Whether you like foraging, growing or buying them, you probably love blackberries for their taste and freshness and for being nutritional powerhouses.
But while you enjoy them as snacks, smoothies, or jams, the question is – are they as healthy and good for our four-legged friends too?
The good news is that in most cases, blackberries, just like strawberries and blueberries, are excellent healthy treats for pups.
Read on for the answer to the questions: Can dogs eat blackberries, and the health benefits and potential risks of feeding dogs with these juicy fruits.
More About Blackberries
These edible fruits come in different variations from the Rubus genus. The most popular types are European and American blackberries.
Many people have trouble distinguishing between them and the visually similar raspberries. The easiest way to distinguish the two fruits is when you pick them. When you pick the blackberry, its core (the torus) remains intact in the fruit. With raspberries, the core remains on the bush, and the fruits are hollow.
But when it comes to dogs, you should not worry about mistaking the two because blackberries and raspberries are safe and can be healthy for canines and you.
There are some hybrids, such as loganberries, which too are packed with nutrients and are safe for pups.
Overall, blackberries are rich in essential nutrients and have lower sugar content than other fruits, making them a perfect choice for delicious dog snacks.
What Are The Health Benefits of Blackberries for Dogs?
The blackberry is a preferred superfood and is considered a nutritious powerhouse. It may be a small fruit, but it is packed with vital nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, Omega 3 and 6, minerals, and fibers. All of these are essential and beneficial for both humans and dogs.
Here are the benefits of eating blackberries and their primary nutrients worth noting:
Vitamins A and C – These essential vitamins will help support the dog’s eye health and vision. They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The two vitamins also ensure the proper breakdown of carbohydrates by the body.
Vitamin K – This is another essential vitamin that ensures proper blood clotting, which is crucial for wound and bone healing and the prevention of excessive bleeding during heat, surgery, or injuries.
Minerals – These fruits contain various trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc. They promote the functioning of all body systems and support cell, muscle, ligament, bone, teeth growth, and strength.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids – These healthy fatty acids are found in the seeds of the fruits. They will help improve the health of your dog’s skin and make its coat shiny. Plus, they promote better heart and cognitive health and function.
Antioxidants – Like other purple, red and blue fruits, blackberries contain anthocyanins. These powerful antioxidants help reduce the oxidative damage of the dog’s cells from the free radicals. These antioxidants also have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and support the immune system and cognitive function, especially in senior dogs.
Fiber – The fruits and seeds contain insoluble fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system and can resolve problems with constipation in pups. Fiber also helps boost the immune system.
Carbohydrates – Blackberries, like other fruits, do contain fructose, sucrose, and glucose as simple carbs. But the fiber in them makes up for half of their total carbs, meaning that the sugar content is much lower than in other fruits.
Few calories – The blackberry is a low-calorie fruit. A cup of them contains a mere 62 calories, making the fruit a perfect treat for pups that are overweight or suffer from diabetes.
What Are The Risks Of Giving Blackberries To Your Dog?
The fresh blackberry itself is a healthy snack for canines. But when given as a treat on occasion.
Just like with any other fruit which is high in fiber, eating too many blackberries can lead to digestive problems. Some of the adverse effects include diarrhea, gas, vomiting, and indigestion in dogs.
So, give your pup only a few of them at a time as occasional snacks.
Another potential risk comes from the dog swallowing many blackberries, which can be a choking hazard or can cause an obstruction. This is especially true for small dogs and for pups who like to swallow their food without chewing.
Related: What Berries Can Dogs Eat?
If you are rewarding a small pup with blackberries, cut them into manageable pieces to prevent such risks.
If your pet is a gulper, you should cut the berries or feed them one by one to prevent blockage or choking.
There is evidence that blackberries contain minuscule trace amounts of Xylitol. This is a sweetener and sugar substitute that is highly toxic to dogs. So, a huge quantity of blackberries consumed by a small dog can cause xylitol poisoning, leading to hypoglycemia and liver damage if not treated in time.
Plus, you should avoid cooked or processed blackberries containing added sugar, sweeteners, seasoning, and other harmful or potentially dangerous ingredients for canines.
Dog parents should remember that while blackberries are safe and can be suitable for dogs, not all other berries, especially some found in the wild, are safe for dogs. So, monitor your furry friend when you are in the wilderness and berries are growing around.
Some berries like mistletoe, holly, or juniper berries can be toxic for canines!
Start by introducing the new food in tiny amounts and watch for adverse reactions.
Also, remember that the healthy treats (including blackberries) should be no more than 10% of your pup’s total recommended daily caloric intake. The main 90% should come from a complete, healthy, and balanced diet from high-quality dog food.
What Are The Best Ways to Give Blackberries to My Dog?
It is preferable to serve blackberries fresh, without any added ingredients.
You can treat your pup to whole fruits or cut them into smaller pieces for smaller dogs.
Feed dogs that swallow the food without chewing with single pieces of cut blackberries at a time.
You can blend the blackberries with other healthy fruits and plants and make fresh smoothies for your pup.
Another way to add some healthy fruits to your dog’s diet is to make a small fruit salad with blackberries and other healthy fruits for dogs, such as apples, peaches, bananas, or strawberries. You can add a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt for added freshness.
In the summer, you can freeze some blackberries and serve them as a refreshing snack to your four-legged companion.
Or you can prepare homemade dog treats containing blackberries and other dog-friendly ingredients.
Final Verdict – Can Dogs Eat Blackberries
Yes, the blackberry is one of the healthiest fruits for canines. But only when served fresh, without added harmful ingredients, and in small portions.
Your furbaby can enjoy a few fresh blackberries as an occasional snack. These fruits are rich in essential nutrients, omega fatty acids, and fiber. At the same time, they have less sugar and fewer calories than other dog-friendly fruits.
Still, remember to talk to your veterinarian before proceeding to add blackberries to your pet’s diet.