Can Dogs Eat Blueberries: The Nutritional Value of Blueberries as a Dog Food

Yes, blueberries are a common ingredient seen in commercial dog food and can be safely consumed by dogs. The blueberry fruit is high in antioxidants and extremely nutritious for both humans and dogs.

Being low in calories and packed with fiber, vitamin C and K means that it is an ideal snack for dogs of all ages and life stages. 

Puppies eating strawberries and blueberries

Your furkid will benefit the most from farm-fresh blueberries with no additives. Read on to learn more about the fruit and how you can add blueberries to your dog’s diet.

What are the Benefits of Blueberries for Dogs?

Aside from being a yummy and low-calorie treat for you and your furbabies, blueberries are a nutrient-rich fruit that can benefit your dog in a variety of ways. Here are the health benefits of eating blueberries.

1. Antioxidants in blueberries fight free radicals and prevent cellular degradation: The antioxidants in blueberries can fight off free radicals and prevent cellular and molecular cell damage in dogs.

Senior dogs that are given blueberries show signs of reduced brain aging. 

A cup of wild blueberries has a staggering 13,427 total antioxidants, including flavonoids such as quercetin and anthocyanidin. Cultivated blueberries also have a substantial amount of antioxidants at 9,019 per cup. 

2. High water content in blueberries can improve hydration: Dogs need 1 oz of water for each pound they weigh. Based on this recommendation, a dog that weighs 10 lbs needs 10 oz of water daily. 

Made up of almost 84% water, blueberries are a low-calorie treat that not only helps with hydrating your puppy but can also be used in weight management.

3. Phytochemicals in blueberries can prevent cancer: Phytochemicals are found in plants and blueberries contain ellagic acid, proanthocyanidins, phenolic acids, and stilbene derivatives, including antioxidants such as flavonoids and anthocyanidin.

Phytochemicals act as antioxidants and are sometimes used to slow cancerous cell growth and halt tumor growth. 

4. Omega oils in blueberries maintain strong brain function and a glossy coat: The essential fatty acids in blueberries can aid in development, reproduction, immune function and keep your dog’s skin healthy.

A cup of blueberries provides 174 milligrams of omega-3 and 258 milligrams of omega-6. 

5. Blueberries are high in fiber, and low in calories and fat: 16% of the carbs in blueberries come from fiber and are mainly water. This makes them the perfect addition to low-calorie diets.

It can help keep dogs feel fuller for longer, keeping them hydrated all day while lowering their calorie intake. 

What nutrients in blueberries are beneficial for dogs?

Blueberries are considered a superfood because they are jam-packed with nutrients. The nutritional value of blueberries is listed below. 

  • Vitamin A: Blueberries have about 54 IU of Vitamin A per 100 grams. It can protect your dog’s eyesight and promote immune and cell function.
  • Vitamin C: There are trace amounts of Vitamin C in blueberries, with 9.7 mg in every 100 grams. A powerful antioxidant, it can boost your dog’s immunity as well as improve brain function. 
  • Vitamin K: There is about 14 mcg of Vitamin K per 100 grams of blueberries. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that can improve your dog’s blood function
  • Calcium: An essential mineral for dogs, calcium helps with the development of healthy and strong bones. Your dog can get 6 mg of calcium per 100 grams of blueberries.
  • Phosphorus: Another essential nutrient for healthy joints and bones, blueberries have 12 mg per 100 grams. Phosphorus works hand in hand with calcium as they both ensure your dog’s mobility, hormonal, and nerve function.
  • Potassium: Blueberries have 77 mg of potassium for every 100 grams. This electrolyte can help maintain the healthy nerve impulses and muscle function of your pooch. 
  • Magnesium: Magnesium plays a big part in developing your dog’s enzymes, bones, and intracellular fluids. There is 6 mg of magnesium in every 100 grams of blueberries. 
  • Anthocyanins: A flavonoid that can be found in blue or purple pigmented fruit and vegetables. It is linked to the healthy aging, memory function, and urinary tract health of your pup. Anthocyanins can also boost your dog’s immunity and ward off cancer. There is approximately 387-487mg of anthocyanins in 100 grams of blueberries. 

What are the Health Risks of Blueberries for Dogs?

Dog biting the fresh blueberry
A dog biting the fresh blueberry – Image source

Blueberries are a very low-risk treat, but that doesn’t mean it comes free from risks. Be wary of this one health risk that blueberries pose to dogs.

  1. Choking: Special care should be given when feeding frozen blueberries to puppies or smaller breeds as blueberries are small and round, it may become a choking hazard. Slicing frozen blueberries in half, feeding fresh blueberries, or waiting for frozen blueberries to thaw before feeding removes the risk of choking in any breed.

What’s in blueberries that are harmful to dogs?

Blueberries may have many beneficial nutrients, but certain elements can cause problems to your dog’s health, especially when consumed in large quantities. Here are the two issues that may occur. 

  1. Sugar overload: There is a small amount of sugar in blueberries but overfeeding them this sweet treat poses a small risk of dental cavities for your pup. However, the sugar content in blueberries does not raise the blood sugar levels of your dog due to bioactive compounds.
  2. Digestive issues: Excessive consumption of fiber can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea in dogs. 

Can Dogs be Allergic to Blueberries?

Blueberry allergies are extremely rare, but there is also a risk of your dog reacting negatively to this tiny fruit.

Itchiness or hives are more common symptoms of an allergic reaction from eating blueberries, but the following may also allude to a minor allergy.

  • Skin itching, infection and inflammation
  • Loss of fur
  • Ear infection
  • Depression
  • Discomfort
  • Bloating, Diarrhea and Vomiting

In severe cases, your dog might experience the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Hives 
  • Bright red gums
  • Swelling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Shock
  • Abnormal drinking or urinating
  • Death

What Happens If Dogs Eat Too Many Blueberries?

German Spaniel dog being fed with blueberries by the owner
A German Spaniel being fed with fresh blueberries by the owner – Image source

As dogs are mainly carnivorous and therefore, their bodies and digestive system are best equipped for breaking down protein.

Blueberries and other fruits or vegetables are fibrous, which may make it difficult for the dog’s digestive system to break it down. This may cause your dog to pass soft stools frequently until all fiber has been expelled. 

How Should Dogs Eat Blueberries?

Fresh blueberries are the best option as you can give them to your dog whole or mashed and mixed into his food

Frozen blueberries can also be a nice treat in the summer. Practice caution when offering frozen blueberries to smaller breeds or to puppies.

If you want to safely give your pups or small breed dog a frozen treat, you can consider blending it and freezing them into cubes.

When should dogs eat blueberries?

There’s no specific time that will enhance the benefits of blueberries. Anytime you’re enjoying fresh blueberries is a good time to offer your dog some.

Furthermore, dogs of all ages can enjoy the treat and the health benefits of blueberries

When should dogs not eat blueberries?

While blueberry allergies are rare for dogs, they can experience an adverse reaction to the fruit.

When giving blueberries to your pup for the first time, ensure that your dog doesn’t develop any of the symptoms listed above, which signals an allergic reaction.

How should you prepare blueberries for dogs?

Wash blueberries before giving them to your dog to ensure that no nasty chemicals, bacteria, or dirt is on the fruit. Since their seeds are so small, they don’t pose any risk to your dog, so you can give them the blueberries whole. 

If you have a blueberry bush, make sure you don’t accidentally give your dog any leaves from the plant. While it’s not toxic, it can make them very sick.

What are Foods Made with Blueberries for Dogs?

Cavalier Spaniel delighted with the blueberries
A Cavalier Spaniel dog delighted with the blueberries in the table – Image source

There are commercial dog foods that feature blueberries as one of their ingredients. There are also plenty of human dishes that are made with blueberries.

Can your dog snack on them? Find out about what blueberry concoctions that fido can enjoy and which he should stay away from below. 

1. Dried Blueberry

Blueberries that are dried without any preservatives or additives can be a good snack for your dog. You can make them yourself by lining a baking tray with blueberries and baking them at 200°F (100°C) for 3 hours.

If you have a dehydrator, you can also use that to make your own dried blueberries. 

2. Blueberry Yogurt

Can dogs eat blueberry yogurt? It depends. If your dog is lactose intolerant, you might want to skip the yogurt. If not, you’ll need to consider whether it is homemade or store-bought.

Packaged food often includes sweeteners such as Xylitol that can be harmful to your dog. If you’re making your own yogurt and mixing in a couple of blueberries, your dog will also get a boost of probiotics. 

3. Blueberry Pudding

Pudding of any kind shouldn’t be given to dogs. Even if you make it yourself, pudding mixes usually contain sugar and other flavorings, which is bad for dogs and may even cause allergic reactions.

4. Frozen Blueberry

Can your dogs eat frozen blueberries? Yes, frozen blueberries are a refreshing treat for your pup with all the antioxidants and vitamins that the fruit has to offer, especially if your dog doesn’t like blueberries in their original form.

Simply freeze-washed fresh blueberries, or you can mash them up and freeze them into cubes. 

5. Blueberry Muffins

There are blueberry muffin recipes that are dog-friendly, but if it’s a store-bought muffin, you’re better off serving it to your human friends.

The high sugar level and mix of ingredients may cause unwanted side effects on your pup’s health.

6. Blueberry Cake

Again, if it’s store-bought, it’s not likely to be any good for your dog unless you bought it from a specialty bakery that sells dog-friendly confections.

You can look up dog-friendly recipes online and make your own cake for your dog. 

7. Blueberry Pie

While a small piece won’t hurt your dog, it’s better to give your dog something that was made with dogs in mind.

Pies usually contain loads of sugar, and some pies, like apple pies, may contain substances that are harmful to dogs. 

Are foods made with blueberries safe for dogs?

Food made with blueberries can be safe for dogs to consume if they are made specifically for dogs.

Commercial or store-bought products are generally unsafe if meant for human consumption because there may be added sugars, preservatives, flavorings, or even chocolate, which is lethal to dogs. 

Are dog foods made with blueberries healthier for dogs?

No, blueberries don’t make dog food good. Dog food should be well-balanced, with optimum levels of protein, fat, and other essential nutrients.

Blueberries are not an essential part of a dog’s diet, even though there are health benefits to eating them. 

Balanced dog food with blueberries may be considered better than a balanced dog food without blueberries. Still, you’ll have to study the nutritional value of each to come to an accurate assessment.

Furthermore, dog food is subjective. The best dog food for one dog doesn’t mean that it will be the best for every dog. 

What is the Amount of Blueberries that Dogs Can Consume a Day?

Labrador having a bowl of blueberries
Meet Mickey, a Labrador dog having a bowl of blueberries – Image source

Blueberries are considered a dog treat, and as dog treats shouldn’t take up more than 10% of a dog’s diet, it depends on the dog’s size. For small breeds, it should be around ten blueberries per day.

For larger dogs, that can be anywhere from 20 to 30. 

As a general rule of thumb, you can give 2-3 berries for every 10 lbs that your dog weighs. Too many blueberries can lead to an overload of fiber, which will give them an upset stomach. 

What Dog Food Recipes Contain Blueberries?

If you love the idea of having blueberries in your dog’s food, whether for the health benefits or if you just want to give it a try, here are a few that have high ratings. 

What are dog food products that include blueberries?

Does your dog go absolutely nuts for blueberries? Dog food with blueberries as an ingredient doesn’t usually taste like blueberries, but here are some treats that are sure to satisfy your dog’s taste for blueberries.

Do blueberries help to preserve dog food?

Yes, antioxidants can keep food from going rancid. The high levels of antioxidants in blueberries are one of the reasons why they are commonly found in dog food. 

Can Dogs Eat Derivatives of Blueberries?

Fermented blueberries can offer your dog probiotics to strengthen their gut health. 

You can do this yourself by mixing one cup of blueberries with a tablespoon of honey, three tablespoons of water, and ¼ teaspoon of vegetable culture starter.

Mix well in a mason jar, ensuring that the blueberries are completely submerged, and leave it undisturbed in a shaded area.

However, blueberries that have been out rotting in the sun or trash should not be considered safe for your dog to ingest.

Not only are there various contaminants that can make your dog sick, fermentation that occurs in an anaerobic environment can lead to alcohol production and cause your dog to get drunk, which is equally deadly. 

What are the other Types of Berries Dogs Can Eat?

Golden Retriever wants the strawberries
A Golden Retriever dog wants the strawberries – Image source

There are other berries aside from blueberries that can provide your dog with nutritional benefits. Many berries which are healthy for us are also beneficial for dogs if given an appropriate amount. 

1. Raspberries

Another common ingredient in dog food, raspberries are low in sugar and calories. They are also high in fiber, manganese, and vitamin C.

However, these berries only have a quarter of the number of antioxidants the blueberries contain. 

Raspberries should be given to your dog in moderation because they contain the highest naturally occurring amount of xylitol, at 400 micrograms per gram.

2. Cranberries

A close cousin to grapes – which are highly toxic to dogs – cranberries are a wonderful treat in comparison.

They contain high levels of proanthocyanidins, which can prevent urinary tract infections, and have low potassium levels, making them easy on their kidneys. 

Dogs may not like cranberries because they can sometimes be bitter. It’s suggested that you mix cranberries into your dog’s meals. Frozen cranberries are to be avoided as they can damage your dog’s teeth.

Cranberries are another low-calorie fruit, with only 45 kcals per cup, and their antioxidant levels come very close to blueberries at 8,983 per cup. 

3. Strawberries

A special enzyme in strawberries can help whiten your dog’s teeth. These red-colored berries are also chock-full of vitamin C and fiber. Like blueberries, they are low in calories and also provide Omega fatty acids. 

Strawberries have the lowest amount of antioxidants of all berries on this list, at only 5,938 a cup. 

4. Blackberries

Blackberries come in at 7,701 antioxidants per cup. These berries have high amounts of minerals, which can keep your dog’s bones and teeth strong.

There’s also copper in blackberries which can aid in blood production and prevent anemia

Much like raspberries, they have naturally occurring xylitol, which can be lethal if your dog overdoses on them, so keep blackberries out of your dog’s reach.

If you have a plant near your vicinity, try to keep your dog from gorging on the fruit when it’s in season.

What are the Types of Berries Dogs Shouldn’t Eat?

Mistletoe berry plant
Poisonous white berries of mistletoe plant – Image source

Not all berries are created equal. Some are better than others, whereas some types of berries are toxic to both humans and animals. We’ll explore the various types of inedible berries below. 

1. Mistletoe

Also called Phoradendron or Christmas yuletide plants, mistletoe is often seen around Christmas time. You might wonder whether you might be able to sneak a berry to your furry friend, and the answer is a hard no. 

Mistletoe contains polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins. Just a few berries can cause seizures, heart abnormalities, hypotension, ataxia, or even death.

If your dog is lucky, he may be able to walk away with mild stomach discomfort. 

To be safe, always keep mistletoe out of reach from your pets as it’s toxic to both cats and dogs. 

2. Ivy Berries

The ivy plant leaves are much more toxic than the berries due to the steroid compounds found in them. Sapogenin and polyacetylene can irritate your dog and can result in vomiting, rashes, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. 

While ivy poisoning rarely ends in a fatality, you should keep your dog away from any plants that you come across.

If you have some around your house, make sure to supervise your dog, so he doesn’t come in contact with them. Brushing against them can also result in swelling, redness, and discomfort. 

3. Holly Berries

Holly berry is another festive plant that can trigger an adverse reaction in your dog. Both holly berries and their leaves are toxic to dogs.

Saponin and alkaloid are found in the berries, both of which cause gastrointestinal distress.

Drooling is likely to be the first symptom, but nausea, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and fatigue can all be signs of poisoning.

Vulnerable dogs, such as seniors or puppies, can die from exposure to holly berries not because of their toxicity but due to the dehydration that comes from excessive vomiting. 

If you use holly in your decorations, it’s best to keep it outdoors because sometimes the berries can fall off the plant as it dries, and your dog may chance upon it on the floor.

Furthermore, curious dogs may try to chew on the plant and end up with a bleeding mouth due to the sharp leaves.

4. Juniper Berries

These berries are sometimes used to dissolve bladder or kidney stones in dogs and treat tapeworms. However, excessive consumption can lead to kidney failure due to the substance thujone.

Small amounts of thujone are acceptable, so if your dog only ate one or two, you don’t have to worry too much. If your dog shows signs of distress, you should bring him to the vet.

Fortunately, most dogs will make a full recovery after ingesting juniper berries. 

5. Jerusalem Cherry

What looks like a cherry tomato plant is actually much more sinister in nature. The Jerusalem cherry is a glycoalkaloid that can cause gastrointestinal distress in dogs.

It can also cause depression and seizures due to the compound solanine. 

This ornamental plant is from the nightshade family, and ingesting a large amount will almost certainly result in death. 

6. Pokeweed Berries

Pokeweed contains saponins and oxalates, which can irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal system, but it should generally pass through without any lasting effects if a small amount was ingested.

However, if your dog experiences a lack of appetite, drooling, vomiting, or respiratory distress, it’s best you should send them to the vet. A large quantity of pokeweed berries or a severe reaction to the toxins can easily lead to death. 

7. Yew Seeds

An evergreen plant is highly toxic due to the complex taxines found in the plant. According to research, you’ll die from just eating three berries with its seeds. You should keep all pets away from the plant.

Common signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, weakness, respiratory distress, heart palpitations, abnormal blood pressure, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, and coma.

If you suspect your dog has eaten a yew berry and in effect, its seed, which is the most toxic part of the plant, bring your dog to the vet immediately.

8. Baneberries

Six baneberries are enough to kill an adult human being. Fewer is needed to administer a lethal dose in dogs. 

The toxin ranunculin breaks down into protoanemonin upon contact.

Protoanemonin can inflict a burning sensation when ingested, but the first signs are usually blistering around the mouth, followed by abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

In high doses, baneberries may even cause heart attacks.

What diseases can blueberries prevent in dogs?

The anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries can alleviate joint pain in dogs with joint disorders. Thereby, helping your dog stay agile.

Antioxidants are a powerful tool that can fight against cell degradation, whether in the brain, heart, or immune system.

Blueberries have long been known to prevent certain cancers, improve memory, and cardiovascular health in dogs. 

UTIs are another problem that blueberries can keep at bay. There are certain compounds in the fruit that prevent bacteria from entering the dog’s system. 

What are other Foods that Dogs Can Eat Similar to Blueberries?

Basset Hound eating watermelon
A Basset Hound dog eating watermelon at the beach – Image source

Aside from other berries that we’ve talked about above, you can also look into the following foods that provide just as many benefits to your dog’s health while being low in calories and sugar. 

  • Yogurt: While not all dogs should eat yogurt, dogs that can tolerate lactose can benefit from the probiotics in yogurt. Just make sure only to feed your dog plain or greek yogurt. Aside from the gastrointestinal benefits your dog will get, yogurt can also supplement your dog with an additional source of protein. 
  • Spinach: A controversial vegetable for dogs, spinach should only be served to dogs with fully functioning kidneys. Filled with vitamins A, B, C, and K, all of which play a part in keeping your dog’s body functioning well. It also contains other nutrients such as iron and roughage. Unfortunately, spinach has oxalic acid, which can cause kidney damage in high doses, so if you’re going to give your dog some spinach, don’t go overboard.
  • Watermelon: Low in calories and high in water, watermelon is a great summertime snack. Packed with vitamins A, B6, and C, your dog will have enough nutrients to keep his system happy. Just remove the rind and seeds to prevent the risk of an intestinal blockage, and your dog will be fine. 
  • Edamame: High in protein while being low in fat and carbs, Edamame is one of the best vegetables you can give your dog. Omega-3 found in edamame will keep your dog’s mind sharp and coat shiny. Just remember not to add any artificial flavorings or even salt to your dog’s portion when you serve it. 

Conclusion: So, Can My Dog Eat Blueberries?

Golden Retriever cant wait with the blueberries
An excited Golden Retriever can’t wait for the blueberries – Image source

Yes, in moderation. Blueberries shouldn’t make up a large portion of your dog’s diet, but they can be given as treats since they are highly nutritional. 

A powerful berry filled with antioxidants, the blueberry can strengthen your dog’s immunity, improve digestion, and also prevent cognitive deterioration when given sparingly. 

Before giving your dog blueberries, you should check with your veterinarian if they have any pre-existing conditions that may be triggered by excessive fiber or even vitamin C.

When introducing new food to your dog, always keep a lookout for any adverse reactions

Have you given your dog blueberries? Do they like them? If you have a special blueberry recipe that your dogs enjoy, tell us all about it in the comment below.

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