Health & Wellness
Dog training can be challenging for both your pet and you, so if you’re looking for a reward that you both can enjoy (and deserve!), look no further than cherries. Just make sure you are serving them correctly, as not all parts of a cherry — like the stem, leaves and pit — are safe for dogs to eat.
Here’s everything pet parents need to know about this fruit and your dog’s safety.
(Even though cherries are generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.)
Cherries are full of nutrients, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says. However, when served as a treat, your pup’s health won’t be drastically impacted by those benefits. She reminds pet parents that treats, including cherries, shouldn’t exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calories. These vitamins and nutrients that are in cherries can’t hurt, though:
Unfortunately, there is a possibility that any treat can cause your pup to feel sick if it doesn’t sit well with them or is consumed wrong. “Cherries may cause gastrointestinal upset, like vomiting, diarrhea and decreased appetite, an intestinal obstruction or cyanide poisoning,” Dr. McCullough says.
It’s important to note that not all parts of the cherry are safe for dogs, she adds. Cherry stems, leaves and pits contain cyanide, which is toxic for dogs. Those parts are also super fibrous, which can cause dogs to experience an upset stomach. Not only do the cherry pits contain poisonous ingredients, but they can also be a choking hazard for dogs.
Watch out for these common signs of choking if you think your dog ate a cherry pit:
“If a dog is choking, pet parents should perform the Heimlich maneuver and immediately get their pet to an emergency veterinarian,” Dr. McCullough recommends.
RELATED: Can dogs eat pears?
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Remove the stems, seeds and leaves before giving cherries to your dog, Dr. McCullough explains. “Pet parents should offer only small amounts sparingly, so it does not unbalance their main diet,” she adds. “For specific instructions, pet parents should talk with their veterinarians about the appropriate amount to offer.”
While raw cherries are generally safe for dogs to eat (as long as the stem, leaves and pits are removed), avoid dried cherries, Dr. McCullough says. “Dried cherries typically contain high amounts of sugar and are not generally recommended for dogs.”
According to Dr. McCullough, frozen cherries should be kept away from dogs as they’re a choking hazard.
Maraschino cherries, even though they have the pit removed, should not be served to your dog because of their high sugar content, Dr. McCullough explains.
Black cherries are generally OK for dogs to enjoy, as long as the stem, leaves and pits are removed, Dr. McCullough says.
If your pup has an adverse reaction to any cherry, Dr. McCullough says to contact your veterinarian immediately.
We’re confident that cherries aren’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.
The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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