By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
Blueberries are one of the most popular snacks in America. They’re enjoyed raw or used in a variety of culinary creations. Aside from this, they may actually be healthy for you, as 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 may enjoy them as well? As it turns out, you can actually feed your dog blueberries, and they may actually gain the benefits as well! You’ve read that right — blueberries are safe and healthy for your dog, and even your cat.
Are Blueberries Good for Dogs?
There’s not much research as to 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.
Blueberries are also rich in other nutrients such as vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. But be sure to limit the servings, though, because blueberries contain sugar, which can negatively impact your dog’s health when consumed too much.4
Are Blueberries Safe for Dogs?
Blueberries are very much 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.5 The study cited earlier also doesn’t indicate any side effects.6 Remember, though, to give blueberries in moderation. Feeding too much right away may cause digestive upset.
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.7
Interestingly, another study notes that a mixture of grape and blueberry extracts is safe for dogs to consume.8 As you may know, grapes are one of the most poisonous foods a dog can consume, with research indicating that it can lead to renal failure.9,10,11,12 However, note that the study indicated the strict use of extracts, not the actual fruit that can cause health problems. Overall, the study notes the safety of feeding blueberries to your dog. Note however, that you should still not feed your dog grapes at all costs.
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 treats. Try this recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking, which requires only three ingredients:13
|✓ 1 cup homemade yogurt
||✓ 10 strawberries, diced
||✓ 20 blueberries
- Spread the strawberries and blueberries in a dog treat mold or ice cube tray.
- Spoon over the yogurt, filling every mold evenly.
- Tap the tray on the counter to ensure that there are no air bubbles and the mixture is equally distributed.
- Freeze for five hours or overnight.
- 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 PetMD notes that you can feed your feline friend blueberries.14 Cats are also less likely to feed on fruits compared to dogs, however, as felines lack sweet taste receptors.15
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. Just be sure to exercise moderation when feeding, as the sugar content may negatively affect your cat’s health.
Give Your Dog Blueberries, but in Moderation
Blueberries are not only healthy for you — they’re also healthy for your dog. If you wish to boost the health of your canine pal in a very easy and economical way, then blueberries are the ticket for you. Just make sure to watch the portions you give to them, as too much sugar may overpower the antioxidants and negate any benefits the fruits may have.
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.16 You’re better off giving your dog raw blueberries or homemade blueberry treats.
Q: Are dogs allergic to blueberries?
A: It’s possible that your dog may be allergic to blueberries. Symptoms such as ear inflammation or an itchy rear end are signs of food allergies in dogs.17 If they do appear, stop feeding your pet blueberries and visit your veterinarian right away.