Having a cherry tree in your backyard can be a true blessing. These sweet, bite-sized fruits are perfect summer delights.

We use them for pies, smoothies, jams, and even as a sauce for grilled meat. But nothing beats enjoying ripe cherries directly from a tree, if possible.

Cherries are pretty healthy. They’re rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C. But can we share them with our beloved pets? Can dogs eat cherries? 

Yes, but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There are some potential risks you should keep an eye on.

So, read on to find out more:

Cherries 101: The Ultimate Summer Fruit

Cherries are small, round, and delicious, making the list of the most popular summer fruits. These deep-red treats are a type of stone fruit from the Rose family (Rosaceae).

Cherries have excellent nutritional value. They’re a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins A and C. These all-stars come in two variants — sweet and sour. 

But let’s go back to the main question.

Can Dogs Eat Cherries? 

Yes, dogs can eat cherries, but there’s a catch.

They should eat only the flesh. Whole cherries are a big no for dogs as the fruits have hard pits inside, making them dangerous for your pet.

Cherry Leaves, Pits, and Stems Are Toxic

While dogs can enjoy cherry flesh, other parts of the fruit aren’t edible. The leaves, pits, and stems are toxic as they contain trace amounts of cyanide, the chemical compound that can cause poisoning.

The good news is that the cyanide is only released by chewing the dangerous bits, so your pet can still enjoy cherries if you take extreme caution.

Cherry seeds are poisonous to dogs, so always get the seeds out first if you want to give this fruit to your four-legged friend. Never offer your dog cherries with pits, leaves, or stems.

There’s no need to panic if your dog manages to smuggle a cherry or two behind your back. The cyanide concentration in the pits, leaves, and stems is pretty low, so your dog will need to eat quite a bunch to get poisoning.

Always be careful when your dog is around cherries. Dogs love to munch on everything, so with or without pits, cherries won’t stand a chance.

Benefits of Serving Cherries to Your Dog

Cherries are pretty healthy fruits. But what happens when dogs eat cherries? Do they get the same health benefits?

While dogs might not benefit as much from cherries as we do, there are still several good aspects worth mentioning, including:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

If your dog suffers from arthritis, cherries can be helpful. Studies have shown that they can decrease joint inflammation. 

But remember that the anti-inflammatory benefit is only characteristic of sour cherries. Sweet cherries cannot fight off inflammation.

Other fruits from our dog-safe food chart that are popular for their anti-inflammatory effect include:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple

Cherries Can Help With Weight Loss 

Cherries are good for dogs that struggle with weight problems. The fruit is rich in fiber, so it’s an excellent ally in shedding extra pounds.

Nowadays, obesity in dogs is a huge problem. Luckily, these tasty fruits are low in calories and very filling — the ideal summer snack.

Positive Effect on Your Dog’s Eyesight

Cherries contain a lot of vitamin A, so they can positively affect a dog’s eyesight. 

Vitamin A improves dogs’ overall eye health, and it’s particularly beneficial for aging dogs.

Disease Prevention

Since cherries have high antioxidant content, they can help prevent diseases. The antioxidants in them fight free radicals and improve dogs’ immune systems. A strong immune system is the first line of defense from cancers or heart conditions.

Are Cherries Bad for Dogs?

Not really. Cherries won’t cause any harm to your dog if you serve them properly

They’re perfectly fine for your pet when you remove the leaves, stems, and pits. As they contain very few calories and a great deal of water, these tasty fruits are excellent occasional treats.

But like anything in life, there are still some risks.

Bunch of red cherries

Potential Risks of Cherries for Dogs

Although cherries shouldn’t be problematic for dogs when fed properly, they don’t come risk-free. Let’s take a look:

Choking Hazard

If your dog gets its paws on whole cherries, there’s a good chance of choking. Although the pits may seem small, they’re a potential hazard, especially for small dogs.

Cherries can easily get stuck in your dog’s throat, causing air blockage. So, feed your dog only pitted cherries. Don’t allow unsupervised snacking, which can cause more harm than good.

Allergies

Although uncommon, some dogs can develop an allergic reaction. While the fruit isn’t a popular allergy trigger, it’s still possible that some dogs are allergic to cherries.

The common symptoms of cherry intolerance include:

  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss

If you have any suspicions, you can always check your dog for allergies at home. With the help of a testing kit, you’ll get results in no time.

Tooth Damage

Cherries have hard pits that can cause damage to your dog’s teeth. But the troubles don’t stop here.

With 13 grams of sugar per cup, cherries are pretty high in sugar levels. That can lead to tooth decay if you go overboard with cherries and don’t brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

Cyanide Poisoning

The main reason cherry pits are bad for dogs is cyanide poisoning. Although cherry leaves, pits, and stems don’t contain much of it, it’s still a lethal chemical compound.

It’s life-threatening only if your dog breaks the pits by chewing and ingesting a lot of them. But the exact number of cherry pits that can lead to cyanide poisoning depends on the dog’s size.

The pits might go through the digestive tract whole, but are you willing to take the risk? 

Signs of cyanide poisoning typically begin 15–20 minutes after consumption.

The clock is ticking. So if you suspect your dog has eaten too many cherry pits, don’t wait another second. Go to the nearest vet ASAP. 

Upset Stomach

Generally, dogs can eat cherries without seeds, but too many can cause an upset stomach, followed by vomiting or diarrhea. Like any other food, moderation is the key.

Unlike essential vitamins for your dog’s diet, cherries shouldn’t be a part of its regular meals. They aren’t necessary for your pet’s nutrition, so only use them as an occasional treat.

Intestinal Obstruction

Although cherry pits are tiny, they can get stuck in the digestive tract and cause blockage. Small dogs are at greater risk, and even one small cherry pit can cause a big problem.

So, the best thing you could do is stick to pitted cherries. Dogs can eat pitted cherries as long as they don’t gobble down the whole bowl. A few as an occasional snack shouldn’t cause any problems.  

Serving Ideas

Cherries are a tasty addition to your dog’s diet, but be sure to serve them properly. Your dog’s health is essential, so take your time to prepare the fruit.

Regardless of what you plan to do with cherries, always start with a good wash. Step two involves removing the cherry pits, leaves, and stems. Don’t miss this step as they contain a toxin called cyanide.

Since dogs can eat fresh cherries, you can serve them as they are. Raw cherries are an excellent occasional snack, and this is by far the easiest way to introduce them into your dog’s diet.  

But if you are up for a challenge, we have some delicious yet easy ideas on how to serve cherries to your dog.

Make a Smoothie

If your dog loves to wolf down cherries, but you’re afraid that it may choke, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Blend a few cherries with other dog-safe fruits. This way, your dog will get the delicious treat with no risk of choking.

Cherry Popsicles

It’s a hot summer day, and you want to cool down your doggie, but how? As dogs can eat frozen cherries, why don’t you make some refreshing popsicles? Here’s how:

  1. Mash some cherries and other dog-safe fruits in a blender.
  2. Add water or bone broth to thin it a little.
  3. Put the mix in ice cube trays or popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Cherries & Yogurt — The Perfect Combo

If you’re short on time but want to make a delicious snack for your four-legged friend, you can always mix some cherries with yogurt. Plus, yogurt has numerous benefits for your pet.

Homemade Treats

Baking dog treats is another excellent idea to serve your dog some cherries. There are loads of recipes online, so just choose one and start baking.

If you don’t have spare time but still want to surprise your dog with delicious treats, Overby Farm Hip Bones Biscuits on Amazon are a perfect choice.

The Final Verdict

So, can dogs eat cherries?

While there’s some controversy about the topic online, the truth is that dogs can eat cherries. If they’re pitted and don’t have any leaves or stems, cherries are an excellent occasional treat.

Although some strictly classify cherries among the foods dangerous to dogs, they may even have some beneficial effects when fed the right way. They’re great for dogs’ vision, preventing diseases, and reducing inflammation.

But cherries don’t come risk-free. They are a potential choking hazard, can cause intestinal obstruction, and even lead to cyanide poisoning.

Do the risks outweigh the potential benefits? We’ll let you be the judge of that.

FAQ

Can dogs eat Maraschino cherries?

No. Although they’re pitted, Maraschino cherries aren’t suitable for dogs. They’re very high in sugar, which can cause a blood sugar spike, leading to diabetes in the long run.

Can dogs eat dried cherries?

Dried cherries are also a loud no for dogs. They contain loads of sugar, so it’s best to avoid them. This also applies to glacé cherries.

Can dogs eat cherries and cherry pie?

While dogs can eat a few cherries now and then, don’t give them cherry pie. It’s delicious for us, but it often contains butter, artificial sugar, and some bad spices for dogs. Still, you can always bake your own dog-safe pie.

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