Can dogs eat dried cherries?
Depending on various factors, feeding dried cherries to your dog can be good or bad. It can be said that dogs can eat dried cherries in small portions, but you’ll still have to watch out for certain things like cherry pits.
To save you from this problem, we have discussed the pros and cons of feeding dried cherries to dogs in today’s article. We’ll also help you give your pooch their dried cherries treat without risking their health.
What’s on the cherry menu?
Let’s begin by looking at the nutritional value of dried cherries. The small stone fruits of cherries that come in various colors and flavors are packed with a lot of nutrients. Cherry fruit contains a significant amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fibers, and certain micro-nutrients such as potassium, copper, and manganese. Cherries are rich in vitamins, too, as they contain vitamins B, C, and K. They also have many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
What happens when cherries are dried?
When cherries are dried, a large amount of their moisture is removed. This results in the thickening of their skin and protects them from decay. The decrease in water content also concentrates the flavor and nutrients in the cherries. Besides calories, fiber and protein, they’re also a good source of calcium and iron.
On the negative side, dried cherries contain excessive sugar, making them less healthy than their fresh counterparts. The higher sugar content isn’t suitable for dogs. Moreover, processed dried cherries might also contain more sugar or corn syrup, which is strongly not recommended for dogs.
Benefits of giving dried cherries to your dog
Although dogs don’t precisely absorb nutrients from food like us, they can still get certain benefits from the nutritious value of cherries.
1. Dog’s Eyesight
Eating dried cherries can significantly improve the eyesight of dogs. If you look at the cherries’ nutrition chart, you’ll notice Vitamin A stands out on the list. Vitamin A can noticeably improve your puppy’s eyesight when taken in sufficient quantity. This is particularly useful for older dogs with vision problems due to old age.
2. Better Sleep
Dried cherries contain a natural chemical substance called melatonin. It is a substance that regulates a dog’s circadian rhythm. Melatonin is also naturally produced by dogs or maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Hence, if you give your doggo some dried cherries before bedtime, they can sleep more peacefully.
3. Brain Function.
Dried cherries contain a powerful antioxidant called Anthocyanins, which are found to be good for brain health. These antioxidants can also improve your dog’s memory. Interestingly, these memory-enhancing chemicals are only exclusive to berry fruits like strawberries and blackberries.
4. Arthritis In Dogs.
Arthritis is inflammation or joint stiffness common in humans and dogs. Dried cherries can help fight arthritis in dogs with their anti-inflammatory properties. However, only tart cherries can fight off inflammation related to arthritis, as sweet cherries don’t have this property.
5. Anti-Cancer Properties
With their natural pigments and antioxidants, dried cherries can prevent cancer in dogs. In addition, cherries are packed with fiber, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and vitamin C. According to the National Cherries Grower & Industries Foundation, these substances are vital in preventing all types of cancers.
Dried cherries and their health hazards
Since dogs are canines, unlike humans, whose digestive system is optimized for almost all kinds of food, feeding them cherries has a lot of health risks. Many of those are serious in nature, so it is better to look at the negative side of dried cherries before you treat your dog with them.
1. Cyanide Poisoning
Cherries are considered unsafe for dogs because they can result in cherry poisoning!! Yes, you read it right, eating cherries can kill your dog. The reason behind this is the cyanide present in the fruit. However, this cyanide is not present everywhere in the cherry. Instead, it can be found in the cherries’ seed, pit, leaves, and stem. Hence, the only part of cherry which is dog-edible is its flesh.
2. Tooth Decay
As discussed before, dried cherries contain more sugar than fresh ones. In fact, the only other fruit with more sugar than dried cherries is mangoes. A high sugar level will definitely result in tooth decay for your little furry buddy. So if you feed dried cherries to your dog, make sure to brush their teeth afterward.
3. Stomach Pain
Eating dried cherries can lead to food poisoning and an upset stomach for your dog. Dried cherries will cause pain in the dog’s stomach if consumed excessively. So, if your dog starts acting up after eating dried cherries, it may be a sign to stop giving them cherry treats.
Dried cherries are rich in fiber. Health-wise, a little fiber can help with digestion and loosen up your dog’s stool. But excess of everything is terrible, even for dogs. Eating extra fiber can result in diarrhea in dogs because they can’t handle as much fiber as humans. That’s why the majority of dog food is made up of protein.
A high concentration of sugar in dried-up cherries can make your dog lethargic. If you don’t keep an eye on the cherry intake of your puppy, you might find them lazier and dull than usual. Dogs might also lose appetite due to the abundance of calories in cherries. And if you continue the dried cherry treat of your dog despite all of the obvious signs, your dog might also become diabetic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Some Good Alternatives To Cherries?
Apple slices without seeds and skin, strawberries, bananas without peel, oranges without stem, seeds or pulp, carrots in a non-choking size, and blueberries serve as excellent alternatives to cherries. These fruits are rich in enzymes that can help whiten your canine’s teeth. Pet parents concerned about their canine’s dental health can consider these cherry-free treats.
How To Give Cherries To My Dog?
- Wash them thoroughly with water to remove all traces of contaminants or pesticides on their surface.
- Next, remove their stem and cut them into small slices to prevent your pet from choking.
What To Do If My Dog Swallows A Whole Cherry?
Your dog might swallow a whole cherry while you aren’t looking. However, this isn’t a cause to panic as your canine won’t get cyanide poisoning from a single cherry pit. On the contrary, you should look out for signs like decreased appetite, vomiting, constipation, and decreased fecal production. These symptoms might take up to 24 hours to appear, and the chances of intestinal blockage increase in smaller dogs on swallowing a small pit. However, if your dog eats multiple cherries, there is adequate reason to worry about the canine falling prey to cyanide poisoning. Each hole contains nearly 0.2 grams of cyanide. The symptoms include bright red gums, labored breathing, and dilated pupils. If your pup consumes multiple cherries without pits, consult your vet as soon as possible as he can decide the best course of action, like inducing vomiting to prevent cyanide poisoning.
How Many Cherries Are Considered Toxic For Dogs?
While feeding just one or two cherries won’t induce any harm to your dog, you need to make sure your pet doesn’t find its way into a bag of cherries as the pit contains toxic cyanide. Regular consumption of cherries can be hazardous for your dogs. Instead, you can include cherry in their diet sporadically, like as a reward or treat during training. You can provide a maximum of 2 to 4 cherries depending on the size of your dog, once a week.
Are Ground Cherries Safe For Dogs?
Ground cherries, also known as nightshades, contain solanine and other forms of solanidine alkaloids, which can be poisonous to your pooch. These compounds are found in the leaves and flesh of the fruit and should be avoided by pets and humans altogether.
What Type Of Cherries Can You Feed Your Dog?
Cherries are of different types, including rainier, black, and maraschino. While Maraschino/ Glacé cherries don’t have a pit, they have a high sugar count, which isn’t suitable for canines. These cherries can cause stomach aches and oral distress while putting your puppy at risk for obesity and diabetes. Processed, dried, or syrup-laden cherries contain added sugar, colors, and additives, which can be dangerous for your dog.
Should you treat your dog with dried cherries?
Now that we have discussed both pros and cons of feeding dried cherries to dogs, let’s figure out if the dogs should be treated with them. Yes, you can feed dried cherries to your dog, but you need to be very careful!
Moderation and caution are required if you want your doggo to have dried cherries. The fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C in the cherries can improve your dog’s health. On the other hand, the cyanide present in their seeds and pits can prove lethal for your dog. Large amounts of sugar are not healthy for dogs either. Hence, only seedless, pit-less dried cherries in small doses are recommended for your dog.
How to feed dried cherries to your dog without risking their health?
Considering the risks associated with dried cherries, you should follow a few essential steps before feeding them to your dog.
1. Flesh only.
The first and most important thing is to protect your pooch from cherry cyanide. Remember, your dog should not be eating anything that’s not the flesh of the cherries. Usually, dried cherries available in the market are already seedless flesh only, but it is safer to double-check. It may take a little time, but ensure all the pits and seeds have been removed when your dog eats dried cherries.
2. Remove plant extremities
The problem with buying packed dried cherries from the market is that some plant parts might still be with them. So you should check for the cherry stem, leaves, and seed or pit before giving it to your pup.
3. Small doses only.
Make sure you give only a tiny amount of dried cherries to your dog at once. Eating too many dried cherries can result in health problems like food poisoning, obesity, and diabetes.
4. Avoid artificial supplements
Some brands use artificial flavors or colors to enhance the appeal of dried cherries. In addition, corn or sugar syrup is added to the already high natural sugar content of cherries. All of these should be avoided, and your dog should only get organically dried cherry flesh.
5. Bake a cherry treat
If you want your dog to have dried cherries for health benefits but have difficulty convincing them to have some, the perfect solution is a cherry treat. You can bake the cherries into a pie, some cookies, or ice cream and let your furry friend have a little party.
What are better alternatives to dried cherries?
Giving your dog cherries seems like a case where the risks greatly outweigh the benefits. Cherries might have certain health advantages, but there are still fruits with similar benefits that will not harm your dog’s health. You can treat your dog with other fruit options like strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and apples (after the pits are removed). In addition, bananas, cantaloupe, cranberries, and mango are healthy alternatives to cherries. Whichever fruit snack you choose for your dog, the priority should be their health, and caution should always be followed.
Dried Cherries without seeds and other plant parts are a safe option for dog treats but in tiny amounts. Avoid feeding him too many dried cherries to have a happy and healthy life with your doggie!