Can Dogs Eat Cherries? Among Safe Summer Snacks, This Fruit Isn't on the List

Dogs love human treats, especially when summer rolls around and we spend a little too much time around the BBQ. It's easy to look at your pup's huge eyes, feel sorry for them, and toss them a human treat or two. It can't hurt, after all, right? While some human foods are fine for your pup, others should be avoided at all costs. So, can dogs eat cherries?

While accidentally ingesting a whole cherry or two isn't likely to permanently harm your pooch, your dog should not be eating cherries as a treat or in their pupcicles. While cherry flesh does contain health benefits such as vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, it can also cause an upset stomach and lead to vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or other gastrointestinal troubles. Maraschino cherries, which are small dessert cherries without pits, are also bad for dogs due to the high amount of added sugar, leading to obesity. Also, cherries can be a choking hazard for both small dogs and large dogs.

Alex Schechter, DVM, says that they should be avoided if at all possible:

"The pits of cherries contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. Cherry pits are also a choking hazard, and the fruit is also a potential source of gastrointestinal obstruction."

Cherry pits can cause an intestinal blockage upon ingestion. Cherry pits also contain cyanide, similar to apricot stones, and can lead to life-threatening cyanide toxicity if your dog consumes large quantities of cherries.

"Some of the serious signs include trouble breathing, seizures, agitation, hyperventilation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, weakness, etc.," Schechter says. "If you witness any such symptoms in your pet, make sure to call your vet clinic immediately."

What Can I Feed My Dog Instead?

can dogs eat cherries

Instead of using fresh cherries as a healthy snack for your furry friend, consider a different human food. Fresh fruits like seedless watermelon or vegetables like celery contain the same kinds of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C as cherries. Puree these foods in a blender to prevent a choking hazard or intestinal obstruction. You can freeze them in popsicle molds or ice trays as healthy dog treats for your pup. These foods can also be mixed with peanut butter, which contains protein, or yogurt, which contains enzymes that support a healthy digestive tract.

Remember to follow the 90/10 rule, which is that 90% of your dog's diet should be from their dog food, and the remaining 10% can be from treats. Fruits and other human foods such as peanut butter have high sugar content. When dogs consume these foods in large amounts, they can lead to obesity and an unhappy digestive system.

What are your favorite human foods for dogs? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

This article was originally published June 17, 2021.

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