Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?

Key takeaway

Blackberries are a relatively healthy snack for dogs because they’re low in calories and sugar. However, like all human foods, they carry risks. Most commonly, blackberries can cause GI issues due to their high fiber content, so they should be fed in moderation.

Dogs love to eat human food because they see you enjoying it and want to partake. They also have a strong sense of smell, which makes them interested in almost anything you put on your plate. As a result, many dogs tend to beg for food, using puppy eyes to get what they want from their pet parents. However, before you give in to their demands, you may wonder, “Can dogs eat blackberries?” 

If you’re eating blackberries and look over to see Fido staring at you, you’ll be happy to know you can share with them. Blackberries are non-toxic to dogs; they’re low in calories and sugar.1 But are blackberries good for dogs? Let’s discuss a few of the benefits and risks of feeding dogs blackberries. 

Are Blackberries Good For Dogs? 

Benefits of feeding your dog blackberries

There are many benefits of blackberries for dogs, but you should always feed them fruit in moderation. Additional calories of any kind, even those from fruit, can cause weight gain and associated health problems. However, sharing a few blackberries with your dog is safe and can offer many health benefits, including:

Low In Calories And Sugar

One cup of this fruit contains only 60 calories, 8 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of sugar, so they’re fairly low on the glycemic index. For this reason, blackberries make a good snack to share with a diabetic dog. However, many overweight and diabetic dogs should avoid sugary foods altogether because they can cause blood sugar spikes. Therefore, it’s always wise to talk to your vet before feeding your diabetic dog any new foods. That being said, in general, one or two blackberries won’t cause additional weight gain or adverse side effects in overweight dogs and can be a healthy snack for most dogs. 

Weight Management 

Blackberries are a good option for dogs that need to shed a few pounds because they’re low in calories and sugar. In addition, blackberries are a great source of fiber, which can help dogs feel fuller for longer. But, again, blackberries should only be served in moderation because the high fiber content can lead to GI problems when introduced into the dog’s diet too quickly. Additionally, low-calorie doesn’t mean calorie-free, so you’ll still be adding a few calories to your dog’s diet when feeding them any amount of blackberries. 

Nutrients

Blackberries contain many beneficial nutrients for dogs, including: 

  • Vitamins: Blackberries contain many vitamins, including A, B, C, E, and K, responsible for various functions in the body, including:
    • Supporting healthy eyes, skin, coat, teeth, bones, and muscles. 
    • Aiding in energy production and metabolism. 
    • Boosting immunity.1 
  • Antioxidants: Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants found in blackberries that boost immunity and promote healthy skin, bones, and teeth. They also support the circulatory system and aid in muscle development. 
  • Fiber: Fiber is a carbohydrate that supports healthy digestion and prevents constipation.2 
  • Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids support coat health while reducing inflammation.2 

High Water Content

Blackberries are about 88% water,3 so they’re a great fruit if you want to ensure your dog is hydrated. Of course, a few blackberries aren’t enough to prevent dehydration in dogs, so they should continue to have access to clean drinking water. 

How Many Blackberries Can I Give My Dog? 

Can dogs have blackberries? Yes, but be careful not to overfeed them; moderation is crucial. Treats should not take up more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake, so if you’ve already fed your dog a ton of treats, skip the blackberries that day. Even though many pet parents don’t track their dog’s calories every day, you should still know how much you normally feed your dog in treats. 

Overfeeding your dog regularly can lead to many health issues, including diabetes, joint disease, pancreatitis, and kidney disease.4 In addition, feeding your dog too many blackberries can make them feel too full to eat their regular food, which is the main source of all the nutrients they need for optimal health. 

Consider your dog’s size when feeding them blackberries. Luckily, blackberries are small and easy to portion out. If you’re unsure how many blackberries to feed your dog, refer to the general guidelines below:

  • Small dogs: 1-3 blackberries
  • Medium dogs: 3-5 blackberries
  • Large dogs: 5-6 blackberries1

Of course, every dog is different. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs, so introducing new food could lead to minor GI issues. Therefore, it’s always best to feed your dog only a few at a time and monitor them over the next day for signs of stomach issues like gas, diarrhea, and vomiting.  

When Should I Avoid Feeding My Dog Blackberries? 

Although blackberries are safe for dogs, some dogs should not eat them. For example, while they’re relatively low in sugar and calories, your vet may advise against feeding your dog anything outside their regular dog food if they’re diabetic. Blackberries can cause GI issues in any dog due to their high fiber content.1 

In addition, you should watch for signs of food allergies in dogs, which include: 

  • Itchy skin, including the ears, paws, and stomach.
  • Skin issues like hives and irritation. 
  • GI issues such as gas, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Facial swelling, including the lips, eyelids, and ear flaps.
  • Ear or paw infections.5

Luckily, food allergies to fruits and vegetables are rare and more common with animal proteins like beef and chicken, but dogs can be allergic to any type of food. 

Another potential danger in feeding your dog too many blackberries is xylitol, a compound that can be dangerous to dogs even in small quantities. Xylitol doesn’t harm people but can cause life-threatening toxicosis in dogs.6 Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Collapse1

Luckily, blackberries only contain trace amounts of this compound, but if you don’t want to risk their health, you can avoid sharing your blackberries with them or feed them only one or two blackberries once in a while.

Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia and acute liver failure in dogs

Because there are risks associated with feeding dogs blackberries, you should always start small with only one or two blackberries at a time and monitor them for signs of a negative reaction, such as GI issues. In addition, avoid wild blackberries or blackberry products with added sugar, including jam and jelly.1

Can Dogs Eat Other Types Of Berries? 

Many types of berries are beneficial for dogs because they contain fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. However, not all berries are safe for dogs. You should never let your dog eat wild berries, especially ones you can’t identify. 

Berries that are safe for dogs

Berries That Are Safe For Dogs 

If you love berries, you’ll be glad to know there are many you can share with your dog, including: 

  • Cranberries: Cranberries are non-toxic to dogs and safe in moderation, but they contain high sugar levels, which can lead to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. In addition, your dog might not like cranberries because they’re tart and bitter. 
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are another safe treat for dogs. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and potassium.7 However, you should always remove the stem and cut them up for smaller dogs. 
  • Blueberries: Blueberries are low in calories and high in beneficial nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.7 
  • Raspberries: Similar to blackberries, raspberries contain trace amounts of xylitol, so they should only be fed in moderation.7

Berries That Are NOT Safe For Dogs 

While there are many safe berries for dogs, there are others dogs shouldn’t eat because they are potentially toxic. These include: 

  • Cherries: Cherries have pits that are potential choking hazards. The pit, stem, and leaves also contain trace amounts of cyanide. 
  • Holly berries: Holly is a popular holiday decoration, but it can cause gastrointestinal issues and contains several naturally occurring toxins.8
  • Poke berries: All parts of the pokeweed plant, including the berries, are toxic when ingested, leading to GI upset, respiratory issues, and potentially death.9
  • Marionberries: Marionberries contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause blood sugar spikes. 
  • Gooseberries: Gooseberries contain a compound called glyoxylic acid, which is toxic to dogs because it produces kidney stones. These berries may also cause allergic reactions in animals. 
  • Salmonberries: It is not known whether salmonberries are toxic to dogs, so it’s best to avoid them to prevent accidental poisoning. 
  • Serviceberries: Serviceberries are poisonous to livestock and may be toxic to dogs, so they should be avoided. 
  • Juniper berries: These contain mild toxins that can lead to GI problems and kidney failure. 
  • Nightshade berries: Nightshade berries contain a toxic compound called solanine, which can cause hypersalivation, severe GI upset, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, behavioral changes, and dilated pupils.10 Many common foods contain solanine, including tomatoes and potatoes. 
  • Dogwood berries: Some dogwood plants shed berries which may cause GI issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea. 
  • Mistletoe berries: Mistletoe is another common plant for the holidays. However, it’s toxic to dogs. Berries from the mistletoe plant contain toxins that can result in GI upset.11
  • Baneberries: No part of the baneberry plant is safe for consumption. Dogs that eat baneberries should be taken to the nearest emergency vet clinic because they contain toxins that can cause kidney damage when ingested.12

Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?: FAQs 

Can dogs have blackberry jam?

Dogs should not have blackberry jam because it contains added sugar that can lead to weight gain. Blackberry jam may also contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs even in small amounts.1 Xylitol poisoning is life-threatening, and any pets who have consumed xylitol should receive immediate medical attention. 

That being said, if your dog consumes a small amount of blackberry jam, they shouldn’t experience any severe side effects. However, you should continue to monitor them over the next day to look for signs of GI upset or xylitol poisoning. 

In general, dogs should stay away from all jams because of the added sugar content, so while your dog may steal a bite off your plate, you should never willingly give it to them. 

Can dogs eat hybrid berries?

Hybrids of blackberries like loganberries are safe for most dogs.1 Loganberries are hybrids of blackberries and raspberries and contain beneficial nutrients that support the immune system and bone health. However, like blackberries, you should only feed your dog hybrid berries in moderation. Since they’re high in fiber, they can cause mild GI issues in dogs. Hybrid berries like loganberries also contain sugar, so they’re not ideal treats for dogs on restricted diets or diabetic dogs. 

Puppy eating blueberries on a picnic mat next to a bowl of strawberries

Final Notes

Blackberries are a relatively healthy snack for dogs. However, they’re not a necessary part of a dog’s diet. Your dog should get all the essential nutrients from their regular dog food, but unfortunately, many pet parents don’t know what to look for in dog food to ensure it’s healthy for their pet. 

Wondering if you’re feeding your dog the right food? Try our online vet care services. Dutch makes it easy to access a licensed vet to discuss your concerns about dog nutrition, health, and wellness. 

References

  1. “Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-blackberries.

  2. Reisen, Jan. “Can Dogs Eat Blackberries?” American Kennel Club, 16 Sept. 2022, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-blackberries/.

  3. The Blackberry Fruit: A Review on Its Composition and Chemistry ... https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jf203318p.

  4. Burke, Anna. “How Many Treats to Give a Dog a Day.” American Kennel Club, 30 Aug. 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/how-many-treats-can-dog-have/.

  5. Nelson, Angela. “Is My Pet Allergic to Their Food?” WebMD, https://pets.webmd.com/dog-cat-food-allergies.

  6. Piscitelli, Christopher M, et al. “Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.” Compendium (Yardley, PA), U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20473849/.

  7. “Which Fruits Can Dogs Eat?” PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_healthy_snacks.

  8. “Holly.” ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/holly.

  9. “Pokeweed.” Pet Poison Helpline, 28 July 2022, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/pokeweed/.

  10. “Deadly Nightshade.” ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/deadly-nightshade.

  11. “Mistletoe ‘American.’” ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/mistletoe-american.

  12. “Baneberry.” Pet Poison Helpline, 1 Apr. 2022, https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/baneberry/.