Can dogs eat cherries?
Cherries are tasty, bright and cheerful fruits!
So it’s no surprise we’re tempted to share them with our dogs.
But is this actually a good idea?
Are cherries safe, toxic or a potential risk to our pets? let’s find out!
We all value a varied diet, so naturally we want this for our dogs.
And yummy, bite sized fruits seem right up their alley.
But can dogs eat cherries safely?
Sometimes, in our efforts to provide a balanced diet for our furry friends, we sometimes end up giving them the wrong thing.
So, are cherries okay for dogs? Are cherries safe for dogs? Or are cherries for dogs something that we are better off avoiding?
Can dogs eat cherries?
Can dogs eat cherries? Here’s the short answer – no!
Dogs cannot eat cherries.
Not only are these fruits completely different to what a dog would naturally eat, they are also quite dangerous.
Consumption of too many cherry pits could potentially lead to cyanide poisoning. That’s reason enough to steer clear of them entirely in my book.
It’s important to note that this can only happen if the stone is chewed up. Cherry stones have evolved to be swallowed by animals and passed in a different location. It’s the fruit’s way of hitching a ride.
A dog might chew up the pit in the cherry it’s eaten, but an intact pit can cause it’s own problems.
Ruminants, large herbivores like cows or goats, have digestive systems that often benefit from solid matter like pits and rocks traveling through them. Dogs, however, are not ruminants.
A cherry pit could cause a blockage that might spell a trip to the emergency vet.
Can puppies eat cherries? Absolutely not. Puppies will deal even worse than an adult dog with cyanide poisoning. We need to take even more care with puppies’ food than we do with adult dogs.
So what makes chewed up cherry pits so bad for dogs?
Are cherries poisonous to dogs?
So, how are cherries toxic to dogs? While the flesh of cherries is not poisonous to dogs, the pits certainly are.
The stones of red cherries contain 3.9 mg of amygdalin for every 1g. The amygdalin is metabolized into hydrogen cyanide in the stomach and gut.
So, can dogs eat black cherries? And can dogs eat bing cherries?
Although they do contain slightly less amygdalin, it’s still enough to generate a dangerous amount of hydrogen cyanide.
Cyanide is possibly the most well known poison in popular culture. The mere suggestion of it is enough to inspire dread in most of us.
Amygdalin, a cyanide generating chemical, is present in a lot of food in trace amounts.
Almonds, apple seeds and numerous other food products contain small amounts of it that could be dangerous if we consumed enough at once.
It is due to this wide distribution of cyanide that humans are fairly resistant to it. We would frequently supplement our hunter-gatherer diets by foraging seeds, berries and fruit.
Dogs do not have the benefit of such evolutionary pressures. This is because they don’t tend to eat fruit in the wild. So, it’s unsurprising that they’re among the least resistant animals when it comes to cyanide poisoning.
With that being said, cherry pits are still dangerous to humans. This usually isn’t an issue, as we tend to spit out the pits, but dogs have no such inclination.
So, if the nightmare ‘my dog ate a cherry’ situation occurs, it’s best to get to a vet as soon as possible.
One chewed cherry stone is less likely to cause harm than many, but it’s still potentially life threatening.
Different dogs will have different resistances to cyanide. You may not be sure exactly how many cherries your dog has chewed and eaten.
Symptoms of acute cyanide poisoning usually start 15-20 minutes after dogs eat whatever has poisoned them. They may seem excited and nervous to start with, and breathe rapidly. A poisoned dog might become incontinent, and they’ll sometimes vomit.
You may also notice that your dog’s pupils are dilated and has reddish gums.
If your dog has eaten cherry stones and is displaying these symptoms, then time is of the essence.
The majority of poisoned dogs will die within 2 hours of symptoms occurring. They will be unable to hold themselves up, often leading to convulsions and heart attacks.
Fortunately there is a range of antidote methods available to vets. So, if you can get your dog to them they stand a much better chance of surviving.
Are cherries bad for dogs?
Apart from this worrying toxic nature of the pits, cherries are bad for dogs. Although we have changed their appearance and behavior from their time as wolves, their stomachs have changed very little.
Dogs still thrive on high protein diets that would suit a wolf.
All of this means that dogs really have no need for fruit; the high sugar content can cause real problems.
Maraschino cherries, though unpitted, are loaded with sugar. These are not safe either. Nor are cherry flavored foods. These too are sugary and often filled with additives.
Excessive sugar can lead to obesity, often resulting in diabetes. There is no need to put our furry friends through this, as they get by just fine without fruit.
So are there any benefits at all to feeding cherries to dogs?
Are cherries good for dogs?
No, cherries are not good for dogs.
We, as humans, benefit from the array of vitamins present, Dogs, on the other hand, make many of these inside their bodies. Before humans domesticated wolves to turn them into the pets we love, they got by just fine on meat.
You should only supplement your dog’s food with extra vitamins when a vet has instructed you to. This may be in the case of a deficiency. Only a vet will be able to identify this. They will help you give the exact right amount to your pooch.
So, if the pit is the dangerous part, can dogs eat pitted cherries?
Can dogs eat cherries without pits?
So, we can see that cherries with pits are a bad things. But can dogs eat cherries without them?
Even without eating the cherry pits, dogs should still not be eating cherries. A pitted cherry is unlikely to cause immediate harm to your furry friend, but it certainly won’t be doing her any good.
We’ve mentioned how the high sugar content can cause weight gain and subsequent diabetes, but it’s also really bad for your dog’s teeth.
The bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on sugar left over from your dog’s food.
Dental issues won’t just put a dent in your wallet, they can cause serious pain.
Can dogs eat dried cherries?
But what about other types of cherries? Can dogs eat cherries when they’re dried out?
Dried fruit generally has much more concentrated amounts of sugar than its’ fresh counterparts. This compounds the health issues posed by other pitted cherries.
Although most dried cherries are pitted, the packaging usually warns you that some may remain.
This isn’t really a problem for humans, as we can identify the pit in our mouth and spit it out. A dog, however, might just chew it up with the rest, and we’ve already been very clear what that could result in.
The answer to can dogs eat cherries is no, in any form.
Can dogs eat other fruits
Even ‘safe’ fruit should be given in moderation as the sugar is bad for your dog’s teeth.
Sugar is also a risk factor for obesity, which puts your dog at risk of a number of serious diseases. Obesity can reduce your dog’s lifespan, and his quality of life.
However if you would like to give a small fruity treat now and then, we recommend checking out these guides to find out which fruits are safe for your dog. And how much fruit your dog can have.
- Can dogs eat pineapple?
- Is it safe to share tomatoes with your dog?
- Can dogs eat apples and other fruit
- Are bananas safe for your lab?
Can dogs have cherries?
For anyone still asking ‘can my dog eat cherries’: no, dogs cannot have cherries.
This is not the same as a food simply being unhealthy, cherries with pits can kill dogs. Dogs and cherries have never done well together, and never will.
Any food that presents this high a risk deserves to be taken off of their menu. I really don’t think they would have a problem with this, dogs rarely seek out and forage for fruits.
Even when you take out the risk of poisoning by removing the pits, there’s still absolutely no need to give your dog cherries.
For that matter, the assumption that food that’s good for us will somehow be good for them is just that — an assumption.
A huge amount of research has been applied specifically to feeding dogs, because we can’t rely on what we know about our own nutritional requirements.
Humans and dogs are probably the greatest interspecies friendship ever, but we just don’t process food the same way.
If you want to give your pooch a treat, as we all love doing, there are tons of dog safe options out there.
Alternative Treats for Dogs
Why not take a look at some of these delicious safe treats for your dog:
Can Dogs Eat Cherries – Summary
Sadly dogs can not eat cherries. The pits contain cyanide, and also pose a risk of blockages. Pitted cherries are high in sugar, which is not healthy for your dog. And a couple of missed pits could prove deadly.
If the worst came to the worst and your dog ate cherry pits, seek immediate veterinary help. Acute cyanide poisoning acts fast. We have the tools to deal with it, but they need to be delivered as fast as possible.
Have you had to wrestle cherries from your curious pup’s jaws? Let us know in the comments.
This article has been revised and updated for 2019.
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- Overview of cyanide poisoning MSD Veterinary manual
- Calcified microbial plaque. Dental calculus of dogs. E. Coignoul, N. Cheville
- Cherries, sweet, raw USDA National nutrient database
- Diabetes mellitus in dogs: relationship of obesity to glucose tolerance and insulin response D. Mattheeuws, R. Rottiers, J. J. Kaneko, A. Vermeulen
- Efficacy of Hydroxocobalamin for the Treatment of Acute Cyanide Poisoning in Adult Beagle Dogs, Stephen W. Borron, Michael Stonerook & Frances Reid, 2006
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