Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

Written by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
safe for pets
Dog Eating Blueberries

Story at-a-glance -

  • Blueberries are very safe for dogs to consume. Major kennel groups such as the American Kennel Club recognize the benefits as well as the safety of feeding blueberries to your dogs
  • Blueberries are rich in nutrients such as vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium
  • Cats are less likely to feed on fruits compared to dogs, as felines lack sweet taste receptors, but it’s completely safe if your cat wants to eat them
  • Make sure to watch the portions you give to your pet, as too many fruits can cause gastrointestinal upset
 

Blueberries are one of the most popular fresh food snacks in America. They’re enjoyed raw or used in a variety of culinary creations. The good news is blueberries are also super healthy to eat. Research has shown that they are high in antioxidants that may help fight disease.1,2,3

No doubt you enjoy a handful of blueberries every now and then, but have you ever wondered if your dog might enjoy them as well? As it turns out, you can actually feed your dog blueberries. They are safe and healthy for your dog, and even your cat. They have the same health benefits for pets, as well!

Are Blueberries Good for Dogs?

There’s not much research detailing how blueberries can benefit dogs, but the few published findings posit promising results. In one example published in the journal Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, researchers examined the effects of blueberries in sled dogs after exercise. They noted that when supplemented with the berries, the dogs exhibited significantly higher levels of antioxidants, suggesting that blueberries may help protect against exercise-induced oxidative damage.4

In another animal study, blueberries exhibited anti-inflammatory properties in rats affected with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers noted that biological inflammatory markers were lower once blueberries were consumed, with results suggesting that blueberries may help restore neurotransmitter imbalances.5

Blueberries are also rich in other nutrients such as vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.6

Are Blueberries Safe for Dogs?

Blueberries are very safe for dogs to consume. Major kennel groups such as the American Kennel Club recognize the benefits as well as the safety of feeding blueberries to your dogs.7 The study cited earlier also doesn’t indicate any side effects.8 Don’t forget the importance of feeding your dog blueberries in moderation. Feeding too much right away may cause digestive upset.

Interestingly, another study notes that a mixture of grape and blueberry extracts is safe for dogs to consume.9 As you may know, grapes should not be fed to pets, with research indicating that it can lead to renal failure.10,11,12 However, the study indicated the strict use of fruit extracts, not the actual fruit. Overall, the study notes the safety of feeding blueberry extract to your dog, but you should still avoid feeding your dog grapes.

So yes, blueberries are safe for pets! We recommend feeding organic blueberries to avoid the health risks associated with consuming pesticides.

Make Your Own Blueberry Dog Treats

Your dog may enjoy eating raw blueberries, but they may eventually get tired of it. You can spice things up by incorporating these fruits into your homemade healthy dog treats. Try this recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking, which requires only three ingredients:13

Ingredients:

1 cup homemade yogurt 10 strawberries, diced 20 blueberries

Procedures:

  1. Spread the strawberries and blueberries in a dog treat mold or ice cube tray.
  2. Spoon over the yogurt, filling every mold evenly.
  3. Tap the tray on the counter to ensure that there are no air bubbles and the mixture is equally distributed.
  4. Freeze for five hours or overnight.
  5. Once frozen, tap the tray on the counter to release the treats.

Note: The treats can last in the freezer for three months.

Another delicious variation is this Frozen Coconut Oil and Berry Pet Treats. Aside from blueberries, it also uses raspberries and blackberries to make a cooling treat that’s perfect for hot days.  

Are Blueberries Bad for Cats?

There’s very little data regarding whether blueberries are safe for cats, but Poison Control does not list them as a food to avoid. Cats are less likely to eat fruits, compared to dogs, as felines lack sweet taste receptors.14 Even so, the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in blueberries may have the same benefits on cats as they may for dogs. So if your cat happens to like this fruit, go ahead and let them enjoy it.

Give Your Dog Blueberries, but in Moderation

Blueberries are not only healthy for you — they’re also healthy for your dog. If you want to boost the health of your canine pal by giving whole foods, then blueberries are the ticket for you. Just make sure to watch the portions you give to them, as too many can cause digestive upset. I suggest my clients to give no more than a blueberry per pound of bodyweight a day, so a 10-pound dog can have up to 10 blueberries a day.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blueberries for Dogs

Q: Can dogs eat blueberry muffins?

A: No, because regular muffins contain other ingredients that are unhealthy for your pet, such as flour and sugar.15 You’re better off giving your dog raw blueberries or homemade blueberry treats.