Most dogs are interested in foods that smell meaty or cheesy, which is why it’s no surprise that your dog might patiently stalk you if you’re holding a burger or a slice of pizza.
If your dog seems to be taking an interest in your berries and yogurt, you’re probably a little surprised. Can dogs even eat raspberries? Do they provide any nutritional benefits for your dog?
Not all berries are created equal. Here’s what you need to know about berries and your dogs before you offer a few up as a sweet and fruity treat.
What Are the Health Benefits of Raspberries?
While there is no such thing as a true “superfood” for dogs, raspberries are spectacular. They’re a healthy addition to any meal, and they serve as the ideal snack for diets focused on overall wellness.
Raspberries Can Promote Cell Health
Raspberries are packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help to protect healthy cells. When free radicals from environmental pollution or metabolic processes within the body come into contact with the cells of the body, they seek to steal an electron. They’ll take this electron from a healthy cell, damaging and ultimately destroying that cell.
Antioxidants sacrifice themselves. They’ll give up an electron instead, sparing healthy cells the damage. That’s what makes antioxidants beneficial for the health of all living things, including your dog.
Raspberries Can Aid in Digestion
Raspberries contain a significant amount of dietary fiber. Human and animal bodies need dietary fiber for digestive health and regularity. In polite terms, fiber helps us use the bathroom regularly.
Raspberries Are Rich in Vitamins
The benefits of vitamins in raspberries are similar for both you and your pup. Raspberries contain B vitamins, which boost metabolic health and help the body to produce blood cells. They also contain vitamin K, a vitamin the body uses to regulate levels of calcium throughout the body. Vitamin K significantly contributes to bone health and heart health.
Raspberries Contain Essential Trace Minerals
Raspberries contain small amounts of trace minerals like copper, manganese, and selenium. Trace minerals play small but important roles in the formation of cells, maintaining the health of the nervous and skeletal system, and muscle communication.
Raspberries Are Lower in Sugar
All fruit and berries contain naturally occurring sugar. If you’re trying to watch your sugar intake or looking to avoid providing your dog with sugary treats, raspberries are an exception to the rule. Their small size makes it easier to enjoy a sweet indulgence without bulking up your diet with sugar — that said, it’s worth it to ask your vet for guidance on feeding raspberries as a snack if your dog has metabolic issues like diabetes.
Can Dogs Eat Raspberries?
Dogs can eat raspberries, but there are a few important caveats. Giving your dog four or five raspberries is unlikely to cause your dog harm, but you’ll need to carefully monitor your dog’s raspberry intake. While raspberries contain plenty of good stuff that will keep your pup healthy, they contain very small amounts of compounds that can be toxic to your dog.
The Toxic Compounds in Raspberries
Xylitol is a plant-derived sugar alcohol used as a calorie-free sweetener in many sugar-free foods, low calorie foods, gums, candies, and dental hygiene products. Xylitol is perfectly fine for humans. It works to promote oral health by creating a film over the teeth that makes it harder for bacteria to form plaque.
Xylitol has absolutely no benefits to your dog. In fact, ingestion of xylitol can be fatal. That’s why you should never give your dog foods that have been artificially sweetened, and also why you can’t use human dental care products to manage your dog’s oral hygiene.
Raspberries naturally contain very small amounts of xylitol. The amount of xylitol in a raspberry is so negligible that it’s unlikely to harm your dog. It would take over 1,000 raspberries to induce xylitol toxicity in a large dog, and chances are slim to none that you would even have that many raspberries in your home.
You should never leave large amounts of raspberries unattended in an area of your home where your dog could independently access them. If you’re throwing out raspberries that went bad before you could eat them, it’s best to put them in a trashcan in an area inside or outside of your home that your dog cannot easily access.
What Berries Are Toxic to Dogs?
Dogs shouldn’t have cherries or cherry-flavored foods. If you ordinarily keep cherries in your home, make sure that every member of your family (especially the children) understand that they cannot share cherries with the dogs.
Gooseberries are less common in most households, but they’re also toxic to dogs. If your family eats them or grows them, you need to be especially mindful to prevent your dog from accessing them.
There are plenty of berries growing outside that your dog can’t eat, and it’s important to remove these berry plants from your property.
- Dogwood berries
- Holly berries
- Juniper berries
- Mistletoe berries
While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to evaluate your garden and your home for plants that may be toxic to your dogs. Your dog may not currently be showing any interest in these plants, but if they get curious one day and gobble them up, you could wind up in a serious situation.
Make some swaps for dog-friendly plants. You won’t have to sacrifice your greenery or worry about your pet’s health.
How To Feed Dogs Raspberries
You can give your dog a raspberry or two directly from your hand if your dog enjoys raspberries. If your dog doesn’t particularly enjoy raspberries, don’t try to encourage your dog to develop an interest in them. There’s no sense in attempting to get them to eat human food if they aren’t particularly keen on the idea. It’s a good sign if they show more interest in their food than your food.
Since raspberries have the potential to be toxic in large amounts, it’s best not to use them to make dog treats or use them to prepare anything your dog would eat regularly. There are plenty of other berries, like strawberries and blueberries, that your dog can enjoy in substantial amounts, that still offer similar health benefits.
There are also plenty of dog-friendly vegetables you can combine with ingredients like fresh turkey or fresh chicken to make savory protein-packed dog treats.
No matter what kind of healthy treats you feed your dog, it’s important to remember the 90/10 rule. About 90% of your dog’s calories should come from a high-quality dog food, preferably made from fresh ingredients. These foods are nutritionally balanced to provide your dog with adequate support. The remaining 10% of your dog’s calories can come from healthy treats like whole fruits or veggies or homemade pup snacks.
Keeping Your Dog Healthy
It’s only natural to want to share your berries with your dog. Your dog is a member of your family, and you want them to be able to enjoy the same things that you enjoy. Just be mindful about how much of these foods you’re presenting your dog with, especially with foods like raspberries that can potentially be toxic in very large quantities.
VETCBD Hemp supports a holistic approach to your pet’s wellness. Our blog is full of ways to enjoy meals with your pet and to support their head to tail wellness.
Berry Good for Your Heart | Johns Hopkins Medicine
What is Xylitol? The Dangers Of Xylitol for Dogs | American Kennel Club
Counting Calories: Low-and high-calorie treats for dogs | Canine Arthritis Resources and Education