Can Dogs Eat Cherries?
The answer to the question ‘can my dog eat cherries?’ isn't cut and dry. Ingesting a small amount of cherry isn't going to harm your dog, but if your dog ingests large quantities of cherries or the pits or stems, there could be major trouble.
According to Pet Poison Helpline, parts of both cherries and cherry trees contain cyanogenic glycosides. In other words, parts of the cherry contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs and can kill them.
One or two pitted cherries every now and then won't harm your dog, but they shouldn't become a regular treat.
The Benefits of Cherries
While cherries shouldn't be a regular dog treat, there are some beneficial nutrients in them.
Cherries have a lot of water in them, and they're a good low-calorie treat for dogs who need to drop a few pounds.
They're packed full of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium and can supply your dog with nutrients they don't get in their regular diet.
The good doesn't outweigh the bad though.
There are other fruits that are easier for your dog to digest that offer similar benefits. Consider giving your dog blueberries, strawberries, or watermelon instead of cherries.
If you want to give your dog an occasional cherry, be sure it is pitted and the stem is removed.
What About Maraschino Cherries?
There are plenty of different types of cherries, but Maraschino are the worst to feed your dog.
They are pitted, which is good, but they have a high sugar content. Lots of sugar isn't good for dogs and can increase the chances of them getting an upset stomach and gaining weight.
What to do if Your Dog Eats a Cherry (Pit and All)?
If your dog eats a whole cherry including the stem and pit, don't panic. Eating a couple whole cherries shouldn’t result in your dog being poisoned.
The bigger concern is the pit getting stuck in your dog's intestinal track and causing a blockage.
You need to watch for symptoms of intestinal blockage if your dog eats a whole cherry. If your dog starts vomiting, is constipated, has a decrease in appetite, or is not producing any stool, you may want to call your vet to see if you need to bring your dog in for an assessment.
Symptoms of intestinal blockage may not start to show until 24 hours after your dog eats the cherries. You should monitor your dog for at least 48 hours after whole cherries are ingested to be on the safe side.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that smaller dogs have smaller intestinal tracks and are more likely to suffer a blockage than larger dogs.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe Around Cherries
There are a couple important things you should do to ensure your dog is safe around cherries.
If you have cherries in your home, be sure they are tightly wrapped and stored out of reach. The fridge is the safest place to store them.
If you have a cherry tree in your garden, be sure to pick up any cherries that drop on the ground on a regular basis. You don't need to cut down your cherry tree if you have a dog, but you do need to make sure you monitor your dog when they are near the tree to make sure he doesn't eat any cherries or chew on the tree. Alternatively, if you’re lucky enough to have the space, you could consider creating a border that your dog cannot cross around the area in which the cherries fall.
The answer to the question ‘are cherries safe for dogs?’ is no, they’re not really, but your dog won't get sick if he eats one or two cherries - especially if they're pitted.
You shouldn't give your dog cherries on a regular basis and should consider giving them a fruit that is less toxic and more easily digestible like blueberries or bananas instead of cherries.