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Can dogs have cherries? What you need to know

Can dogs have cherries? What you need to know

Sweet cherries, what is the first say that comes to mind when I say that? Summer, right! Cherries are a super popular food and we tend to eat them a lot during summer. However, there is a little problem with cherries, and human food in general. Our dogs keep begging for some! No matter what we’re eating, sausages, chicken or in this case cherries. Your dog’s exes are telling you only one thing “Give me some too!”. But, can dogs have cherries? Are these delicious and juicy fruits safe for your dog or dogs?

Also read: What fruits can dogs eat and which are toxic?

Can dogs have cherries?

There is no clear answer to the question can dogs eat cherries. We can’t say that cherries are bad nor good for dogs, it all depends on many factors.

Generally speaking, the juicy, sweet flesh of cherries is safe for dogs! These fruits are filled with nutrients, particularly fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, which all benefit health in many ways! They are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. So, if they are so healthy can dogs have cherries too?

Well, the problem lies with the pits, stem, and leaves because they contain cyanide! If you didn’t know cyanide is actually highly toxic for dogs if consumed in large quantities.

Also read: Can dogs eat watermelon?

Dangers of eating cherries

Besides cyanide poisoning, cherry pits can also cause intestinal blockages, as they can easily become stuck in a dog’s digestive tract. This can actually be life-threatening for your dog!

Cherries in a bowl
Cherries are a delicious fruit, but they might not be the best snack for your dog

Cherries are also full of sugar, and despite it being natural, they can still be dangerous for your dog. Too much sugar can cause anything from hyperactivity to tummy troubles like diarrhea. It can also cause more serious conditions like pancreatitis, diabetes, and obesity over time!

Also read: Can dogs eat blueberries?

Signs of cherry poisoning

No matter how hard you try to protect your dog, accidents do and will happen. So you might be removing the stems, leaves and pits before giving your dog cherries, however, what if your dog steals some? What will happen if your dog consumes cherries including the pit and stem? To be honest, cherry poisoning is quite common among dogs who eat the stem and pit of cherries.

The symptoms of cherry poisoning include:

  • Bright red mucous membranes
  • Hyperventilation
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Collapse
  • Death

What to do?

Also read: Can dogs have blackberries?

If you notice that your dog stole one cherry from your bowl, don’t panic! One stem and pit won’t cause harm to your beloved dog, it won’t cause cyanide poisoning! However, there actually is still the risk of intestinal blockage, especially for smaller breeds, so monitor your dog for at least 24 hours. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as vomiting, constipation, or decreased appetite and decreased fecal production. If you notice any of these please contact your veterinarian for further instructions on what to do.

However, if you for sure know that your dog ate a lot of cherry pits please contact your veterinarian right away! Also, start watching them for symptoms of cyanide poisoning mentioned above. This is definitely a situation where your dog will need immediate veterinary attention.

How many cherries does it take to kill a dog?

You are suspicious that your dog ate a few cherries, and you aren’t sure what to do? You might be wondering how many cherries does it take to kill a dog? This is a difficult issue to answer because it is dependent on so many things. To name a few, body weight, breed, individual susceptibility, and general health. A few whole cherries are unlikely to hurt your pooch. Nonetheless, the moral of the story is not to take chances.

You should never give your dog whole cherries on purpose. However, we are all aware that mishaps may and do occur—dogs are renowned for putting their noses into everything! If your dog eats something that could be harmful or cause a blockage, always contact your veterinarian and ask him what to do. In addition to that, monitor your dog and see if he will show any type of changes.  

The only portion of the cherry that isn’t harmful is the flesh. However, if your dog has never eaten them before or eats a lot of them, it may cause stomach distress. As a result, your dog may have diarrhea the next day! If this is the case, a bland diet and a call to your veterinarian for guidance are recommended. Plenty of human foods can cause an upset stomach in your pup. So rather go for safer options, like dog treats, as a better choice to give your dog something yummy in between meals.

What about other forms of cherries?

Now that we know that dogs most definitely should not eat cherries, you might be wondering about different cherry products, are they safer alternatives? Besides fresh, raw cherries, there are also dried cherries, cherry jam or syrup, glacé cherries, cherry ice cream, and maraschino cherries. The options are honestly endless because we know that this summer fruit is a favorite amongst us humans.

All of these cherries have been de-pitted, so they’re fine for your dog to eat, right? No, they are actually not. But why they are not safe is a completely different story. The main problem with all of these different types of cherry is that they contain high amounts of sugar. Although sugar is not fatal, it can have a negative impact on your dog’s weight and dentition, as well as lead to diabetes.

Conclusion: Are cherries a healthy snack?

The short answer is: No, dogs should never eat cherries. While cherry flesh isn’t poisonous to dogs, there are many safer alternatives to give to your dog. While giving your dog cherries without any pits in small quantities won’t kill him instantly, the flesh of a cherry can still upset your dog’s stomach. 

The cherry fruit and cherry products also contain a lot of sugar. These are sweet fruits, and while they do have some beneficial nutrients for both humans and animals, it still isn’t a good idea to ever feed them to dogs. Excess sugar in your dog’s diet, even when it comes from a fresh cherry, can cause your dog to gain weight and put him at risk of diabetes.

Pet owners should know that instead of people food, a much better option would be to treat your dog with special dog snacks. They won’t cause as much damage as some regular foods may do, and your pup will still enjoy them equally as much. 

My name is Jackie and I am a veterinarian with a degree in veterinary medicine. With extensive experience in treating various animals, I am known for my compassionate and personalized approach to animal care.