Can Dogs Eat Cherries?

A bowl of cherries

Dogs have always been intrigued by people food. Although some foods are safe for our pups to eat, others can cause anything from an upset stomach to fatal poisoning.

Can dogs eat cherries? The short answer is no, but it’s more complicated than that. Purina’s experts explain why this summer fruit isn’t good for dogs and offer safer alternatives to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Can Dogs Have Cherries?

The flesh of a cherry is safe for dogs to eat. Cherries contain vitamins A and C, fibre and antioxidants, which are good for dogs. Unfortunately, the cherry flesh could cause an upset stomach.

What’s worse is the cherry pit, stem and leaves all contain cyanide. This is toxic to dogs if ingested in large enough quantities. A single cherry pit and stem often isn’t enough to cause cyanide poisoning, but there’s no reason to take the risk. Additionally, if ingested, the pits can create an intestinal obstruction.

Are There Any Safe Cherries for Dogs?

There are many different types of cherries out there, including bing, rainier, black and maraschino. Although maraschino cherries don’t have a pit, they contain a lot of sugar, which isn’t good for dogs. “Generally, it isn’t a good idea to offer your dog any canned fruits, as they often have added sugars or preservatives,” says Purina Senior Nutritionist Jan Dempsey. Excess sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity, digestive upset and even cavities.

You could feed your dog a fresh cherry, but you’d have to remove the pit, stem, and leaves first. That’s a lot of work, considering your dog won’t eat enough to see any benefits from this fruit.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Whole Cherry

Accidents happen, so it’s not unreasonable to think your dog might eat a whole cherry (or more). Fortunately, one or two cherries—pit and all—aren’t likely to cause him harm. He may have a mild reaction and have an upset stomach or diarrhea.

Even if he only eats one or two cherries, watch for signs of intestinal blockage, such as constipation, decreased appetite and vomiting. An intestinal blockage from a single cherry pit is more likely to affect a small dog, but you should watch large dogs, too.

If your dog ate a handful or more of cherries, watch him for signs of cyanide poisoning, which include trouble breathing, red gums and dilated pupils. Whether he shows any symptoms or not, please call your veterinarian for further instruction.

Are There Safer Alternatives?

Yes, there are plenty of other fresh fruits and berries your dog can eat without the above risks. Blueberries are a great choice, as are peeled and pitted mangoes and apples without the core and seeds.

Of course, you can always stick with traditional dog treats, which your pup will probably find just as exciting and tasty as fresh fruit. Explore all our expert answers, safety tips, and advice to keep your dog healthy and happy.

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