Can Dogs Eat Cherries?
Cherries are a delightfully tart and sweet late-summer fruit, enjoyed fresh as a snack, in pies, cakes, and jams, and as a garnish for cocktails and sweet drinks.
But, of course, you’re not here for cherry recipes. If you’re reading this, your dog has probably snatched a cherry and gobbled it up, and you want to know: can dogs eat cherries?
Short answer: Yes! If your dog has already eaten a cherry, don’t worry, they will be fine. However, there’s more to the story than we can cover in an intro, so let’s take a closer look at dogs and cherries.
Are Cherries Safe for Dogs?
The fresh, unprocessed flesh of cherries is completely safe for dogs, and some dogs even enjoy the flavor. However, the pits, stems, and leaves of cherries contain cyanide, a highly toxic and possibly lethal chemical. One, two, or even three cherry pits won’t give your dog cyanide poisoning, so don’t stress if they’ve already eaten a few.
The bigger risk to your dog when they eat a few cherry pits is an intestinal blockage. Smaller dogs are more likely to experience a blockage as the result of ingesting cherry pits, but you should keep an eye on your dog regardless of size if you know they have eaten cherry pits in the last 48 hours. Some signs of intestinal blockage include:
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
- Decreased or difficulty defecating
- Decreased appetite
Cherry Poisoning in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment
While rare, dogs that eat large amounts of cherries may be at risk for cyanide poisoning. Colloquially called “cherry poisoning”, cyanide poisoning can be fatal, but it is extremely unlikely that your dog will have been able to eat enough cherries to be at serious risk.
Cherry pits contain a relatively small amount of cyanide, but if your dog has consumed an entire bag or more of cherries, you should keep an eye out for signs of possible poisoning.
- Respiratory problems
- Bright red gums
- Watering eyes
- Bowel or bladder incontinence
If your dog has eaten enough cherry pits that you are concerned they may be at risk for cyanide poisoning, contact your vet immediately.
Nutritional Value of Cherries
Dogs should not be eating enough cherry flesh that they will benefit from any of the nutritional value of cherries. Because the pits are potentially toxic or could cause intestinal blockage, it’s better not to share these fruits with your dog, and find a healthier option instead.
How To Safely Feed Cherries to Dogs
If you insist on sharing a bite of cherry with your dog, you must remove the stem and seed. Only the flesh of the fruit is safe to share with your dog, and you should keep un-pitted cherries far out of reach.
Can Dogs Eat Cherries? The FAQ
Looking for an answer to a specific question? Here are some of the common questions asked by dog owners like you.
Can Dogs Eat Cherries Without Pits?
Yes. Dogs can eat fresh, unprocessed cherries without the pits as long as the leaves and stems have also been removed.
How Many Cherries Can A Dog Eat?
Limit your dog to just a couple of cherries. Larger dogs may have 3-4 cherries, while you should limit small dogs to just 1 or 2. It’s not a good idea to feed lots of this fruit to your dog, both because cherries are not a sufficient source of nutrients for dogs, and because you don’t want your dog to get a taste for cherries and start seeking them out.
How Many Cherries Are Toxic To Dogs?
Remember, only the pits, stems, and leaves of the cherry are toxic to dogs. Your dog would need to eat a lot of cherry pits to be at risk for cyanide poisoning, but it is possible. If your dog has eaten more than just a few cherry pits in a row, it’s a good idea to contact your vet. They will be able to advise you and give you the next steps to ensure your pup is safe and comfortable.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Yogurt?
Maybe. Some dogs are extremely sensitive to lactose and may react badly to the milk in yogurt. If your dog does not have lactose sensitivity, you’ll need to make sure the yogurt does not contain any harmful additives. An example of a toxic ingredient you need to look out for is xylitol, now re-branded as “birch sugar.” Natural, whole ingredient yogurt is fine to share in small amounts with your dog.
How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Pass A Cherry Pit?
Depending on how many pits your dog has eaten, and what their usual bowel movements are like, it could take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours for your dog to pass the pit.
Rocky Kanaka is an entrepreneur, pet rescue advocate and dog dad to a rescue boxer named Flip, a blind Cane Corso called Kobe, and a terrier mix named Zoey. He's also a pet chef and owner of The Dog Bakery, which specializes in dog birthday cakes
and fresh baked dog treats. His three dogs can't get enough of the dog cakes and treats!
Lorna Paxton Ladd is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast of The Dog Bakery. She loves spoiling her 3 rescue dogs with dog cakes
and jerky. A 15 year veteran in the pet industry, her aim is to educate pet parents on the best recipes, products, tips and tricks to optimize the human/canine bond. Her favorite product at The Dog Bakery are the customizable dog birthday cakes.