Can Dogs Eat Cherries? Are Cherries Good Or Bad For Dogs?

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can dogs eat cherries

You know how your mother was always telling you to eat your fruits and vegetables when you were growing up? This is the same advice we receive from our doctors and nutritionists, form news articles and documentaries. The jury is out – fruits and vegetables are the healthiest part of your diet and we should all have a significant daily intake of each. We know the benefits of fruit and vegetables for humans, but are you aware of the fact that dogs eat fruit and veggies as well? This is a true fact!  Studies have shown dogs love some tasty fruits and veggies just their owners! Incorporating new foods into your dogs diet can be good for your pets– as long as you know how to pick the right fruit and veggies for their tolerance levels. Can dogs eat cherries? Yes, ONLY when they are properly prepared.

can dogs eat cherries

Ensuring a Diversified Diet

Dogs can eat pretty much anything!  Dogs have lived for hundreds of years without human intervention. This adaptation has allowed dogs to become a type of animal that blends into the environment, eating food available, and adapting to tolerate the type of food or substance eaten to survive.  While dogs can technically eat most anything, as an owner you will need to be sure the food offered and what is being digested is not toxic for them.  Ensuring food is non-toxic is relatively simple, which means you can try and provide a diverse diet for your canine pet, but only after the toxicity has been made known.

Other animals are obligate carnivores (cats, for example) or obligate herbivores (like cows). However, for dogs, meat may be their primary source of protein.  Dogs have adapted to use meat as a primary source of protein because in the wild, there are small animals and rodents dogs can hunt and eat easier than finding and picking fruits and vegetables from a garden.  This adaptation allows dogs a preference for meat flavor and texture; however, dogs must also diversify their diet in order to achieve a healthy balance of all nutrients.  Protein may be a primary food source, but dogs can also eat products rich in fiber (which they need), vegetables and even fruits. Fruits should be given only as snacks from time to time and not as a major part of their diet.

Can Dogs Eat Cherries? 

According to the ASPCA, cherries are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. Due to the ASPCA findings of toxicity, cherries are not really recommended for dogs. Cherry shrubs and trees, including the Black cherry, Laurel cherry and Choke cherry, carry cyanogenic glycosides. The ripe pulp around the seed is not toxic, however all other parts of this plant are toxic to dogs and contain cyanide. When picking cherries, or viewing cherries ripe on a tree, one may not be thinking of cyanide and other toxins being within the cherry.  Thoughts of toxins should be furthered researched before feeding a cherry to a dog.  While most dogs have a high tolerance for ingesting new foods, high toxicity within the cherry may cause harm to your pup.  Look into types of cherries, adverse reactions, and potential allergens before determining the right treats for your dog.

Another aspect of potential danger of cherries and dogs is the fact that cherries contain a pit at the center.  Not only that, but they can represent a choking hazard or create digestive issues. The pit can be a choking hazard in and of itself, along with posing a danger to the intestinal tract of your dog.  Pits are not able to be broken down after digestion and can remain within the tract and cause a block if not passed.

Cherry pits are also known to contain small amounts of cyanide, a substance that is considered a poison and should be avoided at all cost. The pit is the most dangerous part of the cherry-containing toxic material and risk being stuck in the digestion areas. However, if you as the owner remove the pits, as well as remove the stems and leaves, your dog will most likely not get sick from eating cherries from time to time.  An occasional cherry free from a pit may be offered on occasion only, and with strict supervision and a watchful eye for potential side effects.  As long as you remove all potential threatening components of the cherry, you may give a cherry or two to your dog occasionally as a treat.

The benefits for eating cherries are many.  Cherries contain vitamins and antioxidants. In addition, they can relax and even improve sleep quality. They can also act as a good anti-inflammatory agent, reduce the symptoms of arthritis, and may even prevent cancer.  Dogs may wish to enjoy these benefits as well, and dog parents may wish to offer a natural and effective method of relief from a variety of symptoms.  While offering the natural source of relaxation and anti inflammatory methods to a dog is worthwhile and kind, an owner may wish to find a separate supplement for their dogs comfort.  The alternative supplement may also come in a cherry flavor!

Cherries are a nice treat to a human, but not necessary for a dog.  You do not really need to feed cherries to your dog. Cherries offer a variety of fruit and vitamins to humans, but dogs are not in need of this type of variety to satisfy their palates.  There are other healthier fruits available and more suited for your dog. Yes, there are some health benefits that your dogs may get from cherries but the risk factor of your dog ingesting the pits outweigh the benefits.  When weighing the cost/risk analysis for feeding your dog cherries, the risk is too high to consider when other options area available.  If you as the owner are particular about your dog receiving a certain vitamin that cherries possess, you may want to try an alternative supplement rather than the cherry itself.

Adding fruit and veggies to the diet of your dog is a wonderful way in which to add the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain long term health and happiness.  If you need to add vitamins and antioxidants to your dog’s diet, check out these supplements [easyazon_link identifier=”B00QB4KMYI” locale=”US” tag=”frtp-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

What Happens if My Dog Eats Cherries with Pits?

On occasion, dogs have been known to eat food without first informing heir owners.  Dogs may raid the fridge, the fruit bowls, and even eat off trees and stems in a garden, all without their owner finding out until too late.  In the case of cherry trees, many dogs may find eating off the tree, or cleaning up the ground under the tree to be simply unavoidable.  Others may open the fridge and help themselves!  There may come a time when your dog has eaten cherries with pits-despite your complete intention on avoiding the trouble all together.

Depending on how much of cherries your dog consumed and whether the cherries and pits were swallowed will determine the action you must take to ensure all is well. If you see any of these signs in your dog, contact the vet immediately:

  • Inadequate oxygen levels
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bright red gums
  • Shock
  • Death

Also, look out for upset stomach or diarrhea.

What Other Fruits are good for Dogs?

However, if you think it is better to be safe than sorry, you can of course, avoid cherry consumption altogether. While they may have some adverse effects on canines, it is good to know that the effects are not the same on humans. But if you are interested in alternatives to this occasional sweet treat, apples and most kinds of berries, as well as bananas, are excellent snacks. These fruits also provide your pooch with the necessary intake of vitamins and valuable and healthy nutrients.

Guidelines on introducing fruits in your dog’s diet:

  • Chop all fruits into small pieces in order to make them easier to chew and digest and avoid them to become a choking hazard.
  • Always remove all stems and leaves, as well as pits or seeds.
  • Please remember to wash all fruits before feeding them to your pet.
  • Start out by testing whether or not your dog can eat cherries or some other kind of fruit. Give them a small piece, if they do not react badly, you can continue to feed them more.
  • Remember not to make fruits a major part of a dog’s diet. It’s okay for them to eat fruits and they can benefit from them to some degree but they do not thrive on a fruit-based diet.

Are There any Fruits That are Not Good for Dogs?

Yes, there are some fruits that are best avoided when it comes to your canine pet’s diet. In general, any fruit which has pits, especially large ones, are dangerous. Peaches and plums fall into this category. Another major no-no is represented by grapes of any color, as well as raisins. The reasons are not very clear but it has been noted that dogs have pretty violent reactions to ingesting either of these fruits. Vomiting, urinating and other symptoms may appear. It’s safer to keep your dog away from them.


All in all, cherries can be consumed by dogs, as long as you take the necessary precautions. This is a sensitive fruit to feed to your canine friend because of the cyanide present in its pit, and possibly in the pulp as well. While the quantity is not large, it’s good to not expose your dog to it.

Related articles:

Can Dogs Eat Pork Rib Bones

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken



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