Can Dogs Eat Cherries? Is This Delicious Summer Fruit Safe?
It’s cherry season! And whilst that may mean that we can stain our fingers and lips with these delicious summer fruits it also means we need to keep an extra eye on our curious pups. Can dogs eat cherries? In short, the answer is no. Dogs shouldn’t eat cherries – but the reason why might surprise you! Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your dog cherries, cherry-flavored foods, and maraschino cherries, (or not)!
Why Are Cherries Bad for Dogs?
Cherry flesh itself isn’t actually bad for pups. It contains plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which can be good for your doggo. Having said that, if your dog eats too much cherry fruit, it’s likely they’ll have an upset stomach or some kind of digestive reaction.
The real reason we shouldn’t feed our dogs cherries is that cherry pits, stems, and leaves contain cyanide. Yes, cyanide. Cyanide poisoning can be extremely serious and even life-threatening which is why most experts warn owners off feeding their dogs cherries altogether. Other fruits, such as peaches, are safe to feed your pup but only if you remove the stone. These stones also contain cyanide.
If you’re wanting to feed your pup a healthy and safe summer fruit, why not try something like watermelon, cucumber or blueberries. These are versatile and there’s no risk attached when given in moderation!
Can Dogs Eat Maraschino Cherries or Cherry Flavored Foods?
Maraschino cherries are those bright pink cherries that you often find in desserts or cocktails. They’re usually served without the cherry pit or stem and so (in theory) shouldn’t be too much of a problem for your doggo if they happen to steal one off your kitchen counter.
The problem with glacé cherries is that they contain a lot of sugar and sometimes artificial coloring which isn’t good for your pup. Dogs don’t need extra sugar or colorings in their diet which is why you should avoid feeding them these kinds of cherries too.
The same goes for food with cherry flavoring. Even if you think the food is safe for dogs, the likelihood is that it’s packed full of artificial extras and sugar which your dog shouldn’t be eating.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Eats Cherries?
It’s quite possible that nothing will happen if your dog eats a few cherries – even if it’s the whole cherry. One or two cherries may cause a slight upset in your dog’s digestive tract but are unlikely to do anything more. You should, however, monitor your pup if you’ve seen that they’ve eaten cherries.
If you have a smaller dog breed, eating cherry pits may also cause an intestinal blockage which could be serious. Keep an eye on your pup and take them to the vet immediately if you believe them to be in any pain.
The real risk comes when they eat a lot of cherries in one go. Not only could the cherry pits cause blockages but your dog could also suffer from cyanide poisoning. The symptoms of cyanide poisoning include:
- Dilated pupils
- Problems breathing
- Muscle spasms
- Watery eyes
- Bright red gums
If you suspect that your pup has cyanide poisoning take them to the vet straight away.
What Are Some Healthier Alternatives to Cherries?
We tend to eat more delicious fresh fruit in Summer, so it’s only natural we want to share them with our pets too. Whilst you shouldn’t feed cherries to your dog, there are a few fruits that are safe for doggos to eat in moderation. Apple, for example, is a great and healthy snack for pups to eat (when the core and pips are removed). Peach, mango, and cranberries are also yummy fruits that are safe for dogs to eat. Why not try whizzing them up into a smoothie and freezing it inside a toy (such as this very cute pineapple toy). Your pup will thank you on a hot summer day!
Some pet owners prefer to order their dog food from professionals to remove any risk. If you’d prefer to do this but still feed your dog lots of fresh fruit and veggies you could try fresh dog food. It’s often delivered straight to your door and you can see real chunks of fresh fruit in many of the meals!
So, Can Dogs Eat Cherries?
No, it’s best not to feed your dog cherries. A little of the cherry flesh is unlikely to cause any problems but the pit, stem, and leaves contain cyanide which is potentially lethal. The good news is that if your pup happens to eat a whole cherry they’re unlikely to suffer anything too serious – the problem will come when they eat a lot. It’s best, however, to just not take the risk and feed them another yummy fruit as a treat instead.