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Can Dogs Eat Blueberries? The Nutrition Notes of This Tiny Superfood

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Superfoods give you the bonus of extra nutrients and antioxidants. And some of them meet with wider appeal than others. (For instance, kale seems to go on recall A LOT) Blueberries are one of the most popular superfoods. They’re small, sweet, low in calories, high in fiber, and they work with EVERYTHING. You can snack on them raw without feeling guilty. Or you can mix them in oatmeal, smoothies, or yogurt for breakfast. They don’t seem out of place in summer salads. And you can even work blueberries into desserts! (No one’s put kale into a dessert yet) That versatility probably has you wondering whether it’s okay if dogs eat blueberries. And it’s fine! These little fruits are safe summer treats for canines – as long as you’re careful.


Vaccinium spp. are North American shrubs that produce blue or purple berries. (You also find bilberries, cranberries, and huckleberries in the same genus) The berries show up year after year – provided they’re cared for properly. In the early days of the country, New England whalers used blueberries as a source of dye. Of course, now people enjoy them as snacks (though they work nicely as a dye, if you’ve ever looked at your fingers after snacking).

While higher in calories than watermelon, blueberries provide plenty of health benefits. They don’t contain the same water content, leaving room for extra fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. This is why they’re such a powerhouse in a tiny package. A 1 cup serving of raw blueberries contains:

  • Calories: 84
  • Carbohydrates: 21.4g
  • Minerals:
    • Calcium: 8.9mg
    • Iron: 0.4mg
    • Magnesium: 8.9mg
    • Phosphorous: 17.8mg
  • Protein: 1.1g
  • Sodium: 1.5mg
  • Vitamins:
    • A: 2%
    • B6: 4%
    • C: 24%
    • E: 4%
    • K: 36%

And fat? Try a measly 0.5g! But that isn’t why people flock to mix blueberries into their diet. What people want are the phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are plant-based compounds that provide the blueberries with protection against bacteria and viruses. And they behave as antioxidants in humans AND canines. When dogs eat blueberries, they gain protection against free radicals in their bodies. Free radicals can lead to cellular damage. Blueberries also have anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give the berries their distinctive blue color. But the natural plant compound is also another antioxidant. These natural plant chemicals give blueberries their superfood status.

Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?

So can dogs eat blueberries? You bet! These little blue powerhouses provide canines with PLENTY of health benefits – and there are studies to back up the claims. In 2002, scientists looked at antioxidant repair in the canine brain. Dogs fed diets that included antioxidants – such as blueberries – showed a slow in the development of cognitive dysfunction (canine dementia). And in 2006, another study focused on sled dogs eating blueberries following their exercise routine. The vitamins and minerals – and probably the antioxidants – allowed the dogs to recover MUCH faster. Their muscles benefited from the addition of the berries to their diet.

Many dog food diets for active dogs include blueberries. The superfood blends support muscle recovery, boost the immune system, and improve brain health. And you get the same results when you offer these blue fruits as a snack. But there are a few warnings that come with blueberries. So hold off on planting a row of shrubs just yet.

When dogs eat blueberries, they get multiple antioxidants

Precautions When Dogs Eat Blueberries

One of the most amazing things about blueberries is how something so small holds so much. Unhappily, that’s the kicker: they’re TINY. And while a giant breed dog can inhale a blueberry without a problem, they pose a choking hazard for smaller breeds. Where, ordinarily, you may not think you need to cut them up when dogs eat blueberries, the size of your pup may dictate otherwise.

Also, blueberries ARE superfoods, but they’re also fruits. And fruits contain natural sugars (14.7g in this case). It’s tempting to offer your dog an entire bowl so you can pack on the antioxidants, but that’s too much sugar for a pup to handle. A few blueberries here and there are fine, but don’t make them part of the regular rotation unless you want to put your dog at risk for diabetes. You may want to consider rotating in a lower-sugar fruit instead.

You’ll also want to ration amounts due to the blueberry’s fiber content (3.6g). Fiber’s healthy for dogs (and us), but if you go overboard, you’ll end up with one sick canine. They’ll come down with bouts of diarrhea. This is of particular concern if you plant blueberries in your yard. Once dogs get a taste for blueberries – and learn they’re safe snacks – they often help themselves. Make sure you set up barriers to prevent gorging.

Safe Ways for Dogs to Eat Blueberries

You know it’s okay for dogs to eat blueberries, but you want to do so safely. What’s the best way? First, skip ANY baked goods. They’re going to contain too much sugar. And they may not have blueberries at all. Sometimes companies use artificial blueberry flavoring. It TASTES like blueberry, but you don’t get ANY superfood benefits. And NO blueberry yogurt. The sugar levels are much too high.


It IS okay when dogs eat blueberries without any special preparation. (Well, other than a quick rinse, of course) As long as you make sure your dog won’t choke on the berry, you’re in the clear. If you have a tiny pup, consider cutting the blueberry into pieces. You won’t change any of the health benefits – promise.

You WILL want to portion out how many blueberries you allow your dog to snack on. As a general rule, dog treat calories shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their diet. Once you’ve calculated that amount for your dog’s size, you know how many berries it’s okay to offer. And if you’re giving blueberries, skip other treats.


Nothing’s better during the summer than a frozen treat. Obviously, a frozen blueberry still presents a choking hazard, but you can make a frozen blueberry treat that’s safe for any size canine to enjoy. Puree the berries and mix them with PLAIN non-fat yogurt or water. Then pour the mixture into an ice cube tray (or other mold). Ta-dah! Instant frozen blueberry snack. If you use yogurt, offer the treats on occasion as dogs and dairy don’t always mix.


You’d like your dog to eat blueberries, but you’re worried about the choking concern. No problem! Simply take the amount of blueberries you want to offer and mash them into a soft, chunky paste. Then you can mix it into their food or offer it in a bowl on its own. Your dog still gets the same superfood punch – worry-free!

Superfood Express

Blueberries earned their spot on the superfood list with plenty of other nutrient-dense options. And with their ability to keep minds and muscles healthy, it’s not a problem for dogs to eat blueberries. As long as you mind possible choking hazards – and watch those portion sizes – your dog can savor this summer treat. Everyone will stay healthy and enjoy a guilt-free snack!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn’t a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals.

After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study.

Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania’s small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum’s vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn’s vet students.

With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make.

New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine
Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn’t disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions.

And a few memories stood out and remained to this day:

  • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY
  • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill
  • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life

Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine
Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining “real life” experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital.

However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered – staff, clients, and patients alike – left a lasting impression.

Additional standout moments included:

  • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program
  • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit
  • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge)

Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician
Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician – first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT).

Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient’s stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape.

With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations.

Cardiology Veterinary Technician
With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted.

She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern.

And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

Check out Andria’s LinkedIn here

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