Packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, fiber, antioxidants, and melatonin, cherries are a sweet summer treat. But are these delicious, nutritious fruits safe to share with our pets?
While many summer fruits are healthy, refreshing, and safe to share with our four-legged friends, and cherries do contain some beneficial nutrients, they unfortunately do more harm than good for dogs.
Are cherries safe for dogs?
Speaking of cherries, while the pulp isn’t necessarily poisonous to our four-legged friends, extra care should be taken when serving them. This is mainly because cherries are inherently dangerous to our pets – the pits, stems and leaves contain cyanide. This applies to all cherry varieties, including Bing, Rain, and Black cherries.
Cyanide is toxic to both pets and humans, and can be fatal if consumed in large quantities. So while dogs can eat raw cherries in small amounts, they must be prepared carefully to ensure the pits, stems and leaves are completely removed.
Pet owners should also be hesitant to offer their dogs any cherry-flavored treats, as they often contain artificial flavors, chemicals, and sugar. In fact, even foods that are naturally flavored with real cherries often have quite a bit of added sugar.
In terms of potential health benefits, while cherries have been linked to everything from controlling blood sugar to lowering high blood pressure and even pain relief, dogs unfortunately have to consume a fair amount of cherries to reap these benefits—and that’s when the risks are far greater. for the benefit. And, of course, you always want to check with your veterinarian for their approval before offering cherries (or any other human food) to your dog.
Dangers of cherries to dogs
In addition to the risk of cyanide poisoning, cherry pits themselves carry a risk of intestinal blockage, as they can easily get stuck in a dog’s digestive tract (which can be life-threatening and may require surgery). This is especially true for smaller varieties, which are more susceptible to clogging in small cherry pits. Pet owners should also be aware that puppies may be more susceptible to blockages and cyanide poisoning, so be especially careful when offering puppies cherries or any other human food.
Of course, some cherries are seedless, like super sweet black cherries (the kind you often find in drinks). The problem with these cherries—and all canned, processed fruits—is not the pit, but the amount of added sugar used to sweeten them. Short-term dangers of too much sugar in dogs include ADHD and abdominal discomfort such as diarrhea, which over time can lead to more serious conditions such as pancreatitis, diabetes and obesity.
In general, if you want to share some fruit with your dog this summer, stick with safer staples like blueberries or watermelon (and, as always, keep an eye on Rover’s serving sizes). If offering fruit with pits, be sure to offer only meat; even if the pit contains no cyanide, there is always a risk of bowel obstruction.
What to do if your dog eats whole cherries
If your dog happens to swallow a whole cherry without you noticing, there’s no need to panic right away. One cherry pit is not enough to cause cyanide poisoning. However, there is still a risk of bowel obstruction, so you need to be sure to monitor your dog for at least 24 hours for symptoms such as vomiting, constipation or decreased appetite and stool production. Symptoms of acute cyanide poisoning may appear within 15 to 20 minutes of eating cherries.
However, if your dog has just eaten multiple cherries, then you should call your veterinarian and start watching them for symptoms of cyanide poisoning, which may include bright red gums, difficulty breathing, and dilated pupils. In more severe cases, your dog may go into shock. All of these symptoms require immediate medical attention. Your veterinarian may determine that the best course of action is to induce vomiting, which can help prevent cyanide poisoning.