Blueberries are one of the most popular fruits eaten in the United States. What summer fruit salad is complete without them? Not only are blueberries tasty, but they are also the ultimate superfood containing many health benefits for both you and your dog.
Let’s look at the many reasons blueberries are the perfect choice for boosting your dog’s health.
What are the health benefits of feeding my dog blueberries?
Blueberries are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and carry the highest amount of antioxidants for a fruit. That’s a lot for such a small berry, but there’s more!
They are also high in fiber, low in calories, and contain phytochemicals and anthocyanins. All working together to pack a healthy punch for dogs of all ages.
Let’s see why…
Vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K are all found in the small blueberry. They work hard to boost your dog’s immune system, reduce inflammation, and support proper function and quality of skin, coat, muscles, nerves, and increase bone density.
Minerals: Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium all have a place within the blueberry health benefits too. These minerals support bone growth and a body’s ability to use vitamins and minerals more efficiently.
Phytochemicals: A chemical compound found in plants. They’re linked to loads of health benefits for both humans and dogs. Studies have shown phytochemicals fight cancer and reduce inflammation in chronic diseases.
Antioxidants: The blueberry is probably best known for its antioxidant properties and with good reason. Antioxidants are an integral part of both human and animal diets. They fight free-radicals responsible for cellular and molecular damage and slow down the aging process.
There was an interesting study about antioxidants and cellular damage in sled dogs after strenuous exercise. The study found adding blueberries to the dog diets reduced their recovery time after heavy exercise. For active dogs, this can be an enormous benefit that may increase their mobility as they age.
Studies have also shown antioxidants reduce the aging process or cognitive dysfunction in senior dogs.
Anthocyanins: These are responsible for the blue/purple color of blueberries. They work with the antioxidants to lower the risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
Blueberries provide so many health benefits for dogs that many dog food manufacturers have added them into their dog food formulas.
Can my dog eat blueberries safely?
Yes, whether you feed them fresh, frozen, dried, or mashed, blueberries are a safe treat for your dog. With only 84 calories per cup of fruit, they are also a safe treat for diabetic dogs (but you’ll want to check with your vet before offering them) or used as a training treat.
How many blueberries can my dog eat?
As with any fruit or veggie, portion control is important. Treats should only comprise 10% of your dog’s diet and be considered an occasional treat. For most small dogs, 10 blueberries would be an appropriate amount. Large dog breeds can tolerate more, but keep the ratio of 10% in mind when offering them.
Since blueberries are small, the chance of a large dog chowing down on too many is possible. They tend to eat without chewing, so can finish the bowl before you realize they snagged it. This can cause a tummy ache or creating a choking hazard. Small dogs can choke easily on the berries if they are gulped down or offered frozen.
Many dog owners grow blueberry bushes in their gardens. Dogs can gorge on the sweet berries, so keeping them separated from your dog is a smart idea. The bush itself is not toxic to your dog, but if there are any pesticides or herbicides on them, they will make your dog sick.
Some dogs (about 10%) can show intolerances or even allergies to new foods. Watching your dog for gastrointestinal upset, chronic gas, itchiness, ear inflammation, or hives. If any of these symptoms appear, stop offering the berries and talk to your vet.
Can my dog eat blueberry muffins?
Muffins prepared for human consumption is not a good option to feed your dog. They can have ingredients that may cause food intolerances and an upset stomach.
For those same reasons, you would not want to give your dog commercially prepared blueberry yogurt, blueberry pie, pancakes, or anything with artificial blueberry flavoring.
How can I feed my dog blueberries?
Fresh blueberries are most often given to dogs in their raw form. The fruit is soft and not much of a choking risk. When preparing the fresh blueberries, rinse them in water and inspect for any moldy berries before offering them to your dog.
Frozen blueberries are safe, but can present a choking hazard, especially in small breed dogs. But you can thaw them out and mash them prior to offering them. Larger dogs need supervision when eating the berries to avoid choking. Offering one or two at a time is better if the berries are frozen.
Mashed blueberries is a splendid way to add them to your dog’s food bowl. You can also add them in with other berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries for a nutritional punch.
Pureed berries added to yogurt or coconut water. Put the mixture in ice cube trays and freeze for a hydrating snack on summer days.
Blueberries are very versatile, and dogs eagerly accept them. You can give the berries to your dog frozen, dried, mashed, or fresh. Another idea is to add them to smoothies along with other fruits and vegetables. Blueberries combined with raspberries, blackberries, bananas, watermelon, and cranberries, to name a few possibilities, make delightful additions in dog-friendly recipes.
These are just a few ideas for feeding blueberries to your dog. There are many tasty dog-friendly recipes available online.
Can I feed my dog blueberries?
Yep! Your dog needs this superfood! These small berries are not only delicious but carry tremendous health benefits for your dog. As long as you portion the treat appropriately and be aware of any issues to watch out for, your dog should love them and dance eagerly when you offer them.