As you make yourself a creamy and tart blueberry parfait, your furry and clever sharpei gives you a look like you just stole his last bite of kibble.
Health Benefits of Blueberries For Your Pup
It’s not always easy to know what your dog needs to stay healthy and happy, so maybe ‘can dogs have blueberries?’ is not a specific enough question. We should be asking, are blueberries good for dogs?
Yes. In fact, they are a superfood LOADED with antioxidants that fight off cancer-causing free radicals and can help protect against cell damage. And they make an excellent low-calorie, healthy snack.
Blueberries are under the genus Vaccinium and are native to North America. Other fruits under the same genus are cranberry, huckleberry, bilberry, and cowberry.
So, what other vitamins and minerals come standard in these bursting berries?
The blueberries you'll find strolling through your neighborhood Whole Foods and wild blueberries alike are known for their polyphenol potency. Don't know what polyphenol is? No worries, team Fido has you covered!
Polyphenols are phytochemicals (biologically active compounds found in plants) that have some of the highest antioxidant potential among produce and different herbs and spices. Within the antioxidants are something called proanthocyanidins, a compound purported to help support a healthy urinary tract.
While blueberries are consumed most often in their cooked, juiced, or processed forms, eating them right off the vine (or produce basket) is the best way to absorb all of the tasty nutrients. If you've bought more than Fido can handle, throw them in the freezer! Colder temps will not affect the nutritional value of the fruit.
Some nutrients you may be more aware of that these fruits are packed with? Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and vitamin K which help to boost your pup's immune system, potassium to support healthy blood pressure, and magnesium to encourage healthy bones.
How to Feed Blueberries to Your Dog
Blueberries in various forms make great dog treats!
Be sure that you are feeding your pup fresh blueberries and not snacks like dried fruit, blueberry yogurt, or blueberry muffins, as these are high in sugar content and preservatives, and they can cause upset stomach, obesity, and tooth decay. These snacks may also contain xylitol as a sweetener which can cause life-threatening pancreatitis.
Make sure to wash the fruit thoroughly to remove any dirt and pesticides, and then feed them to your pup whole! Or, to reduce the choking hazard and create a healthy treat with fewer calories than peanut butter, try making your pup a puree of blueberries, pure yogurt, and other fruits like apples, watermelon (seeds and rinds removed), cantaloupe, pineapple, and raspberries. Your dog will love the chance to indulge in these healthy human foods, and they make for a great snack on those hot summer days.
How Many Blueberries Should My Dog Eat?
With dogs it's important to remember that digestion and metabolism vary from Chihuahua to Chow Chow. That is why Fidobiotics recommends giving your dog blueberries in small amounts, around 1-4 berries. These hydrating snacks are great as an occasional treat or to supplement your dog's diet.
Why Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?
Your dog is a chomping, panting goofball. While many see large canine teeth and interpret this must mean that Fido inhales only meat, this couldn't be further from the truth. Canines are, in fact, omnivorous, which is one of the reasons why dogs should not eat cat food.
In the wild, your dog would seek out plant-based foods for around 1/3 of his diet. If he were to find a blueberry bush, he would be one lucky duck (and a strange-looking duck at that)!
Just be sure to feed them in moderation, as too much of any new food can cause digestive upset. And as always, it's best to consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog's diet, but adding some blueberries to your pup's occasional treat rotation can be a tasty and healthy way to show them some love.