Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?

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PetMD Editorial
Published: June 3, 2022
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?

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NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

Blackberries are a popular superfood for humans, but are they okay for dogs? 

Whether your dog ate some blackberries in the backyard or begs to try them, find out if blackberries are safe for and if they have the same health benefits for dogs as they do for people.

Are Blackberries Good for Dogs?

Yes, in moderation, blackberries are safe and healthy for most dogs, just like they are for humans. In fact, they are actually low in calories and lower in sugar than many other fruits.

While blackberries do have plenty of vitamins and nutrients that can provide certain health benefits, keep in mind that the nutritional value will be minimal for your dog, since you should not be feeding them a lot of blackberries.\

Here are some vitamins and nutrients found in blackberries and their general health benefits:

  • Anthocyanins/antioxidants reduce inflammation and protect against diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

  • Fiber helps with gastrointestinal problems by calming your dog’s stomach and helping their stools flow properly.

  • Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation, helps promote heart and kidney health, boosts immunity, supports brain development, and supports skin and coat health.

  • Vitamin A supports eye and skin health, boosts immunity, and helps with bone growth and reproduction.

  • Vitamin B boosts immunity, metabolism, energy, brain and heart health, and skin and coat health.

  • Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and aids in the healing of wounds; the formation of collagen; the absorption of iron; and the maintenance of bones, teeth, and cartilage.

  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that promotes healthy circulatory and immune systems as well as healthy skin and muscle development.

  • Vitamin K promotes bone, heart, blood, and muscle health.

Can dogs eat wild blackberries or hybrids like loganberries?

Blackberry hybrids, such as loganberries, are also safe for most dogs to eat. And so are the wild blackberries that grow in your backyard—as long as you are certain which fruit they are. Thankfully, there aren’t any poisonous blackberry look-alikes.

There is a plant genus Rhamus spp. (the buckthorns) that can be confused with blackberries. They aren't toxic but do have a purgative effect.

But make sure to watch your dog when roaming free in the yard. You wouldn’t want them to get into plants that could be poisonous to dogs.

Can dogs eat blackberry jam or jelly?

Although blackberries are healthy for dogs, jams and jellies have a very high sugar content. And anytime your dog consumes foods with large amounts of sugar, it can cause an upset stomach.

If your dog eats a teaspoonful of blackberry jelly, they should be fine. Just make sure there isn’t any xylitol in the jam or jelly, because xylitol is toxic for dogs.

Can Blackberries Be Bad for Dogs?

Moderation is key when feeding your dog any treats. Although blackberries are very healthy, and the sugar content is lower than other fruits, too many blackberries can still upset your dog’s stomach.

This could be from the sugar content, the high fiber content, or because of food allergies in your dog. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:

When feeding blackberries to your dog, only give a few at a time, and try chopping them up into smaller pieces. Just like with anything dogs eat, blackberries could become a potential choking hazard.

Blackberries can also cause strange-colored stool, mostly blue or black, which can be mistaken for blood. 

Do blackberries contain xylitol?

Blackberries and raspberries both contain trace amounts of naturally occurring xylitol in them.

Xylitol can be life-threatening to dogs. For instance, in certain gums containing xylitol, one or two pieces can cause serious problems, such as liver failure.

According to Ahna Brutlag, DVM, associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline, because it’s naturally occurring in only trace amounts in many fruits and vegetables, these cases are not usually a problem for pets, but it’s always better to be safe.

This is why you should only give blackberries and raspberries to your dog in very small amounts. For suggested portion sizes, refer to the guidelines below.

If you see these symptoms of xylitol poisoning, take your dog to the vet immediately: 

  • Lethargy/Weakness

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of coordination

  • Collapse

  • Seizures

  • Excessive diarrhea

  • Blood in your dog’s vomit or stool

  • Collapse

How Many Blackberries Can Dogs Eat?

It’s important to only give your dog treats in moderation. Even the healthiest of treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet, while the other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet. This will help ensure that your dog gets all the proper nutrients they need, and that they don’t overdo it on sugar, fats, or calories from treats.

Here are some general guidelines for feeding blackberries to your dog:

  • Extra-small dogs (2-20 lbs.) = 1-2 blackberries

  • Small dogs (21-30 lbs.) = 2-3 blackberries

  • Medium dogs (31-50 lbs.) = 3-5 blackberries

  • Large dogs (51-90 lbs.) = 5-6 blackberries

  • Extra-large dogs (91+ lbs.) = small handful of blackberries

There are some risks if your dog eats too many blackberries. But this would typically need to be a very large amount. If your dog ate more than the amounts above, or you’re not sure how many they ate, or they are showing signs of stomach upset, like vomiting or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian.

How to Feed Your Dog Blackberries

Ask your vet before giving your dog blackberries on a regular basis. If they give you the okay, here are some tips for incorporating blackberries in your dog’s diet:

  • Mashed blackberries can be added on top of your dog’s food or mixed with peanut butter and frozen in your dog’s KONG.
     
  • Cut up the blackberries into small pieces and give them to your dog like small treats.
     
  • Fruit smoothies can be made from blended frozen blackberry pieces, along with other dog-safe fruits and sugar-free—and xylitol-free—plain yogurt.

Featured Image: iStock.com/Halyna Chernykh


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