Can you really imagine your dog eating cherries? Or any fruit for that matter? We eat cherries — and other fruit and veggies — because they are healthy, don’t we? And they certainly are — for humans.
For dogs, though, it is a different story. Some fruits won’t harm your dog, but don’t let them eat any fruit with pits, including cherries. So, the easy answer to the question ‘Can dogs eat cherries?’ is ‘no’, because the cherry pits contain cyanide, which is a potentially deadly poison.
If a dog only eats the flesh of a raw cherry, it will not be poisoned, but it may develop an upset stomach. If a dog ingests the pits, then it is likely to be poisoned and will get very sick and may die.
The Effects Of Cherries on Dogs
You may want to plant a cherry tree in your garden, but you must take note that cherries and dogs are not usually compatible.
Potentially positive effects
Cherries are potentially useful in a dog’s diet, because they contain nutrients that are healthy, like vitamins A & C. They are also a natural anti-oxidant. This means that a dog can get a little benefit from eating the flesh of a cherry. To get any real benefit, though, they would have to eat a lot of cherries. Any benefit this may have for them is not worth it when balanced against the harm that cherries can do.
Because the flesh of a cherry has some nutrients, this theoretically means that your dog can eat the flesh of a cherry and not suffer any bad consequences. However, if dogs eat any forms of fruit, it can upset their stomachs.
If it is a mild case, this is not necessarily bad for your dog. On the other hand, if your dog’s stomach is badly affected and it develops acute diarrhea and vomits a lot, then it could become dehydrated, which is potentially very dangerous.
Another effect that eating cherries may have on a dog is to cause an obstruction in their gut. Because cherry pits are very small, you’d think it more likely that this will happen with small dogs. Occasionally, a larger dog may develop an obstruction, so you really should watch your dog if it eats a cherry, no matter its size.
Presuming your dog will not eat a cherry, it is even more unlikely that it will want to eat the leaves and stems of the fruit. It is just possible, though, that your dog may just be curious or want to play and eat a whole cherry. Of course, this is dangerous because the leaves and stems contain a chemical that is similar to cyanide.
It is possible that your dog may find a bowl of cherry pits and nibble on one of them. You really must do what you can to avoid any of this happening because of the cyanide in the pits.
If your dog does eat a whole cherry, then it is definitely very likely to swallow the pit. It may still be safe because the dog will need to actually break the pit to release the chemical that is the same as cyanide. If your dog does eat a cherry, watch it for any unusual behavior. Preferably, try to avoid it getting hold of cherries at all.
To make sure that your dog is safe from developing acute diarrhea, a bowel obstruction or cyanide poisoning, it is far safer to keep them away from cherries.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Cherries
If you think your dog has eaten cherries, then you should look out for signs of an upset stomach, a blockage, or poisoning.
If your dog eats one or two cherries, then you should watch it closely for signs of an upset stomach. These are mostly vomiting and diarrhea, but your dog may lick its lips, or lick the air, or gulp. Your dog may also be disinterested in food and be very lethargic.
Most upset stomachs can be treated at home by making sure your dog drinks water regularly and feeding them bone broth, not solid food. Bone broth is made by boiling bones in water to get the juices into the water. Making the broth can take some time, though.
If your dog seems to be suffering from a badly upset stomach, then take them to the veterinarian.
If your dog swallows one/two cherry pits, it may lead to an intestinal blockage. This can make your dog vomit often and develop diarrhea. They will usually have a very sore, bloated abdomen and may hunch over or whine.
If you see any of these things in your dog and suspect it may have a blockage, then you must take it to see the veterinarian. It may be necessary to operate to remove the obstruction.
The signs of cyanide poisoning include abnormal breathing, a fast heart rate, seizures or convulsions, and tremors. The dog may also collapse.
If you see any of these signs, then take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. She will set up an iv and feed the nitrates and other drugs that should counteract the poison.
Different forms of cherries
Have you ever paid attention to the different versions cherries come in? There’s the raw fruit, which is most probably what you are used to seeing in the shops. Then there are dried cherries, cherry jam or syrup, glacé cherries, and maraschino cherries.
We don’t even think about adding a cherry to a cocktail, for instance, or putting one on the top of a cupcake. Then there’s a fresh scone with cherry jam and cream. Dried cherries are a really useful energy supplement.
All of these versions of cherries are de-pitted, which means that it would be safe for your dog to eat them, right?
The answer is definitely no.
The thing about all these different forms of cherries is that a lot of sugar has been added to them. Although sugar is not lethal, too much of it can affect your dog’s weight and teeth — and can even lead to diabetes.
What will happen if my dog eats cherries?
If your dog only eats one cherry, it may get an upset stomach and should be fine. If it eats more than one cherry, it may be poisoned by the cyanide in the pits. At best, it will be very sick but will recover; at worst, your dog may die.
What should I do if my dog eats cherries?
If you are absolutely certain your dog has only eaten one cherry, then you should watch it to see if it vomits and has diarrhea. This should be the worst that happens. However, if there is any chance that it has eaten more than one cherry, then take it straight to the veterinarian.
Can Dogs Eat Cherries? No, They Really Shouldn’t
Fruit and dogs just do not seem to go together. Believe it or not, though, there are some fruits that are good for dogs – and some dogs that enjoy eating fruit. There are also some fruits that are potentially deadly for dogs: fruits containing pits.
This includes cherries. Cherry pits contain a chemical that is essentially cyanide, which is a poison that can have a deadly effect. This all means that dogs and cherries really do not go together. Rather keep the cherry treats for yourself.
Want to learn what other fruits your dog can eat? Check out these posts.