Can Dogs Eat Cherries? When it is or isn’t an Emergency
Cherries are closer to the bottom of our list of recommended fruits for dogs. The flesh itself isn’t toxic to dogs but other parts including the pit are dangerous to pets.
Why cherries are bad or unsafe for dogs
First, did you know that cherries are part of the dirty dozen list? This means they are considered one of twelve fruits and vegetables with the largest exposure to pesticide. This was based on a study done by EWG as part of their shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce. For the benefit of your dog’s long-term health, you should try to limit the amount of pesticide they may consumer through fruits like cherries. Of course, this can be avoided if you were to find a produce that is truly organic.
The flesh of the cherry is safe for dogs to eat but the same can’t be said for other parts including the stem and the pit. Both of these parts contain cyanide compounds which are toxic to animals. The pit can also increase the risk of obstruction in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract since they aren’t really digestible.
What to do if your dog eats a whole cherry
How much of a risk one whole cherry could have on your dog’s health would depend on a number of factors like the dog’s age, size, and health status. If your dog is a puppy or small in size then a call to the vet would be recommended as the pit may cause the dog to choke.
Bigger dogs, on the other hand, are likely to be okay after eating one or two whole cherries. That said, you should watch over your dog carefully for the next few days to make sure he is not showing any sign of distress. If you are ever at doubt, call the vet for advice and whether a visit is necessary.
To know what other fruits and vegetables are or aren’t safe for dogs to eat, check out our human food for dogs database. You can find 100+ human food items that dogs should or shouldn’t eat.
Can dogs eat dried cherries?
Cherries (without the pit) are safe for dogs to eat in moderation but you do need to be extra careful with dried or preserved cherries. Some dried cherry products may come with additional ingredients or additives that aren’t healthy for dogs.
For example, some dried cherry products may come with additional sugar, which isn’t good for your dog’s stomach given the amount of natural sugar the actual cherry already contains. As a result, dogs that eat too many dried cherries may end up with digestive symptoms like stomach upsets.
If you check the label of some dried cherry products, some might say that the cherries may come with an occasional pit, pit fragment, or stem. These parts can be toxic to dogs. To avoid any health risk, we would just let your dog eat fresh cherries instead as an occasional treat. Make sure the toxic parts are discarded before you serve the cherries to your dog.
How many cherry pits are toxic to dogs?
Dog owners need to be careful with fruits like cherries because the pit and seed is considered toxic to dogs. The amount of cherry pits to make a dog sick will depend on a number of factors such as the size of the dog and the type of cherries the dog consumed.
As you may already know, cherry pits are dangerous to dogs for two reasons. First, they can become obstruction hazards because they aren’t easily digestible. Second, they contain compounds that break down into hydrogen cyanide, which is toxic to dogs.
According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, cyanide is considered lethal for most animal species at 2 mg per kg of body weight. Based on some high-level calculations using the data from this document, a dog that weighs about 20 kg would need to eat quite a large amount of pits from the cherries (assuming all pits break down in the dog’s body) before any fatal effects kick in.
That said, we would be super cautious, even with large dogs that accidentally eat one or two cherry pits. You should consider calling the vet for professional advice should you find yourself in such a situation where your dog eats some cherry pits.