Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
Can dogs eat blueberries or are they toxic? Yes you bet they can though their are some risks you need to be aware of. We a close look at blueberries to find out more about these delicious and healthy berries which are often called a superfood.
What Are Blueberries?
Blueberries as the name suggests are small blue berries that offer we humans lots of health benefits. For example they contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are natural colorants which give fruits and vegetables their blue, purple and red appearance. Research suggests these colorants improves cognitive and memory function. Another study suggested blueberry supplements might help improve the memory in older people.
Why Are Blueberries So Popular?
Blueberries are found on every supermarket shelf because they are so popular. Why? Well because they are delicious, nutritious and offer many health boosting benefits.
Blueberries are the tastiest of treats. So tasty that people often eat them with yogurt or cereals for breakfast. They are also excellent when used in pies, ice cream, muffins, cheesecake and many, many more desserts. I can’t think of any sweet item of food that cannot be enhanced with the addition of these delicious berries. And to crown it all blueberries are extremely good for your health!
Have you noticed a pair of pleading, canine eyes looking up at you as you are eating these little berries for breakfast with your favourite cereal? And have you thought of offering some to your best friend but don’t know if they’re good for them?
By the end of this article you will know all about the health benefits of blueberries for you and your best friend.
Blueberries Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease And Cancer
Blueberries contain polyphenols which are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help inhibit oxidative stress and free radicals that cause cell damage. Studies indicate that antioxidants may inhibit tumor growth, decrease inflammation in the body, and help ward off or slow down esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate, and colon cancers. Blueberries also contain folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. This can prevent the formation of cancer cells due to mutations in the DNA.
According to another study blueberry polyphenols may help reduce high blood pressure and offer protection against heart disease. This means they protect against strokes and heart attacks.
Blueberries Health Benefits Infographic
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries Safely?
Yes they can! Because blueberries are not toxic, taste great and are as good for your dog’s health as they are for yours. You do need to check with your vet first to make sure you can give them to your dog.
Your vet will be able to suggest if it’s ok to give them to your dog. They will take into account the size, weight and general health of your dog and advise the amount it’s safe to serve.
You should regard blueberries as an occasional treat for your dog to ensure they remain at a healthy weight.
Are Blueberries Good For Dogs?
Blueberries are choc full of minerals and vitamins and are the number one fruit for antioxidants!
And if that isn’t a good enough reason to add them to your dog’s diet blueberries contain anthocyanins and phytochemicals.
They are also low in calories and have a high fibre content. So all in all they are a delicious, nutritious treat for your dog!
What Do Blueberries Contain?
For the scientists among you who want to know exactly what blueberries contain here’s the low down……
Anthocyanins: These give blueberries their blue color of blueberries and together with the antioxidants help to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants work against free-radicals that damage cells and molecules, enabling us to slow the aging process. Thus they are a key component of you and your dog’s diet. Blueberries have a reputation as one of the best foods for antioxidants content.
Antioxidants reduce the aging process or cognitive dysfunction in senior dogs according to scientific studies.
A study about antioxidants and cellular damage in sled dogs after strenuous exercise discovered that by including blueberries in their food they recovered more quickly. This means that adding blueberries to the diets of working dogs they benefit from improved stamina.
Minerals: Blueberries are rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. These minerals support bone growth and improve the body’s ability to utilize minerals and vitamins.
Phytochemicals: Various studies show that this chemical compound found in plants including blueberries are as good for dogs as they are for humans. Phytochemicals fight cancer and reduce inflammation in chronic diseases.
Vitamins: Blueberries contain vitamin A, C, and K which help to boost your dog’s immune system. They are also responsible for the health of your dog’s nerves, muscles, coat and skin, increasing bone density and reducing inflammation.
Blueberries are so good for dogs they are often used in dog food.
Are There Any Risks To Feeding Your Dog Blueberries?
Blueberries contain sugar. This means that you should only give them to your dog as an occasional treat otherwise they may put on weight and suffer from tooth decay. Also stomach upsets are a potential risk if you give your dog too many.
Lastly because of their small size they could present a choking hazard.
What’s The Best Way To Serve Blueberries To Your Dog?
First and foremost you need to seek your vet’s guidance before giving your dog blueberries. They’ll work out the safe amount of blueberries to give your dog based on your dog’s weight, general health etc.
With your vet’s guidance, you can give your dog the recommended amount of blueberries either fresh or frozen which your dog is sure to appreciate on a warm day.
Vet’s generally recommend that no more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calories come from treats. Therefore you need to make sure that all treats are taken into account in the 10% including blueberries.
Give your dog one blueberry at a time as a delicious treat or add a few to their normal food.
How To Grow Your Own Blueberries
Blueberries are quite expensive and blueberries grown organically are often twice the price of those not grown organically. If you have the space why not try growing them in your own garden.
Blueberries can be grown easily without the use of pesticides provided they are grown in acidic soil and in areas with at least 140 frost-free days per year.
For more information on how to grow blueberries please check out the following links:
RHS (Royal Horticultural Society)