Can Dogs Eat Cherries? – No, They Can’t
It’s a common question among pet owners, whether their furry friend can join them in munching on a bowl of cherries. The straightforward answer is No. You should not feed cherries to your dog. While the fruity flesh is not poisonous, the pits, stems, and leaves of cherries contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs even in small quantities. Additionally, the pits can cause intestinal obstruction, which is a serious health risk.
Can Puppies Eat Cherries?
When it comes to puppies, the answer remains a definite No. Their smaller size and developing bodies make them even more vulnerable to the toxins found in cherries. Puppies are naturally curious and could easily choke on cherry pits, leading to a potential emergency. It’s best to keep cherries, along with their pits and stems, far out of reach of your young canine companion.
Why are Cherries Harmful for Dogs?
The seemingly harmless cherry harbors hidden dangers for your canine friends. Here’s an explanation of the primary risks.
Presence of Cyanide
Cherry pits, stems, and leaves contain cyanide, a toxic substance that can prevent oxygen from reaching the cells when ingested. Even a small amount of cherry pits can lead to cyanide poisoning in dogs, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Cherries are small and round, which makes them a choking risk, especially for smaller dogs or dogs that swallow food without chewing properly. The hard pit can obstruct the airway or could get lodged in the digestive tract. This can result in a choking emergency or require surgical intervention to remove the blockage.
If a dog swallows cherry pits, they can become stuck in their digestive tract. This potentially life-threatening situation may lead to signs of intestinal blockage, including vomiting, decreased appetite, constipation, and abdominal pain, necessitating urgent veterinary care.
Symptoms to Watch Out For After Dogs Consume Cherries
- Breathing difficulties: Signs may include gasping or heavy panting, which can indicate cyanide poisoning or a blocked airway.
- Digestive upset: Symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea can occur from the fruit’s flesh or from stress on the digestive system.
- Abdominal pain: If your dog is acting unusually quiet or whining and has a tense belly, they might be experiencing discomfort from an intestinal obstruction.
Immediate Steps to Take if Your Dog Eats Cherries
- Assess the situation: Check how much your dog has consumed and look for any remaining pits or stems.
- Contact your vet: If you suspect your dog has eaten cherry pits, it’s important to call your veterinarian or an emergency pet hospital immediately.
- Monitor closely: Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of distress, and be ready to provide any information your vet might need.
Safe Alternatives to Cherries
While cherries are dangerous for dogs, there are safe alternatives that they can enjoy. Consider offering your dog these safer food options instead:
- Blueberries – Small, soft, and packed with antioxidants, blueberries are a healthy treat in moderation.
- Sliced Apples – Apple slices can provide vitamins and fiber, but always remove the core and seeds which can be harmful.
- Bananas – Bananas are a potassium-rich snack that can be given in small amounts as a treat.
While cherries might be a tasty snack for humans, they pose significant risks for our canine companions. Remember the dangers of the pits, stems, and leaves due to cyanide and the risk of choking and intestinal blockage. Always be vigilant about what foods your pets have access to, and ensure that the treats they do enjoy are safe. When in doubt, safe alternatives like blueberries, apple slices, and bananas are a much better option for a dog-friendly treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my dog eats a cherry pit?
Contact your veterinarian immediately, as cherry pits are hazardous due to cyanide toxicity and possible blockages.
Are any parts of the cherry safe for dogs?
While the flesh of the cherry isn’t toxic, it’s best to avoid sharing it with dogs since the nearby pits pose a risk.
Can cherry poisoning in dogs be treated?
Yes, with prompt veterinary attention, cyanide poisoning can be effectively treated in most cases.
How many cherry pits are dangerous?
Even a small number of cherry pits can be harmful, so it’s best to keep all cherries out of your dog’s reach.