Fruits are an ideal addition to your diet and your dog’s diet as well. Many edible fruits contain various minerals as well as nutrients, and the berry fruit is one of them.
What are berries? Berries are edible fruits that are small, pulpy and brightly colored. These fruits may taste sour or sweet yet juicy and have no stones or pits though there maybe seeds or pips. The delicious taste of the fruits is what makes it popular among people and pets as well.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black currants and red currants are the most common edible berries. Worldwide you can find many uses for berries like being used in pies, jams, preserves, or cakes. Berries are important commodities in the commercial market.
Berries have health benefits that your dog can use. However, not all berries are edible and safe for your pet. This article can give you some information about what types of berries that canines can eat. There is a list here of berries that are harmful to both dogs as well as humans. Knowing which fruit is which can go a long way in maintaining your pet’s good health and well-being.
Table of Contents
Berries That Is Suitable For Dogs
These fruits are indigo color and are native to North America though some blueberries have been introduced to Europe in the 1930s. The blueberry plant is a perennial flowering type and looks like prostate, erect shrubs. These plants are either 10 centimeters (or 3.9 inches) to 4 meters (or 13 feet) in size. Smaller blueberries usually grow in the wild and have the nickname of “lowbush berries.” Larger blueberries or “highbush” are the cultivated version. The fruit itself has a pale green color that turns to reddish-purple color. When the fruit is ripe, its color becomes dark purple. A blueberry is 5 to 16 millimeters (or 0.20 to 0.63 inches) in size and has a flared crown at its bottom part.
Are blueberries good for dogs? Indeed they are due to their low-calorie content along with various vitamins and nutrients present in them. Some antioxidants fight free radicals that tend to do molecular and cellular damage a dog’s body. Antioxidants also bolster the immune system of a canine. Phytochemicals fight off cancer that affects dogs. Finally, we have Vitamin C that improves a canine’s white blood functions and produces antibodies to combat toxins, bacteria, and viruses. These different nutrients are the reason why blueberries for dogs are healthy for them.
A relative of the raspberry plant the blackberry is an aggregate fruit in botanical terms since it is composed of drupelets. There are at least 375 species of the plant and is spread wide across the world particularly in Europe. These plants are often an important part of the ecology of some countries. Blackberries grow wild in Europe and for some people harvesting the fruit is a popular pastime. It is not just humans and dogs that find the blackberry delicious and edible. Certain types of caterpillars subsist on the fruit while the deer and other grazing animals eat the blackberry’s leaves.
Are blackberries good for dogs? Consider the fruits’ nutrients and minerals. We have Omega-3 essential fatty acid that keeps your pet’s coat and skin healthy. There is fiber that helps in the process of digestion and eases a canine’s bowel movement. Some antioxidants are responsible for mitigating the free radical’s damage to the cells. Vitamin A prevents dry, itchy skin and dull coat. Then there is Vitamin C which has anti-carcinogen properties that prevent cancer in canines. Vitamin K is another vitamin that helps canines by clotting their blood properly to avoid excessive bleeding. Finally, we have Vitamin E for improving the muscles and circulatory system. Having some blackberries for dogs to eat is a wise decision particularly as it affects the state of their health.
Around the world, people cultivate both the plant and fruit of this kind. The strawberry fruit (which happens to an aggregate accessory fruit, hence not a real botanical berry) has a bright red color. The fruit is also sweet to eat, juicy in texture and has a particular aroma. People consume strawberry in large quantities be it in the fresh or pre-prepared state. You can find the fruit as an ingredient in chocolates, preserves, milkshakes, fruit juices, pies and ice creams. The flavor and aroma are all put to good use in perfume, lip gloss, candy, hand sanitizers, etc.
Are strawberries good for dogs and if so what makes good for canines? The fruit contains lots of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, antioxidants, beta-carotene, phytochemicals, Vitamin B, and potassium. The strawberry has anti-inflammatory properties. The decrease of inflammatory effects in your pet helps it deal with joint pain, muscle as well as headaches. The best part of strawberries for dogs is that it is practically non-toxic. A berry will no trace of toxins is the ideal treat for all kinds of pets not just canines.
You can serve these berries as treats and snacks after the main meal. Don’t use the fruits above as a substitute for your pet’s main meals since it still needs nutrients and minerals not present in berries. Also, make sure that the fruits are clean before giving it out. Just wash the berries in water to remove any remaining pesticides or dirt.
Berries That Your Dog Cannot Eat
It is an important thing for you to know which of these fruits are not suitable for canines to eat. Berries not safe for dogs usually have substances that cause adverse effects. Read the list below to know which berry fruits you should avoid from giving your pet.
1. Holly berries
A plant belonging to the Aquifoliaceae family of flowering plants and has 400 to 600 species of its type. The plant is a climber, tree or shrub in form and it is widespread in subtropical as well as temperate regions. The leaves look glossy and simple with a spiny leaf margin. The fruit of the Holly is either red to brown to black in color. The holly berry also has green and yellow color though these colors are rare. Only in winter does the fruit become ripe. The holly can be an invasive plant since it crowds out other native species of plant.
You can easily recognize the Holly since this is a holiday décor during Christmas. The holly’s berries, however, are toxic to both humans and dogs. Holly berries have substances like cyanogens, saponins, and methylxanthines that can cause:
- Some internal injuries due to the spiny leaves.
2. Juniper berries
The juniper berry despite its name is not a real berry. The fruit is more akin to a seed cone, and various species of junipers produce this fruit. The cone has fleshy scales that merger with each other thus giving it is berry-like appearance. The ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans tend to use the juniper berry as medicines. For the Romans, they used the fruit as a substitute for long pepper and black pepper. European cooks have juniper berries as an ingredient in their cuisines
The fruit is useful, but the Juniperus Sabina species is poisonous due to its toxic compounds like ethereal oil. If your dog is using too much juniper berries in the long term, it can be unhealthy to its body. The adverse effects of the fruit are:
- Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
- Problems with the kidney
If there’s one plant whose fruits are unquestionably toxic, it would be the baneberry. Places with temperate climates (like North America for example) are ideal places for the plant to thrive. Baneberries are part of the Ranunculaceae family species of plants. Some of the species grow in North America like wild plants while other are indigenous to Europe. The fruits have white or glossy red appearance while the baneberries’ leaves have toothed edges.
The word “bani” which in Old Norse means slayer and it translates to “bane” in English, and there is a good reason why the fruit has the word “bane” to it. The fruit has glucoside and ranunculin compounds that cause poisoning. Additionally, the Baneberry tastes bitter to one’s tongue and has a high level of acidity that can irritate the mouth along with the throat. It takes at least as few as six baneberries to be fatal to a person or dog. Some signs of Baneberry poisoning are:
- Neurovascular and Cardiovascular symptoms though these two are rare
- Hematuria or presence of blood in a canine’s urine
- Blisters or skin irritation
4. Poke berries
This plant exclusively grows in the United States only. Specifically, it grows in the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, and eastern North America. Poke berries are fruits from the pokeweed plant. The plant has a large white taproot with simple leaves that grow on purplish or green to red stems. The berries are either purple or black, and the plant’s flowers are green to white. Pokeweed grows wild in pastures, areas that have been recently cleared, edge habitats like fencerows, waste places, and woodland openings. No farmer cultivates this plant due to its toxicity to humans as well as animals (like dogs for example) and the fact that it is a pest species. However, the poke berries are edible to songbirds like the brown thrasher, gray catbird, northern cardinal, northern mockingbird and some animals that are not affected by its toxins.
Ingesting the pokeberries can be lethal to a canine eventually. However, there are some warning signs or symptoms that your pet may have ingested some of it. Some examples of the symptoms are:
- Hypotension or low blood pressure
- Stomach and intestine inflammation
- Diarrhea, however, the poop have some blood in it
5. Mistletoe berries
The mistletoe should be a very familiar plant even at first glance to anyone who knows what it is since you can see this plant during Christmas as a decoration. Mistletoe is the common name for plants that obligate hemiparasitic in nature. These plants attach themselves to a shrub or a tree via their branches which the plant then absorbs nutrients and water from its host. European mistletoes have white waxy berries that cluster in two or six while the leaves are oval, evergreen and smooth at their edges. North America’s Eastern mistletoe looks the same as the European type, but its berry cluster is 10 or more and its leaves are broader as well as shorter.
Mistletoe berries contain lectins, polysaccharides, and alkaloids that have some adverse effects on a dog’s internal organs. Ingesting large amounts of mistletoe berries can cause:
- Gastrointestinal irritation that leads to drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea
- Sudden abnormal heart rate and hypotension
- Ataxia or walking drunk along with seizures.
A piece of advice about the feeding your pet strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Don’t overdo it. Yes, these fruits are healthy, but in excessive they become the opposite. Just moderate the amount you serve your dog and try not to give it the fruits all too often. It is advisable that the berries must be clean and serve it naturally without any sugar.
When it comes to protecting a canine from the poisonous berries all you need to go is keep an eye on it. When going for a walk in woods or pasture keep a tight rein on your dog when those kinds of plants are nearby. As for the ornamental berry plants, you just need to keep them out of your pet’s reach. Despite your precautions, your dog will get sick from overeating or poisoning. When that’s the case, I recommend that you take your pet to a veterinarian right away. Quick treatment of your dog’s problems will spare you and it from a lot of grief later on.
Well, you now know which berries are safe for your canine’s health and which fruits to avoid feeding to it. So go ahead buy some blueberries, blackberries or strawberries. Just make sure the berries are fresh as well as safe to eat, and your dog will enjoy eating them.