Blueberries are not only sweet and delicious but are also among the healthiest fruits. Many dog parents have a question – can dogs eat blueberries, and if so, what are the health benefits, and how to safely add them to their diets.
Read on to find out more about the benefits of blueberries for dogs and how to feed them to your pup safely.
Blueberries for dogs – what are the health benefits?
Blueberries are commonly referred to as superfoods, as they are rich in essential nutrients and have multiple health benefits for humans and dogs alike.
The blueberry contains fiber, Vitamins C and K, Manganese and other essential nutrients, phytochemicals, anthocyanins, and antioxidants.
At the same time, they contain 85% water and are low in calories, making them an excellent healthy treat for dogs on a diet.
Here are some of the health benefits of giving moderate amounts of blueberries to your dog on occasion:
The vitamins in blueberries help support the body’s functioning, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and help improve the quality of the pup’s skin, coat, bone density, nerves, and muscles.
The minerals in the blueberries are essential for supporting the healthy growth of the bones and the proper absorption of vital vitamins by the body.
The phytochemicals in blueberries are highly efficient in reducing inflammation caused by chronic conditions and even fighting some types of cancers in dogs.
The antioxidants in these berries help slow down cell aging and fight the free radicals which cause damage to the cells and molecules in the body of the canine.
The antioxidants contained in blueberries can help for faster recovery after vigorous exercise, which is great news for active and working dogs and can help prevent problems with the joints and mobility as they become older.
Some studies suggest that antioxidants can help reduce the cognitive dysfunction and aging of senior dogs.
The anthocyanins in the blueberries are the substances that make these berries blue and purple in color. They are known to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease or arthritis, and even cancer in dogs.
So, overall, blueberries are among the best fresh fruits and among the most beneficial natural treats to feed your dog.
Are blueberries safe for dogs?
As with any new human food and plant-based food you are planning on adding to your dog’s diet, you should consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog blueberries.
But in most cases, blueberries are safe for pups if they are given in moderation and without added sugar or other harmful additives.
You can serve your dog fresh, dried, frozen, or pureed blueberries as separate treats or as a topper to their dog food.
These berries contain a mere 84 calories per cup, so they are safe for overweight and diabetic pups if your vet gives you an OK for your specific dog.
Related: What Berries Can Dogs Eat?
How many blueberries can a dog eat safely?
As with any other treat, including vegetables and fruits, portion size is essential for the dog’s safety and well-being.
The treats should comprise up to 10% of the daily caloric value recommended for your dog and should be given on occasion rather than on a daily basis or a substitution for the dog’s main meals.
So, the number of blueberries you can safely give to your dog depends on its size, weight, and the number of calories it should eat per day. A small-sized dog could probably eat about ten blueberries safely, while large and giant dogs can tolerate much larger quantities of these delicious berries.
Keep in mind that if your pup tends to swallow its treats quickly and without chewing them properly, eating too many blueberries at once can cause choking or digestive problems.
If you have a blueberry bush in your garden, make sure you keep your dog away from them if you treat them with potentially dangerous toxic pesticides and insecticides, or stop spraying them with these chemicals for the safety of your pet.
Please note that while allergies or intolerances to blueberries among dogs are relatively rare, you should introduce the berries to your dog by starting with a small amount and watching for any negative reactions before adding blueberries to its regular diet plan.
If there are symptoms such as digestive problems, sneezing, coughing, swelling, itching, and others, stop feeding the dog with the blueberries immediately and contact your vet for advice.
Related: 25 Best Dog Foods of 2023
Are blueberry muffins safe for dogs?
If the blueberry muffins are not explicitly prepared with a dog-friendly recipe, then feeding your pup with them is not recommended. The blueberry muffins baked for human consumption contain some ingredients which can cause stomach upsets, intolerances, and weight gain in dogs.
How should the blueberries be served to dogs?
Fresh blueberries are among the best and most common ways to give your pup some fresh and nutrient-rich fruits. Since it is soft, it is not a choking hazard to most dogs. Remember to soak or rinse them with water thoroughly and inspect the berries for mold before feeding them to your pup.
Frozen blueberries are delicious fresh treats for the hot summer days for your dog, but they are harder when frozen, and thus there is a higher risk of choking, especially for small-sized dogs and for larger dogs which are each a large quantity at once without chewing it. Remember to offer the frozen blueberries individually and monitor your pup.
Mashed or pureed blueberries are a superb and safe way to add antioxidant-rich berries to your dog’s diet. You can pour the mashed berries on top of the dog food and add some other healthy berries to the puree for added health benefits as well.
You can add the pureed blueberries in plain yogurt or coconut water before serving them to the dog.
The other ways to serve the blueberries to your pup are in dried form or in the form of healthy smoothies combined with other healthy and dog-friendly fruits like watermelons, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, or cranberries.
So, if you are asking yourself whether dogs can eat blueberries, then the answer is yes (unless your pup has a sensitivity or allergy to them).
You should wash them and serve them in suitable portions for your dog’s size and age and in accordance with its daily healthy recommended diet plan.