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Are Cherries Bad for Dogs?

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. July 5, 2022
Are Cherries Bad for Dogs?

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For humans, cherries are not only delicious fresh, but they can be consumed in various ways. Whether dried or as a maraschino cherry, they can be consumed on their own or as a part of various dishes. When eaten fresh, cherries can be nutritious as they contain various beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Since cherries are considered both delicious and nutritious, it is understandable many dog guardians will ask can my dog eat cherries?

At AnimalWised, we find out are cherries bad for dogs? Not only do we find out of dogs can eat fresh cherries, but we look at other types of cherries such as maraschino and dried cherries.

You may also be interested in: Are Olives Bad for Dogs?

Are bad good for dogs?

If you are a dog guardian, you should be aware that dogs cannot eat certain fruit. Grapes are one of the most toxic for dogs. Cherries have a similar texture to grapes, but fortunately dogs can eat cherries. They are considered a type of fruit suitable for dogs and they do not contain toxic compounds which damage their kidneys and other organs. In fact, the nutrition provided by cherries can provide benefits in moderation.

Although dogs can eat cherries, there are certain considerations we need to make when providing fruit for dogs. If we do not make these considerations, it is possible the benefits will be lost and it can cause damage to their health. This is mainly to do with the amount of cherries we feed to our dog, but the type of cherry and how we prepare them are also very important.

Find out whether other types of fruit are bad for dogs with our article asking can dogs eat strawberries?

Benefits of cherries for dogs

As we have already mentioned, cherries are not bad for dogs and can provide certain health benefits. Here we look at the specific benefits of cherries for dogs:

  • Moderate in calories: cherries have a moderate caloric value compared to other fruits. This means they are great when used as a treat since the dog doesn't need to burn as much energy when consuming them.

  • High in fiber: although the digestive system of dogs is not capable of digesting fiber, it is a fundamental nutrient in their diet. This is because it creates a feeling of satiety, contributes to the maintenance of the intestinal microbiota, regulates intestinal transit and maintains the consistency of the stool.

  • Vitamin and mineral content: cherries have appreciable amounts of vitamins (vitamin C, thiamin, folate and provitamin A), as well as significant amounts of potassium. They also have a lesser content of minerals such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus and calcium.

  • Contain anthocyanins: these are substances with a purported antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, although further research needs to be carried out about these potential benefits.

  • Contain monoterpenes: specifically, they contain perillyl alcohol which a compound that may protect against cellular aging caused by the attack of free radicals. These claims also require conclusive evidence, especially in terms of benefits for dogs.

How to give cherries to my dog

Although cherries are not bad for dogs, any potential benefits will depend on how we give them to our canine. We need to make certain considerations if we want to avoid negative health effects.

The flesh and skin of cherries provides the benefits outlined in the section above. However, the seed (also known as the pit), the stem and any leaves actually contain cyanide. This is a toxic compound which can cause poisoning in dogs. Cherry pits also provide a choking hazard for dogs due to their small size. Even if they are swallowed, they can cause gastrointestinal obstruction or damage the mucosa lining.

To safely offer cherries to your dog, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Wash them with plenty of water to remove possible traces of pesticides or contaminants present on their surface.
  • Remove the stem and seed from each of the cherries.
  • Cut them into small pieces to avoid choking.

Never give a cherry to your dog with the pit still in. This means we should always keep cherries out of reach of dogs in case they try to eat them on their own.

How many cherries can I give my dog?

Although most dogs usually enjoy the taste of fruit, this does not mean that they should consume it daily. The reason is due to their high sugar content. Cherries will be bad for dogs if they eat them every day. The healthiest way to include cherries and any other fruit in the dog's diet is sporadically. This means they are best given as a treat or a reward during training.

As a reference, you can provide 2 to 4 cherries (depending on the size of the dog) once a week. Smaller dogs will need less than larger dogs.

Can I give my dog maraschino cherries?

Maraschino cherries are a delicious type of cherry which is preserved in sugar syrup. They are used commonly in cocktails and deserts. Some of these are also preserved in al alcohol, usually a maraschino liqueur from Croatia.

Due to the high sugar content, maraschino cherries should never be given to dogs. The alcohol content also makes them toxic. This is because the high sugar content can cause damage to the dog's kidneys and other organs, especially if eaten in large amounts. Any remaining health benefits of fresh cherries negated by their preservation. The same applies to glacé cherries which are too sweet for dogs to eat. They are particularly bad if the dog is already suffering from conditions such as obesity or diabetes in dogs.

Can I give my dog maraschino cherries?

For a similar reason as maraschino cherries, dogs should not be given dried cherries. The reason for this is their sugar content is also very high and they often use preservatives which are not good for dogs. Only fresh cherries with the pit and stalks removed can be given to dogs.

Are Cherries Bad for Dogs? - Can I give my dog maraschino cherries?

Side effects and contraindications of cherries for dogs

As we have seen throughout this article, cherries can produce a series of negative effects on the health of dogs when they are not provided properly. These negative effects of cherries include:

  • Intoxication: the stems, leaves and seeds of cherries contain cyanide, a compound that produces intoxication. We know a dog is intoxicated when we see excessive panting, dyspnea (breathing difficulties), reddened mucus membranes, mydriasis (pupillary dilation) and shock.
  • Suffocation: this can be caused by the seeds or by the fruit itself when it is offered whole, without cutting it into pieces. This is especially the case with small and brachycephalic dog breeds which can have trouble eating due to a shortened palate.
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers: when the seeds are not removed, they can damage the gastrointestinal mucosa as they pass through the digestive system.

In addition, there are certain situations in which it can be counterproductive for dogs to consume cherries:

  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Gastrointestinal pathologies
  • Dogs with a sensitive digestive system

Finally, remember the importance of introducing any new food into your dog's diet in small quantities. Monitor the possible appearance of negative effects on their health after consumption.

If you want to know about other types of fruit for your canine, take a look at our articles on can dogs eat papaya? and can dogs eat pears?

If you want to read similar articles to Are Cherries Bad for Dogs?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

Bibliography
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA). Cherry, Prunus avium . Available at: https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/ministerio/servicios/informacion/cereza_tcm30-102359.pdf

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