Fresh cherries can offer some health benefits to dogs, but pup parents should always make sure they are free of stems, leaves, or pits and that dogs consume them in moderation.
Cherries reach their peak flavor during the Summer months, presenting dog parents with the annual question of if it’s okay to share these tiny stone fruit treats with their pups. Like so many things, fresh cherries offer some health benefits and can be shared with your dog so long as you exercise caution on two points: keep an eye on the volume of cherries your dog is consuming to avoid an upset stomach and never give a dog the stems, leaves, or pits (which many people call a ‘seed’) of a cherry.
The Benefits of Cherries
First, let’s discuss the benefits of cherries for dogs. Fresh cherries contain vitamins (specifically vitamins A and C), minerals, and antioxidants that can be beneficial to dogs. Cherries can also act as a source of healthy fiber. Any health benefits are limited to fresh cherries, however, and do not apply to processed cherries like syrup-sweetened maraschinos or store-bought dried cherries as their elevated sugar content or possible additives outweigh any benefits.
The Risks of Feeding Cherries to Dogs
So, what are the dangers? In a large volume, even fresh cherries can generate digestive problems in dogs given their high levels of naturally occurring sugar. The bigger issue is that cherry stems, leaves, and pits all contain cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. If your pup manages to swipe a single whole cherry from your plate while you aren’t looking, there is likely no reason to panic: monitoring them for intestinal blockages is recommended but unless they are very small or a puppy it’s unlikely that a single cherry pit will contain enough cyanide to result in poisoning. If you suspect that they’ve eaten more than one whole fresh cherry, though, it's best to call your vet for next steps.
If you feed your dog Sundays you can feel good knowing that our Chicken and Beef recipes include a small, safe amount of tart cherry, so that pups can reap the tasty benefits without any of the potentially hazardous pitfalls.