Blueberries are a favorite summer fruit full of multiple vitamins and minerals for people. But can dogs eat blueberries as well, and are blueberries for dogs safe to consume? What are the benefits of feeding blueberries to dogs, and are there any side effects? Let’s take a closer look.
If you’ve been wondering, “can I give my dog blueberries,” the answer is YES – dogs can eat blueberries and they are not toxic to dogs. In fact, feeding blueberries to a dog may be a very good idea due to high amount of nutrients and antioxidants they provide.
That said, blueberries for dogs are only good in moderation and as an occasional treat. They should not become a regular snack for a dog, and it’s best to use them in homemade dog food meals or as a healthy doggy treat for your canine now and again.
In this article, I’ll take a science-based look at how blueberries may affect dogs.
What are blueberries?
Blueberries are a low calorie, highly nutritious and sweet tasting fruit (botanically, a berry) from the Vaccinium genus. The blueberry is a flowering shrub that produces blue or purple berries which are green at first and darken as they ripen.
Highbush blueberries are domestic to the United States, and lowbush blueberries are considered wild grown. They are more closely related to huckleberries and cranberries than they are related to other popular berries like raspberries or strawberries.
This is what fresh raw blueberries look like:
Blueberries have been known as an incredibly healthy food for centuries. They are considered a superfood for dogs and humans due to the many nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they provide. Below, we’ll analyze all of their benefits.
Blueberries for Dogs 101
Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
So can dogs eat blueberries just as well as humans can? Yes, absolutely – blueberries are safe for dogs to eat, and they are as nutritious a treat for canines as they are for us. Be sure to feed blueberries in moderation to avoid any digestive upset in your dog.
In fact, one study found that blueberry extract can be healthy and safe to dogs even when mixed with grape extract (1), which was surprising to see since feeding grapes to dogs in general can be considered as a dangerous practice.
Blueberries are chock-full of nutrition, and these below are some of the most essential vitamins and minerals found in blueberries that are good for dogs:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Similar to many other berries we’ve already covered, blueberries can improve both human and animal health when given in moderation. For example, feeding your dog two of three blueberries as a bi-daily treat can provide some definite health benefits over time.
Some studies have shown that in working dogs in particular (2), feeding blueberries can help with preventing oxidative damage which results from strenuous exercise. The exact same result from blueberries was observed in human clinical trials which I talk about below. It tells us that for athletic dogs in particular, blueberries can be very effective.
Let’s take a look at some of the scientific research on blueberries and the proven benefits they have as observed in both human and animal studies. I’ll start with some of the most powerful plant compounds found in blueberries:
Quercetin, flavonol that lowers blood pressure and reduces risk of heart disease (3)
Anthocyanins, antioxidants that may reduce the risk of heart disease (4)
Myricetin, flavonol that may reduce risk of diabetes and cancer (5)
The above three plant compounds are responsible for some of the main benefits of blueberries. These, alongside vitamins and minerals in blueberries, in particular Vitamin C (6), Vitamin K1 (7) and Manganese (8) make blueberries one of the best superfoods.
Here’s an evidence-based breakdown of how blueberries for dogs and humans are healthy and some very good reasons to add them to your canine’s diet in moderate amounts:
The above is just a brief breakdown of studies on blueberries and how they affect humans and animals. There are about another 100 papers I was able to locate on the positive effects of blueberries, but I’m not going to bore you with those.
As you can see, there’s a very good reason to consume blueberries yourself, and it’s likely that since blueberries for dogs are safe and non-toxic, it could be a good addition to your dog’s diet. Note that only some of the studies are done with dogs, while majority of observed health benefits of blueberries were from human…