Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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Food Fruit

Can Dogs Eat Cherries?

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Anna Olson
Jun 11 ·

Can dogs eat cherries? Though the fruit has many benefits, the safest answer is no. Unless you’ve carefully prepared the cherries, eating them could pose grave risks for your pooch.

While the flesh is mostly safe, other parts of the cherry plant have a compound which turns into cyanide in a dog’s body. Eating a whole cherry can also cause a serious intestinal blockage for a dog. Most sources agree that the risks of feeding cherries to dogs outweigh their benefits. Let’s look closer at this summer stone fruit, and ask whether dogs can really eat cherries.

Are There Benefits To Eating Cherries?

The flesh, or fruit part of a cherry does have many essential nutrients for both dogs and humans. Cherries naturally contain dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, melatonin, which aids in sleep, and antioxidants. However, a dog would have to eat a lot of cherries to get the nutrients in any beneficial amount. Since high consumption of cherries could result in cyanide poisoning, or digestive trouble, it’s best not to feed your pup a lot of them.

Like with all fruits and veggies, make sure you buy organic cherries and wash them well if you’re planning on letting your dog eat them. Pesticides and insecticides are not healthy for pets. Always check with your vet before offering your dog something new to eat.

What is Cyanide?

Cyanides are a group of organic and inorganic chemical compounds. They are found in solid salt forms, gas forms, and liquid forms. All these forms are highly toxic to both humans and their pets.

The stems, pits, and leaves of a cherry all contain the compound amygdalin, which gets converted in the body to the poisonous hydrogen cyanide. This poison works mainly by stopping cellular respiration. Cyanide poisoning affects small dogs and puppies worse than large adult dogs, since it takes less of the compound to cause an issue.

If you do feed your dog cherries, it’s important to completely remove all parts which contain cyanide. Do not let your dog eat cherries with pits in them. You should also avoid feeding them stems and leaves.

What About Digestive Issues?

Whole cherries and pits can easily get stuck in a dog’s digestive tract. Again, smaller dogs are more likely to experience digestive blockages from cherries than larger ones, since their intestines are smaller. A digestive blockage will probably require emergency surgery at your vet’s.

If you do feed your dog cherry flesh, it’s best to cut it into small pieces to prevent intestinal issues.

Can Dogs Eat Cherry-Flavored Foods?

Though there isn’t a risk of cyanide poisoning with cherry-flavored foods, they still contain stuff you don’t want your dog to eat. Most cherry-flavored foods, like maraschino cherries, have harmful preservatives, colors, and chemical additives. Even foods with natural cherry flavor could have these chemicals.

In addition, these foods are often loaded with sugar. Short-term, high sugar consumption could result in hyperactivity in your dog. Long-term and repeated sugar consumption can cause or exacerbate health issues, including heart issues, obesity, and diabetes.

can dogs eat cherries

What Should I Do If My Dog Accidentally Eats Cherries?

If your dog has eaten one or two cherries, even with pits, you probably won’t have to worry much about cyanide poisoning. You’ll still want to watch for signs of an intestinal blockage for the next 24 hours. Symptoms include vomiting, constipation, decreased appetite, and a decrease in fecal production.

If, however, your dog has eaten a lot of cherries, contact your veterinarian immediately. Check for the signs of cyanide toxicity, like bright red gums, difficulty breathing, and dilated pupils. In severe cases, your dog may go into shock. Cyanide poisoning happens quickly, and symptoms will show up 15 to 20 minutes after consuming the cherries.

Most vets will recommend induced vomiting to prevent cyanide poisoning and get rid of the cherries.

Avoid Cherries Unless You Prepare Them Properly

Now you know the answer to the question, “can dogs eat cherries?” Although the flesh has some beneficial nutrients, the pits, leaves, and stems are best avoided. The best way for your dog to try cherries is if you cut the flesh away from the pit, cutting it into small pieces to prevent intestinal blockage. Keep all un-pitted cherries out of reach. Eating whole cherries could cause either cyanide poisoning, digestive distress, or both. Most experts agree that the potential risks of dogs eating cherries outweigh any nutritional benefits.

Better and safer summer fruits for your dog include blueberries and watermelon. Chilling watermelon or even freezing blueberries makes them an extra special cold treat. Your vet should know if you plan on feeding your dog anything new. Make sure to let them know in case of an emergency.

Other fruits for dogs to eat…

Raspberries

Strawberries

Blueberries

Mango

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WRITTEN BY
Anna Olson

Anna has a passion for keeping pets healthy and happy. She grew up with a Great Pyrenees as a family dog. Currently and currently has an orange tabby. She worked at a dog grooming and bathing salon where she learnt more about canine behavior and bathing. She lives in Wisconsin, in the United States. When she is not writing, she helps her partner run their small business, knitting, and enjoying local parks.

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