Ripe cherries are sweet, juicy, and so tasty that most dogs find them irresistible. It is not uncommon for dog owners to see how all the fruits that have fallen from the cherry tree in the garden are eagerly collected by their four-legged friends.
At this point, some people ask themselves, not without reason, whether this is healthy for dogs at all.
Can dogs eat cherries?
Yes, dogs are allowed to eat cherries because they are a healthy snack between meals. However, the prerequisite is that the cherries have been washed and pitted before feeding. Cherry pits contain hydrogen cyanide in a concentration that can lead to life-threatening poisoning. Dog owners should therefore better prevent self-sufficiency.
Dangerous hydrocyanic acid in the cherry pit
Cherry pits contain highly toxic hydrogen cyanide. Unfortunately, there is no reliable information on the actual salary. What is certain, however, is that hydrocyanic acid poisoning can be fatal for your dog.
This danger arises when cherry pits are not left intact as they pass through a dog’s digestive system.
Many dogs that are regularly allowed to help themselves from the windfalls in the garden spit out cherry stones reliably by themselves. The owners of these dogs can often not even imagine that other dogs will simply swallow them. You may already know from experience which breeds your dog belongs to.
Swallowed cores are mostly excreted undigested. Nevertheless, it can be risky to rely on your four-legged friend to always sort out the cherry stones or to transport them whole through the digestive tract. Every dog can accidentally bite into a cherry stone and swallow it. The cores can also open by themselves.
Poisonous hydrocyanic acid is then released, although the respective amount is unknown as described. Careful estimates assume that a dog can crack around two to three cherry pits for every kilogram of its body weight without damage.
The magnitude suggests that this should not be a problem for large dogs, but small dogs and puppies are at risk of fatal hydrocyanic acid poisoning.
Symptoms of poisoning can also occur if a dog has not consumed a lethal dose, but a toxic one. If your dog shows breathlessness, cramps, or vomiting after it has nibbled cherries, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.
If the dog’s breath smells of bitter almond, it can be assumed that it is poisoning with hydrocyanic acid.
If you want to be sure to rule out any risk, just give your dog only pitted cherries and it is best to secure your supply and any cherry trees in the garden.
Can dogs be allergic to cherries?
A real allergy to cherries would be extremely unusual. There are more frequent allergic reactions due to a cross allergy. Birch pollen allergy sufferers sometimes also react to cherries.
If your dog gets itchy skin or swollen mucous membranes from cherries, then it is better not to give them anymore, because it could be an allergic reaction.
Cherries – the ideal snack for sporty dogs
Cherries are not only sweet and therefore rich in sugar, they also provide a considerable amount of important nutrients. Vitamin A supplies the eyes and helps build skin and cartilage tissue. In addition, there are almost all B vitamins, which are essential for the metabolism and the nervous system.
The range of minerals it contains starts with potassium. Potassium is an essential electrolyte and is required as a messenger substance for regulating the water balance and other vital processes in the body.
Cherries are also high in calcium and are one of the few foods that have a balanced calcium-phosphorus ratio.
Their high magnesium content makes them healthy because on the one hand magnesium is very good for the muscles and nerves, on the other hand, it ensures that cherries have a favorable acid-base ratio.
The composition of vitamins and minerals in cherries is reminiscent of dietary supplements for athletes, which can also help against the effects of stress. Such preparations usually rely on a combination of magnesium, B vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes.
Although cherries do not come close to the nutrient concentrations of conventional food supplements in terms of quantity and would not be suitable for combating serious deficiency symptoms, they can have a useful effect here and there as a little extra for your dog.
Also be careful with apples, apricots, peaches, and nectarines
These popular fruits all belong to the rose family. Just like the cherry, its relatives also contain weak concentrations of hydrogen cyanide in the kernels.
For apricots, peaches, and nectarines, you should therefore feed them to your dog without seeds if possible. Apples are an exception because their kernels contain a precursor of hydrogen cyanide, which is only converted into this in the body. There it is also toxic. However, since apple kernels are comparatively small, their poisoning potential is rather low.
Is there dog food with cherries?
The feed producers have not yet discovered cherries for the preparation of ready-made dog food. If your dog loves cherries, you will continue to have to make them yourself.
But that doesn’t hurt. Quite the opposite: raw cherries contain valuable antioxidants that would destroy if heated during feed production.
Can dogs eat cherries without seeds?
Cherries are wonderfully suitable as a treat or as a sensible snack for athletes if you give them to your dog without seeds. Because they contain a lot of fructose, cherries should only be fed in small quantities.
The sugar content is closely related to the taste of the cherry. Sweet cherries contain significantly more sugar than morello cherries. Sour cherries are therefore more recommended for dogs with weight problems.