Can Dogs Eat Cherries?

dog and a bowl of cherries

It’s a misconception that dogs can eat the same plant-based foods people eat. While some fruits are okay to share with your four-legged friend, it’s important to know which foods pose health concerns. In looking at cherries, the way you prepare them will determine how safe they are for your pet.  

Can Dogs Eat Raw Cherries Whole?

Are cherries good for dogs? Before assuming cherries are safe, consider how you feed cherries to your dog. Just as you would remove the peel before letting your dog eat oranges, you’ll want to remove the stem, leaves, and pit from cherries before tossing them to your dog. 

Can dogs eat cherry pits? Aside from the meat of the cherry, all other parts of the cherry contain cyanide. This compound is dangerous for both people and dogs, so make sure to fully prepare cherries for your dog. 

Unless you buy organic cherries, the fruit might have insecticides and other chemicals covering the outer skin. Soak the cherries in a bowl with water and one cup of white vinegar for 15 minutes to make them safe for human and animal consumption.

Know the Signs of Cyanide Poisoning in Dogs

Can dogs eat cherries with or without pits? The cyanide content in the pit of one cherry might not be strong enough to kill your dog, but it can cause serious health effects. While feeding pumpkin seeds to your dog is okay, other pits and seeds, such as cherry pits, are highly toxic. Research each fruit before feeding your dog any new plant-based treat.

Here are the most common symptoms of cyanide poisoning in dogs:

  • Excessive panting and heavy breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bright red gum tissue
  • Tremors 
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

Before feeding your dog any new food, consult your veterinarian. Additionally, seek emergency veterinary care if you notice any of these symptoms after feeding cherries to your dog.

Are Cherries Healthy for Dogs?

Properly prepared, cherries are okay for most dogs to eat. Keep in mind that this is a high-sugar food, so avoid feeding them to dogs suffering from obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Otherwise, your dog may benefit from eating cherries sparingly.

For both people and dogs, cherries are an excellent source of:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Antioxidants
  • Melatonin
  • Fiber

Cherries provide an additional source of some of the vitamins dogs need to stay healthy. In moderation, these nutrients can help your dog’s immune system fight disease and promote healthier organ functioning.

Are Foods Containing Cherries Okay?

The preparation of store-bought cherries will affect your dog’s health. Check ingredient labels for xylitol since this artificial sweetener is highly toxic for dogs. In addition, the following preparation methods determine whether your dog can eat cherries safely.

Dried Cherries

Can dogs eat dried cherries? This is a common question since dried fruit is a favorite treat for many health-conscious people. Feed dried cherries to your dog with care. Fruit dried in a manufacturing facility may contain artificial sweeteners and food preservatives. It’s best to buy a food dehydrator and prepare dried cherries at home.

Yogurt or Ice Cream Containing Cherries

There are several concerns related to feeding your dog cherry ice cream or cherry yogurt. Sugar and the presence of xylitol are the biggest health concerns. However, many dogs are lactose-intolerant. If your dog reacts badly after eating dairy products, avoid these treats altogether.

Maraschino Cherries

Can dogs eat maraschino cherries? Generally, maraschino cherries are okay for your dog in rare and small portions. The biggest concern is the high amount of sugar that manufacturers add to maraschino cherries. 

Can Dogs Eat Cherries in Large Amounts?

Even a cherry picked straight from the tree has a high amount of sugar. For this reason alone, make this an infrequent treat for your dog. All treats should only comprise 10% of your dog’s diet.

Alternatively, the following guide will help you determine safe amounts for your pet based on their weight:

  • 20 pounds and under: 1 cherry
  • 21-30 pounds: 2 cherries
  • 31-50 pounds: 4 cherries
  • 51-90 pounds: 5 cherries

These weight guidelines apply to the breed and size of the dog. Avoid feeding cherries to dogs that are overweight or obese. If you’re unsure, consult your veterinarian ahead of time.

Cherries: Preparation Is the Key

While you should never toss an unprepared cherry to your dog, they can safely eat a cherry that has been thoroughly washed and separated from the pit and stem. As long as you don’t let your dog overindulge, this treat can even provide some worthwhile health benefits. As with many human foods, feeding your dog cherries is safe in moderation.

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Paul Buonopane

Have you ever heard the adage, "Once a cat person, always a cat person"? Well, prepare to have that myth charmingly dispelled! I grew up a cat lover but these good boys just couldn't be denied and I'm officially a convert.

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