way is to consult one’s vet.

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How to Feed Blackberries to Dogs?

Just like any fruit, blackberries too should be thoroughly washed before serving to the doggy to remove any residues of dirt, manure, pesticides, and herbicides.

Fresh: The best way to feed blackberries to dogs is to feed them fresh with no added ingredients. Human foods containing blackberries, such as cobblers or pies, contain sugar and seasoning that may lead to indigestion in dogs.

Smoothies: For feeding blackberries to dogs, the owner can mix them in smoothies along with other healthy fruits like bananas, strawberries, mangoes, or peaches (mangoes and peaches after removing the pit). If one adds peanut butter to this, they should make sure it’s free from xylitol.

Fruit Salad: Dog owners can make a refreshing fruit salad for their beloved furry friend by mixing small quantities of blackberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon with plain Greek yogurt. This salad is not only refreshing and hydrating for dogs on hot summer days, but also boosts their immune system.

A Part of Treat Toy Stuffing: The owner can include blackberries into a treat toy or Kong stuffing. They can be frozen to increase the challenge. This will provide great mental stimulation to Fido without overfeeding.

Freezing: Freezing blackberries before serving them to one’s pooch means they will stay fresh for long. This way, one can have the supply of blackberries for months, instead of days. They can be served in combination with other healthy frozen fruit or veg popsicle to keep the doggo cool on hot days.

Baking: There are so many recipes for baked doggy cookies available online. One can just add blackberries to them and with a fun cookie cutter, make homemade dog cookies.

Are Other Parts of Blackberry Plants Safe for Dogs?

If one’s pup is in a habit of eating and easy access to blackberries that are still on plants, the dog may accidentally eat some of the leaves too along with the berries. But the owner need not worry in such a case as these leaves are not toxic to dogs.

However, one must remember that a dog’s digestive tract is not designed to digest a lot of plants. Therefore, if Fido consumes a lot of blackberry leaves, they may suffer from diarrhea or have a hard time passing feces.

The stem of a blackberry plant has thick, sharp spines that may deter dogs from trying to eat the berries. Still, there are chances the doggy gets prickled while trying the same. So, the owner’s vigilance is necessary.

Other Harmful Berries

Pet owners should also prevent their dogs from consuming wild berries like mistletoe berries, juniper berries, cherries, gooseberries, baneberries, pokeberries, dogwood berries, and holly berries that can be poisonous to dogs.

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In general, dogs love all types of berries; no wonder, they love blackberries too. While enjoying these tiny fruits full of taste and health, one should share a few with their doggo too, though not many.

With that, their canine companion will remain hydrated, can fight free radicals and inflammation, have strong immunity, and will be healthy and happy!

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