Let’s start by addressing the juicy blue elephant in the room. Can your pup eat blueberries?
Short answer: Yes! Go ahead and share that carton of sweetness with your Bichon, because blueberries are a safe and nutritious treat for your pet. They don’t call it a superfood for nothing.
In addition to being healthy, blueberries are bite-sized by design, need absolutely no prep work, and most importantly—dogs can’t get enough of them. Can you really blame them?
Next to strawberries, blueberries are the most popular berry in the U.S. In the last 20 years, America has produced 500 million pounds of blueberries. That’s a lot of cobbler.
We’ll go through some of the benefits of feeding your dog blueberries as well as some tips for incorporating blueberries into your pup’s balanced diet.
What are the benefits of feeding your dog blueberries?
Ok, pet parents, put on your science caps.
Blueberries are a superfood, for humans and canines alike. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants called flavanoids, with a particular type of flavanoid, anthocyanins, responsible for many of the health benefits.
Antioxidants reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and protect your furry friend from free radicals.
But what does that mean, exactly? Free radicals are uncharged molecules lurking in the air, as well as in your dog’s water and food, that can prevent their cells from reproducing the way that they should.
When your dog is exposed to too many free radicals, they’re more likely to develop health issues like heart disease and cancer. BTW, the same is true for humans. Woof.
Blueberries are jam-packed (no pun intended) with these other vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C. Provides all the benefits of other antioxidants, while also supporting your dog’s energy, and providing relief for dogs that suffer from UTIs.
- Vitamin K. Supports your dog’s blood health.
- Iron. Sustains circulatory health.
- Manganese/magnesium. Plays a key role in energy production on the cellular level, as well as on bone and joint health.
- Fiber. Keeps your dog’s digestion moving along.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Dogs should only eat fresh blueberries, or frozen and dried varieties without additional sweeteners. You should definitely not feed your dog blueberry candies, for example, as they are loaded with sugar and preservatives that are bad for dogs. Some healthy-seeming dried fruits can also come with added sugar.
How many blueberries can I feed my dog?
Like with all things in life, moderation is the name of the game. Have you ever gotten your hands on a family-sized pack of gorgeous blueberries and scarfed the whole thing down, only to regret it a couple hours later? Same.
When it comes to your pup, fresh or frozen blueberries should be considered a treat, and should not replace their daily serving of dog food. Depending on your dog’s size, a small handful of ten blueberries, give or take, is probably fine as a healthy snack—or you can spread them out as small training treats.
Whenever you give your dog a new food, start small and monitor their behavior and poop to make sure they don’t get an upset stomach. (Here’s more light reading on what your dog’s poop might be saying about their health.)
Are blueberries used in dog food?
They sure are.
According to our favorite vet, Dr. Liff, an ideal dog diet breaks down in the following way:
- 20-25% protein.
- 14% fat.
- 61-66% carbohydrates.
Blueberries are a nutrient-dense, low-calorie, delicious carbohydrate to incorporate in a dog’s diet, which is no surprise why dog food companies (and the scientists and vets who work there) include blueberries in their formulas.
Some dog foods and treats that include blueberries include:
- FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula
- Purina Beneful Playful Life
- Farmina Natural & Delicious Canine Formula
- Carnilove Salmon and Blueberry for puppies
- Fromm Crunchy O’s Blueberry Blasts
- Nutro Natural Biscuit Dog Treats
How should I prepare blueberries for my dog?
For small dogs, blueberries could be a choking hazard—so you might want to slice them in half before serving them up to your Chihuahua. No matter who’s eating them, blueberries should get a thorough rinse before eating, to wash away any nasty pesticides.
Want to DIY some healthy blueberry treats for your pup? Check out the video below, which shows you how you can make delicious frozen yogurt treats for your pup. If you play your cards right, maybe Fido will share.
What other fruits can dogs eat?
Besides blueberries, there are lots of other fruits and “people foods” that are safe and healthy for dogs to eat.
For example, you’re welcome to split a banana, apple, kiwi, pineapple, or handful of strawberries with your pup! But be sure to never feed your dog cherries, grapes, or raisins, as they are poisonous to canines. Read up on more toxic foods for dogs to keep your pooch out of harm’s way.
If your dog eats something they shouldn’t it might be a good idea to apply for Lemonade pet insurance for dogs, to help take the bite out of vet bills.