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Are Blueberries Safe For Dogs?

Are you wondering whether blueberries are safe for dogs? Here’s the quick answer to this reader question.

I’ve heard blueberries are poisonous to dogs, is this true? What other foods shouldn’t a dog eat?


A picture of blueberries on a white background

This is a common question, as many foods eaten by humans can be dangerous for dogs. Things like chocolate and tea, for example, can be poisonous for a dog to eat.

But are blueberries safe for dogs? The short answer is yes, in moderation. In fact, a small handful of blueberries can make a tasty and nutritious treat for dogs of any size.

This is because blueberries contain a range of nutrients that are beneficial to dogs. These include antioxidants, vitamin C, and fibre.

The antioxidants, in particular, are thought to fight free radicals which cause cell damage in dogs. For example, a study on sled dogs found that supplementing blueberries protected against oxidative damage, meaning these berries may reduce the risk of diseases such as dementia.

Blueberries also contain phytochemicals that may be linked to a dog’s ability to fight cancer. As a bonus, blueberries are low in calories so your dog won’t put on weight if given them as a treat. The small size also means you don’t need to chop them up.

With any new foods, it’s important to closely monitor your dog. A few blueberries eaten on a walk isn’t going to harm your dog, but if he eats too many you might find he gets diarrhoea – especially if he’s not used eating them. Allergies are uncommon, but some dogs may react poorly to new types of food. If you have any concerns or worries about feeding blueberries to your dog, make sure you contact your vet.

So in short, as a treat blueberries are safe for dogs. Just don’t give them too many until they are used to eating them.

“Many owners ask me ‘how much is too much’?” says vet Dr Linda Simon. “For toy breeds, I’d stick to just 4 or 5 berries a few times a week. Larger dogs can eat a tablespoon or two at each serving.”

Blueberries aren’t the only type of berry dogs can eat. Your pup can also have strawberries and blackberries. Both contain many of the same healthy vitamins and minerals – although you need to be careful not to feed too many sugary strawberries. Make sure pits are removed from fruits that have them, such as nectarines, as these can cause choking, blockages, and may contain a chemical that turns into cyanide.

Foods That a Dog Shouldn’t Eat

There are a variety of foods that aren’t safe for your dog, and you should be careful not to leave these lying around the house. Here are some of the most common:

  • Alcohol
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Salt in large quantities
  • Tea & coffee
  • Sugary foods
  • Avocado
  • Fatty meats such as bacon
  • Dried wild seaweed
  • Raw meats (such as chicken) as they can contain salmonella
  • Candy (particularly those containing the sugar substitute xylitol)
  • Grapes
  • Raisins

“While dogs should not eat any candy, the greatest risk is from a sugar substitute called xylitol,” says vet Dr Linda Simon. Xylitol is highly toxic and even relatively small amounts can lead to hypoglycemia, seizures, and even death. “In recent years, I’ve treated several dogs who’ve eaten this in protein bars and supplements, so we need to be cautious and keep all of our human snacks away from our pooches,” she adds.

Note: This is not a complete list. If you’re not sure about the safety of a certain type of food, make sure you consult your vet before feeding it to your pet.


Richard Cross

Richard is a journalist who specialises in dog behavior. He's written hundreds of articles and books related to dogs, including for the Continental Kennel Club, Dog Fest (the UK's biggest dog festival) and various veterinary surgeries. When he's not spending time with Jess and Rudy (his beloved Labrador and Golden Retrievers), he enjoys reading, hiking and watching sports.

8 thoughts on “Are Blueberries Safe For Dogs?”

  1. Dogs, in a manner similar to humans and other animals vary in capacity to tolerate certain substances. One dog (or human) may be allergic to nuts, while most others are not. Acorns contain a similar allergen to that of nuts, therefore some dogs will be allergic, but not the majority of them.

    Known substances to avoid with canines would include grapes and grape products (raisins, etc), and chocolates. Fatalities due to renal failure has occurred too frequently with those products to risk giving them to man’s best friend..

    As with most things in life, it is always best to check when there is a question. Enjoy your dog and try to keep him/her healthy!

  2. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have searched and searched the web for an answer to my question What foods can dogs NOT have. Finally, you give a list of the most dangerous. That’s all I wanted. Thank you.

  3. I have a 18 and a half year old Doxie. Loves to eat, but of course gains weight, I also have a very busy a schuedule, taking care of a very ill daughter (8) years now with Lyme disease and a disabled veteran husband.
    What can I make ( that’s simple) to give my dog, treats to keep his weight down.?
    Simple and healthy, maybe even some suggestions on foods that can help him lose weight.
    Much appreciate any info

  4. i would love some recipes.. i have been making dog food for a yr for a rescue dog and he is happy with that

    brown rice
    a protien power from a pet shop, seems to have many vitamins – not thrilled with smell

    would love more suggestions… our dog did not want to eat commercial brands no matter what i fed him

    thank you

  5. Thank you! This was very helpful. It’s good to know I’m not poisoning my lil buddy. I have been feeding my lil pompom blueberries since he was a small pup. I only give him about 6 berries every now and then. He loves them. Thanks again!

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