Can I Give My Dog Blackberries?

Can I Give My Dog Blackberries?Giving a dog some blackberries may seem like a good idea. After all, there are many benefits to be had from eating this fruity antioxidant. But do these also apply to canines? Are there reasons why dogs shouldn’t be eating blackberries.

Foods high in antioxidants are great for humans. The foods we eat and the environment we live in introduce plenty of toxins, increasing the amount of free radicals and increasing the need to help cancel them out. Add to that the stress of a job, family, and the human condition, and it’s clear to see that there are plenty of reasons why we should be concerned with our antioxidant intake.

But dogs don’t have all of this to worry about, and as long as they are being fed a proper diet of quality dog food they don’t really have a lot of need for any supplementation. Blackberries can also be upsetting to some dog’s digestion, so it is not recommended for most dogs.

Can I Give My Dog Blackberries? Answer: Not Necessary

When you get down to the basic question of whether or not a dog should be given blackberries, all that needs to happen is to consider whether they would be eating blackberries if left alone in the wild.

Dogs are scavengers, this is true enough, they will eat just about anything to come upon if it is something edible. But they are not ones to nosing up to a blackberry bush, and eating them right from the source. Their time is mostly spent in packs, hunting animals and eating them.

Dogs and Fruit

Many owners feel the need to give their dog some fresh fruit because they feel that the dog will benefit from the vitamins and minerals they contain. But a dog’s physiology is different from ours. Evolution has turned them into carnivores, while we are set up as herbivores. We have an extra long digestive tract that can break down fruits and vegetables to release the enzymes and antioxidants they contain.

A dog’s digestive system, on the other hand, is expecting to receive mostly meat, and it is designed to break down and digest this sort of food. It has different stomach acids and a shorter digestive tract to get that job done. That’s why it’s best to cater to the way a dog’s body is set up.

Dogs and Antioxidants

It is yet to be proven whether a dog needs antioxidants the same way a human does. Free radical damage might not be such a major concern for a dog the way it is for a human. Also, it is uncertain whether a dog is even receiving the same nutrients from the same foods, because of the difference in the way the two species digest the food as explained above.

When you consider the high cost of blackberries as a produce item, it makes more sense to invest that money in a premium dog food, proven to help a dog out nutritionally.

Accidental Ingestion

If your dog got into a pack of blackberries and ate the whole thing, you might be wondering if it is toxic to your dog in any way. The good news is that you probably won’t have to rush them to the Animal Hospital, but you definitely want to observe them over the next several hours to see how they are doing.

You might see a case of diarrhea or vomiting, or they just won’t be themselves for a while as their digestive system tries to handle the onslaught.

Conclusion on Blackberries

We are fans of keeping it simple, and luckily dogs are pretty simple as far as what they require for optimal survival. You don’t have to give them a lot of bells and whistles for them to be at the top of their game. Just be sure they’re getting dog food that contains animal protein as the first ingredient. A lot of lesser quality dog foods will use fillers like grain products, or vegetables, with your dog doesn’t really need. Don’t bother giving them blackberries. Instead, put the money saved towards a better dog food.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophie September, 2015

My dog loves eating blackberries and will happily eat them off the floor or from low lying branches. Cleverly, she’ll only eat them ripe with the red ones going unpicked. It doesn’t have any ill effect on her but I make sure she’s only allowed a few. Compared to some of the other food she scavenges off the floor, it’s one of the healthiest.

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Jayne P June, 2015

Our dog, who normally has no digestive problems, just heaved up all of her breakfast and the nice meat, veggies, oatmeal and cottage cheese dinner I fixed for her. Also obviously present were several undigested blackberries, which she must have harvested on her own last night. They must have made her queasy which explains why she didn’t wake me for her breakfast today. We’d better elevate or fence our bushes!

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Eva January, 2015

I have a Lab and an Aussie and they are omnivores. Yes they prefer meat, but they will they take advantage of whatever is available. My dogs observed me eating blackberries off of our bush and chose to see what it was that I was eating. Now each year they steal all of the blackberries as well as harvesting tomatoes for themselves as soon as they are red. They will also take advantage of anything left near a table edge when humans are not present. They are fed regularly with a high quality dog food, but are still opportunists.

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Yvonne May, 2014

I have been told that when the ancestors of our dogs were wild, the gut contents of prey (vegetables or fruit, maybe grain) was also an important part of their diet. Whether that’s true or not, I have known plenty of dogs that spontaneously munched on wild-growing fruit, apples and blackberries included. We know that wolves and foxes vary their diets with fruit as well. A lot of modern top shelf dry dog food these days has fruit and veg pulp in it.

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Terence May, 2014

Hi Yvonne. Dogs are carnivores. They don’t need fruits and veggie pulp. Many dry dog foods contain beet pulp. That’s bad because it swells to 7 times its weight in the stomach.

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Terence January, 2014

Dogs didn’t evolve to be carnivores. They were carnivores all along, though some say they are omnivores. Their saliva doesn’t have the enzyme to break down carbohydrates and their teeth formation are those of carnivores. As such, they don’t need fruits and vegetables. A more appropriate diet for them is the prey-model raw diet (PMR).

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