As pet owners, we love to spoil our animals and that includes treating them to something special from time-to-time. Often, this takes the form of feeding them human food that our pets can’t get enough of. Bored with their everyday kibble, human food is simply irresistible to our pups. Imagine going from eating the same bologna sandwich every day to having a big juicy steak the very next day. Talk about mouthwatering! And while spoiling our pets is completely harmless most of the time, there are some foods that just are not suitable for taking the place of a treat and should be avoided as best as possible.
One food that pet owners are curious about whether or not will be ok for their animal to consume, are cherries. So, can dogs eat cherries? These tiny bites of fruit make for great toppings on sundaes, mixed in a drink or enjoyed all on their own, but are cherries safe for dogs to eat? To give a short, to-the-point answer: no, dogs cannot eat cherries. Many fruits are healthy and safe for dogs, but cherries may not be the best option. While cherries do contain some beneficial nutrients, they can do a lot more harm than good and usually aren’t worth the risks.
If you were to feed a dog cherries, you would have to be very careful to remove every single pit before your dog could eat them. Instead of going through all this work, why not feed your dog different fruits that are just as tasty. For example, fruits such as apples served without the core or seeds, have fiber and vitamins that are beneficial to your dog. You can also try blueberries which contain plenty of antioxidants.
However, keep in mind that all fruit contains high amounts of sugar which can upset your dog’s stomach in large amounts. Even though these fruits may not be right for every dog’s diet, they are still a safer option than cherries and can have great health benefits when served to dogs safely and in small doses. If you aren’t sure how these foods will affect your dog, you should consult your veterinarian before trying them out.
Why Cherries Are Not Good For Your Dog
The pits, stems, and leaves of cherries all contain cyanide, which is toxic and can actually cause poisoning in dogs if they happen to eat a large enough quantity. Although the minimal amount of cyanide in one or two cherries probably isn’t enough to seriously hurt your dog, there is still no need to take the risk when it comes to your fur friend’s life. Especially when there are plenty of other human foods and alternatives to cherries that can provide the same health benefits your dog might get from them.
Cherry pits, in particular, can cause intestinal obstruction which is the most common problem dogs have when eating cherries. Intestinal obstruction is a serious issue that can lead to some nasty complications for your pup down the line because even if the pit is not eaten, the cherry fruit itself can lead to a painful and potentially dangerous gastrointestinal upset in dogs.
You might be wondering, if pits are the problem, what about cherries that are pit-less? We can consider one type of cherry that does not have a pit, Maraschino cherries, which we often used to garnish drinks or served on top of a sweet dessert. While Maraschino cherries may seem relatively harmless because they don’t have pits and also tend to have their stems removed, one of the biggest problems with letting your dog woof them down is that they are loaded with sugar. Consuming too much sugar can cause both short-term gastrointestinal issues for your dog as well as long-term issues such as canine diabetes or obesity in dogs.
So what is the risk if you aren’t feeding your dog the actual cherry itself, but just the flavoring? In short, cherry flavored foods are usually full of artificial flavoring, chemicals, and sugar which are definitely not what you want to be giving your pet. It’s best to stick to real foods that contain ingredients you’re familiar with and are generally known to be safe for canines. But when in doubt, consult a nutritionist or your veterinarian for more information about which foods are safe and healthy options for your dog.
What If My Dog Eats A Cherry?
If your dog eats a cherry or two they shouldn’t get sick but it’s still a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of cyanide poisoning in your dog.
Symptoms of cyanide poisoning in dogs include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bright red gums
- Dilated pupils
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
- In serious cases, dogs can even go into shock
And even with just eating one or two, there is still potential for gastrointestinal obstruction caused by a cherry pit. Symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage include canine constipation, decreased appetite, and vomiting. You should keep an eye out for these symptoms for at least 24 hours after your dog has eaten cherries. If you see any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.