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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.
Cherries themselves are not toxic to dogs—including black cherries. However, their pit, leaves, and stems all contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. Be careful that your dog does not eat these parts of a cherry.
When the pit, leaves, and stem are removed, fresh cherries are completely fine for healthy puppies and adult dogs—in small portions. Just remember that puppies have more sensitive stomachs, and the sugar content may affect them more than an adult dog.
Are Cherries Good for Dogs?
When fed to a dog properly, cherries are a safe fruit for dogs, and can be a good source of nutrients such as:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Make sure that the cherries are fresh, unprocessed, and washed, and remove the pit, stems, and leaves. They should be given in small amounts according to the chart below.
Can Cherries Be Bad for Dogs?
Cherries do have a high sugar content, and they can give your dog an upset stomach. Feeding your dog too much sugar over time can lead to health problems like diabetes, obesity—which can lead to hip and joint problems—and more.
But the much bigger concern with cherries is that the pit, stems, and leaves of a cherry all contain cyanide, just like the seeds in an apple. And eating cyanide can be very toxic to dogs.
The amount of cherry pits it takes to harm a dog depends on the size of the dog, and whether they chewed on the pits or just swallowed them. Chewing the pits can release cyanide contained in the seed in the middle of the pit.
Cyanide poisoning symptoms include:
- Excessive panting
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Bright red gums
- Dilated pupils
If your dog has eaten any cherry pits, stems, or leaves, or you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately and take your dog to the vet clinic.
Can Dogs Eat Dried Cherries?
Dried cherries in small portions would be fine for a healthy dog to eat. But it’s best to make them at home with your dehydrator. Dried fruit sold in stores often contains preservatives; extra sugar, which can lead to a stomachache; or xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Maraschino Cherries?
Maraschino cherries aren’t toxic to dogs, but they aren’t a healthy treat, either. They have extra preservatives and tons of added sugar, which could upset your dog’s stomach.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Yogurt?
Cherry-flavored yogurt isn’t a healthy treat for your dog. Any kind of flavored yogurt is going to have too much sugar, possibly preservatives or other unnatural additives, and possibly xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Ice Cream?
The same goes for cherry-flavored ice cream. There’s just too much sugar in it for your pup to handle. Plus, there’s the possibility that it has other preservatives, additives, and maybe even xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs.
How Many Cherries Can Dogs Eat?
Any treats for dogs—even the healthy ones—should only make up 10% of their daily diet, while the other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet.
For general guidelines on the safe number of cherries to feed your dog, check out this list. Although cherries are small, it’s safest to cut them into halves or quarters when feeding them to your pup—especially for smaller-breed dogs.
- Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) = 1 cherry (Examples: Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs, Shih Tzus)
- Small dog (21-30 lbs.) = 1-2 cherries (Examples: Basenjis, Beagles, Miniature Australian Shepherds)
- Medium dog (31-50 lbs.) = 3-4 cherries (Examples: Basset Hounds, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Siberian Huskies)
- Large dog (51-90 lbs.) = 5 cherries (Examples: Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds)
- Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) = handful of cherries (Examples: Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees)
If you’re nervous that your dog ate too many cherries, watch out for the following symptoms of an upset stomach:
- Lack of appetite
- Painful or distended stomach
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pup, contact your veterinarian.
How to Safely Feed Your Dog Cherries
Only feed fresh, unprocessed cherries to your dog that have been washed and cut into small pieces, with pits, stems, or leaves removed.
Once you’ve done that, check out some fun ways to feed cherries to your dog, listed below.
Cherry fruit smoothie
Blend up some cherry pieces with other dog-safe fruits like strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. And then give this mixture by itself as a treat to your dog, use it as a food topper, or freeze it in your dog’s KONG toy for later. Serve your dog no more than 2 tablespoons of smoothie for every 10 pounds of dog.
Cherry yogurt or frozen yogurt
Blend cherry pieces with plain, sugar-free, and xylitol-free yogurt. You can also mix in other dog-safe fruits. Then feed it to your pup as a fruit yogurt. Or freeze the fruit pieces the night before, then blend the frozen fruit with the plain yogurt to make a dog-friendly frozen yogurt doggy treat. Serve your dog no more than 2 tablespoons of yogurt for every 10 pounds of dog.
Stuffed KONG toy
Take any of the mixtures above and stuff them into your dog’s KONG toy. Your pup can lick it out as is or freeze it overnight for a refreshing cold treat later. Remember—frozen treats help keep your pup occupied for longer periods. This might also help puppies with teething.
Dried cherries can be made at home with your own dehydrator. They will be much healthier than store-bought dried cherries and won’t have all that extra sugar added.
Featured image: iStock.com/Ksenia Raykova
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