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It’s common knowledge that dogs should eat high-quality (preferably industrially manufactured) pet food. But that doesn’t completely eliminate certain human foods from the list of products that our canine friends can safely consume.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, in particular, have proven beneficial to humans and dogs alike. So, if you’re a big fan of blackberries, you must have considered sharing these fruits with your pooch at some point.
But can dogs eat blackberries? Read on for a conclusive answer to that question.
Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?
Yes, dogs can eat blackberries.
Not only are blackberries non-toxic to dogs. These fruits also contain minerals and vitamins that are potentially useful to your canine friend.
And despite their reputation for being high in sugar, blackberries are actually lower in sugar and calories than many fruits. So, you won’t have to worry about your dog packing up extra pounds or developing blood sugar issues.
However, it’s important to take due precautions when serving blackberries to dogs. That’s mainly because the digestive system of animals is quite different from ours. Therefore, even foods that aren’t immediately toxic to dogs, such as blackberries, may still pose some serious health risk if improperly prepared and excessively served.
More About Blackberries
The blackberry is an edible fruit produced by various species in the Rubus genus and the Rosaceae family. The fruit can be consumed as a standalone snack or as part of desserts, jellies, jams, wines, and liqueurs.
Blackberries may also be mixed with other fruits, particularly berries, and used in pies and crumbles. Besides, it’s a common natural sweetener in the production of candy and other confectionary products.
In terms of appearance, blackberries bear a near-striking resemblance to raspberries. The primary difference between the two fruits is that when picking them from their respective trees, blackberries usually pick with their receptacles whereas raspberries leave their receptacles on the plant.
What Nutrients Do Blackberries Provide?
Raw blackberries are 88% water, 1% protein, 10% carbohydrates, and 0.5% fat. The fruit is reasonably low in calories but provides a truckload of minerals and vitamins, including fiber, manganese, calcium, vitamins C and K, etc.
Like all fruits, blackberries contain decent amounts of antioxidants. These range from polyphenols and flavonoids to anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and salicylic acid, to mention but a few.
Health Benefits of Blackberries for Dogs
1. Blackberries May Treat Constipation
Blackberries are high in dietary fiber. Fiber-rich foods can help treat constipation in dogs by improving bowel consistency.
Studies have shown that high-fiber diets may also nourish gut microbiomes. This can help prevent chronic digestive disorders.
2. Blackberries May Fight Unhealthy Weight Gain
Not only are fiber-rich diets effective at treating digestive issues like constipation. These foods may also prevent unintentional weight gain. That’s due to their ability to make your dog feel fuller for much longer after meals.
Besides, fiber can reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, both of which are major risk factors of unhealthy weight gain. Not to mention, blackberries are incredibly low in fats and calories.
3. Blackberries May Combat Dehydration
Blackberries contain nearly 90% water by weight. Therefore, these fruits can be an exciting way to keep dogs hydrated.
All you need to do is give your pooch blackberry-flavored water. The animal will find his otherwise plain water now more appealing in color and taste (yes, dogs have a sweet tooth too).
4. Blackberries May Revitalize Your Dog’s Coat
There’s only a handful of fruits that pack omega-3 fatty acids, and blackberries are one of them.
Omega 3 acids can play an important role in maintaining your dog’s coat and fur.
5. Blackberries May Improve Your Dog’s Vision
The skin isn’t the only organ that may benefit from blackberries. Snacking on these fruits might improve your dog’s vision too.
Blackberries are chockfull of vitamin A, which supports healthy vision and aids carbohydrate metabolism.
Vitamin A also boasts anti-microbial properties and might work synergistically with omega-3 fatty acids to cushion your dog’s skin from bacterial invasion.
6. Blackberries May Protect Your Dog From Chronic Ailments
Blackberries are rich in powerful antioxidants known to support the immune system, including polyphenols and vitamin C. Supplementing your dog’s diet with blackberries occasionally is a proactive way of keeping various chronic diseases at bay.
Vitamin C also works alongside vitamin K (another essential vitamin in blackberries) to promote wound healing.
Side Effects of Blackberries for Dogs
a) Gastrointestinal Discomfort
The high fiber content in blackberries may relieve constipation. However, fiber undergoes a painfully slow digestion process, during which it can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
Besides, excess fiber consumption might cause diarrhea.
b) Weight Gain
Blackberries may be low in calories and fats. But these fruits are also high in carbohydrates.
High-carb diets can mess up your dog’s blood sugar levels. If unmitigated, excess sugar in the bloodstream can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
c) Allergic Reactions
Any new food given to dogs has the potential to trigger hypersensitive reactions. Therefore, you can expect some side effects if serving blackberries to your dog for the first time.
Symptoms of allergy can be respiratory (such as coughing and labored breathing) or dermatological (such as irritation and inflammation).
d) Pesticides and Herbicides
You can never truly vouch for the safety of blackberries that you haven’t grown yourself as the fruits may harbor pesticides and herbicides.
Exposure to the toxic chemicals in pesticides and herbicides can cause long-term medical complications, such as cancer.
e) Mold and Mycotoxins
Dogs should only eat fresh blackberries. Never feed your dog rotten blackberries, as these could contain harmful mycotoxins.
Consuming mycotoxins can cause hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures. Without treatment, mycotoxin poisoning could kill your dog.
f) Artificial Ingredients
Canned blackberries may contain certain additives that might poison your dog. One such ingredient is the artificial sweetener xylitol.
Although safe for human consumption, xylitol can be fatal to dogs. Early warning symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, lethargy, and tremors.
What Is The Best Way To Give Blackberries To Dogs?
i. Go For Fresh Berries
As already pointed out, dogs should only eat fresh blackberries. If planning to give your dog store-bought blackberries, ensure the fruits are free from toxins like xylitol.
ii. Keep the Portions Low
There’s no standard rule for the right amount of blackberries to give to dogs. Portions mainly depend on your dog’s size and age.
1 – 2 blackberries would suit extra-small dogs, while extra-large breeds would do with a small handful of blackberries.
iii. Avoid Wild Blackberries
Wild blackberry varieties, such as juniper, holly, and mistletoe, can be potentially dangerous to dogs.
Most of these species contain toxic chemicals while others may have spiky thorns.
Blackberries are safe and nutritionally beneficial to dogs if moderately served. We hope you can use this article as a guide the next time you’re sharing these tasty fruits with your canine housemate.