Cherries. Who doesn’t like them? Delicious and full of nutrients, these bright little fruits are everyone’s favorite. Although cherries are a part of many human foods like jams, pies, cakes, and drinks but can dogs eat cherries?
The answer is: yes, but with extreme caution.
The cherry pulp is safe for consumption, but the pits, stems, and leaves are poisonous for your dogs. Therefore, you must exercise extreme caution whenever feeding your dog’s cherries. If you ask us? It’s best avoided!
However, if you disagree, then keep reading to learn the details of whether or not dogs can eat cherries.
Are Cherries Good and Safe for Dogs?
Let’s first decide whether cherries are good, i.e., nutritionally beneficial for dogs. There are two major types of cherries; tart and sweet, and the most common varieties of these cherries are Rainer, Bing, and Black. These cherries are all packed with Vitamin C and A, melatonin, fiber, and antioxidants.
Studies show that nutrients present in cherries can provide health benefits like they reduce blood sugar levels and relieving pain, but a dog would have to consume quite a lot of cherries to reap those potential benefits.
Therefore, although they may make a tasty treat, they don’t provide enough nutritional benefits to your dogs and are not essential to a canine’s diet.
What about Maraschino cherries? Well, they are not even healthy as they have heaps of artificial sugar.
Therefore, we conclude that although organic cherries can make for a healthy treat, they do not have any essential nutrients for dogs.
Now let’s come to the second part, are cherries safe and can dogs eat cherries?
The answer is yes and no.
Although the pulp of cherries is safe to eat, the pits, stems, and leaves of cherries contain small quantities of cyanide. If dogs consume cherry pits, leaves, or stems in large quantities, it could be lethal. Moreover, cherry pits can cause intestinal blockage that could lead to infections.
Hence, we can conclude that although the pulp won’t harm your dog, accidentally ingesting other parts of the cherry plant might.
What Are the Dangers of a Dog Eating Cherries?
1. Excessive Sugar
First of all, some types of cherries have lots of artificial sugar in them. Each cup of cherries has almost 22 g of carbohydrates, most of which come from natural sugars or glucose. It is not bad for a human, but the dietary requirements of dogs are different, and this much sugar can cause obesity, stomach problems, or diabetes in dogs.
2. Intestinal Blockage
Cherries fall into the category of stone fruits that means they have a solid pit in the center. These pits can cause two problems in your pet if gulped or chewed; the first one is an intestinal blockage and the second one is poisoning.
If your dog swallows a pit, it can lead to intestinal obstruction. Moreover, ingestion of leaves, stems, or pits of cherries can do serious damage to your pet’s digestive tract or, in some cases, can tear the esophagus lining apart.
Here are the signs of the upset intestine:
- Reduced appetite
On the other hand, the signs of esophagus damage are:
- No food intake
Signs of intestinal blockage are:
- Less fecal production
- Reduced appetite
If you have treated your dog with some cherries or suspect that he had had some, then watch out for all these symptoms for at least 24 hours. If you notice any of these signs, then rush to a vet.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Pits?
Just like other stone fruits, the cherry pit has cyanogenic glycoside, commonly known as cyanide. It is a heavily toxic compound that is also found in the stem and leaves of cherries. So, if the pit is chewed or crushed by your pet while eating cherries, cyanide would leach out and would result in toxicity.
The level of threat depends on the size of the dog, too; If you have a big dog and it eats a few cherry pits accidentally, it won’t be that big of a deal. Just watch out for the above-mentioned signs for 24 hours.
However, if a small dog consumes a few cherry pits or stems, it can be life-threatening. Usually, dogs swallow their treats whole, but the risk is too great to experiment with.
Therefore, can dogs eat cherry pits? Definitely not.
Signs Your Dog Has Cyanide Poisoning
The answer to can dogs eat cherries is never more evident than with cyanide poisoning. Usually, the signs of poisoning start showing up within 20 minutes of ingestion. Here is a list of symptoms you need to look out for:
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Dilated Pupils
These symptoms can often get worse and cause the death of your pet. So, if you suspect your dog has munched on a bowl of cherries, rush to your vet immediately. The vet can then induce vomiting to stop the toxic reaction of cyanide.
Can Dogs Eat Maraschino, De-Pitted, Or Process Cherries?
As said earlier, the cherry pulp is not the part that causes problems but feeds your dog too much, and it will end up with diarrhea or stomachache. There is too much sugar in cherries that is not suitable for dogs. Even though Maraschino cherries have no pit, they still contain lots of sugar. So, it is better not to give them more than a few cherries at a time.
If you want to feed your dog some cherries, then de-pitted cherries are the safest option. These will provide your dog with all the nutrients like vitamin C and A, melatonin, antioxidants, and fiber without the risk of them swallowing a cherry pit. However, there are plenty of foods that can offer the same benefits without going through the hassle of de-pitting cherries and the high sugar levels they have.
The problem with syrup-laden, processed, or derided cherries is that they have way too many additives, artificial flavors, sugar, and dyes that make them unsafe for your furry friend. They carry a great risk of causing stomach problems and obesity in dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Ice Cream?
Dogs love sweet treats and ice creams, and it is safe to let them have some ice cream every once in a while, but it is not recommended to do so regularly. As ice cream is a dairy product and dogs are not made to digest milk after they grow up. Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC, says that puppies have the enzymes that are required to break down milk they get from their mother, but after getting weaned, they lack the power to digest milk.
Moreover, the problem with premade ice cream is also that it has preservatives and additives that are not good for your dog. Ice cream also contains a lot of sugar and toxic flavoring as well. So, all in all, it is better to steer clear of cherry ice cream. So, the answer to the question of can dogs eat cherry ice cream is only once in a blue moon.
What Can You Do When Your Dog Eats Cherries?
Even though cherry pits are dangerous for dogs, there is no need to panic if they swallow some cherries when you aren’t looking. If it is just one cherry, then it probably would not cause any cyanide reaction, but intestinal blockage can happen.
So, it is advised to monitor your furry friend for the next 24 hours and look for any of the above-mentioned signs. If it is cyanide poisoning, then signs will start appearing as soon as 15 to 20 minutes.
However, if the dog has gulped down a handful of cherries or more, then you should be calling your vet right away. Meanwhile, you should keep an eye on your dog if it shows any symptoms of cyanide ingestion or poisoning.
The symptoms can be dilated pupils, bright red gums, and difficulty in breathing. These are the symptoms that require you to act immediately and induce vomiting with the help of a vet.
How Can You Safely Feed Cherries to Dogs?
The diet for your dog needs to be balanced and healthy. It is great if you apply the 10% rule while giving your dog treats. It means only 10% of the whole day’s meals can be treated and not more than that.
Dogs love to eat sweet treats, but they aren’t always safe for them. Some are more dangerous than others. It is therefore highly recommended to check with the vet before feeding your pet anything new. Your vet knows the dietary needs of your dog the best and will recommend a suitable amount according to their health.
To give cherries to dog safely, you can mix the cherries with other dog-safe foods like apples, strawberries, or pineapple and add some yogurt. Blend this mixture to serve as a delicious smoothie or as a fruit salad as it is. It is important to make sure cherries are included in a small amount.
What Are the Safest Alternatives for Dogs?
However, if you are not giving your pet cherries, then there are some better and healthier options available as well. Watermelons, strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries, and pineapples are some of the best fruit alternatives that your dog would love.
So, Can Dogs Eat Cherries?
At this stage, the safe answer would be Yes, but with extreme caution.
Cherries have lots of sugar, and except for their pulp, all their parts like pit, leaves, and stem tend to be poisonous for the dogs. After everything, if someone asks what fruits can dogs not eat, then cherries would be part of the list that contains all the foods that are dangerous for dogs.
If you want to know if mangoes are safe for dogs or not, give our article a read: Can Dogs Eat Mango? Are They Good for Dogs?