What foods are good for dogs? And which ones are bad for dogs? There’s a lot of misinformation out there about which “human foods” are safe to feed to your dog. Today, the question is: Can dogs eat blueberries safely?
When it comes to the almighty blueberry, there’s good news: your dog can have blueberries and they are totally safe (save for any individual allergies).1
Just as with any kind of “extras” in your pooch’s diet, you want to serve everything in moderation. When fed the right amount, blueberries can have some wonderful benefits for dogs.
So, without further ado, let’s dig right into all you need to know about feeding blueberries to your best friend.
Blueberry Benefits for Dogs
Blueberries contain a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that make them just as good for your pooch as they are for you. Dogs who have blueberries in moderation may experience some great health benefits.
Let’s go over some of the components that make this fruit so beneficial to dog health:
Antioxidants can help prevent oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the environment. This is important for your pup’s immune system and in the fight against everything from minor illnesses to the prevention of serious diseases and disorders. Specific studies with sled dogs have even suggested that dogs given blueberries when exercising may be able to better fight off oxidative damage than those fed a traditional diet.2
So, if you have a particularly active dog that engages in intense exercise, you may want to run this by your vet. Find out the appropriate amount of blueberries to feed your active dog to help keep them at their healthiest.
Fiber is an important part of a dog’s diet. It plays an important role in digestion, especially in the lower digestive tract. Dietary fibers help to aid bowel movements and aid in laxation (loosening of the stool for easier passage). Studies have suggested that fiber consumption from complex carbohydrates can protect against oxidative stress and cardiovascular issues in dogs. Other fiber sources (like blueberries) have shown to be safe and have the same nutraceutical potential as the ones from complex carbs.3
Phytochemicals are compounds that occur naturally in plants. These compounds have a high antioxidant content. One kind of phytochemical, polyphenols, affects cellular pathways that are involved in neurological disorders and other chronic diseases. They are also being studied for their potential to benefit memory.
One study showed significant cognitive improvement, particularly with memory functions, in a group of dogs given an extract containing polyphenols from blueberries. This is due to their great ability to fight oxidative stress.4
Blueberries have a pretty impressive amount of Vitamin C (about 14 mg per cup). While healthy dogs can naturally produce Vitamin C in their bodies (unlike humans), supplementation can be beneficial for sick or very stressed dogs. Some online literature implies that dogs require extra Vitamin C from a source like blueberries, but this is simply not the case.5 Certain breeds have even displayed negative effects from too much Vitamin C supplementation.6 As noted above, moderation is key with any “extras” that your dog is getting. Blueberries might be an ideal snack or treat when your dog is feeling under the weather.
Other Vitamins and Nutrients
The nutrients listed above don’t even come close to including all the nutritious vitamins, minerals, and other components found in blueberries. Again, when asking can dogs eat blueberries, you now know the answer is yes and this fruit can be very beneficial to your dog. But they have even more nutrients than listed above.
Here is a comprehensive list of the nutritional content of 100 grams (about 1 cup) of blueberries as denoted by the USDA:
|Energy: 46 kcal||Total fiber: 3.6 g||Potassium: 80 mg|
|Water: 87.32 g||Calcium: 8 mg||Sodium: 2 mg|
|Protein: 0.46 g||Folate: 1 μg||Zinc: 0.09 mg|
|Total Fat: 0.13 g||Iron: 0.23 mg||Vitamin A: 3 μg|
|Carbohydrates: 11.97 g||Magnesium: 6 mg||Vitamin C: 14 mg|
|Total sugars: 4.27 g||Phosphorus: 11 mg||Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 0.012 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 0.02 mg||Vitamin B3 (niacin): 0.1 mg||Vitamin B6: 0.056 mg|
|Vitamin E: 1.32 mg||Vitamin K: 5 μg7|
So, Can Dogs Eat Blueberries? Yes!
Now you can feel more confident about the question “can dogs eat blueberries” and about sharing a snack with them. It’s never a bad idea to talk to your vet first. And always get them to the vet if they exhibit any signs of a reaction or potential food poisoning. Most likely, your pooch will love having this treat and can benefit greatly from the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants ingested when they have blueberries.
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