What’s your favorite fruit? Blueberries are high up on my list! For starters, they’re delicious (I love snacking on them straight out of a bowl). Plus, they’re super healthy. Packed with antioxidants, key vitamins, and minerals, blueberries are called one of the most nutrient-dense berries on the planet. While it’s clear blueberries are great for us humans, the real question is: Can dogs eat blueberries?
Short answer: Yes!
Nutritional Facts For Blueberries
When feeding blueberries to your pooch, moderation is key. So, you won’t be feeding your pup 1 cup in one sitting. But, to keep things simple, let’s take a look at the nutritional facts for 1 cup of blueberries (according to the USDA):
- 84% water
- Calories 84
- Protein 1.1g
- Fat 0.49g
- Dietary fiber 3.6 g
- Potassium 114 mg
- Calcium 8.9 mg
- Magnesium 8.89 mg
- Vitamin C 14.4 mg (Get this: One cup of blueberries has almost a quarter of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C for humans)
- Vitamin K 28.6 µg
- Beta Carotene 47.4 µg
Blueberries are most recognized for their rich amounts of antioxidants and beneficial plant-based compounds. Let’s take a closer look:
Antioxidants protect against cell damage caused by oxidation (AKA when oxygen interacts with the body’s cells). When this happens, the body produces something called free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells. If there are too many free radicals in the body, it can damage your dog’s DNA and lead to chronic disease. Experts link free radicals to various illnesses, including cancer.
Okay, now for some good news …
Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels compared to other popular fruits and veggies. One antioxidant in blueberries is called anthocyanins. They belong to a large family of polyphenols called flavonoids. Anthocyanins give blueberries their beautiful color and are believed to be responsible for much of their health benefits.
The Health Benefits Of Blueberries
- Fight Free Radicals – As I mentioned above, the antioxidants in blueberries help fight free radicals, which lead to cellular damage in both dogs and humans.
- Help Fight Cancer – Here’s a sad statistic: According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. Research shows the antioxidants in blueberries can help lower the risks of many kinds of cancer by reducing cancer cell growth and increase apoptosis (cancer cell death).
- Boost Brain Health – Blueberries are known to improve cognitive health in humans, but did you know experts say they have a similar impact on our pups?! Studies show that adding antioxidants to a dog’s diet can help slow the brain’s aging process.
- Lower Chronic Inflammation – Chronic inflammation is at the root of almost all diseases. Studies show the antioxidants in blueberries (remember those anthocyanins?) help control inflammation.
- Improve Heart Health – Eating blueberries reportedly helps lower blood pressure and improve vascular function.
- Benefits Eye Health – As dogs age, it’s not uncommon for them to develop eye issues. Researchers claim the nutrients in blueberries, such as vitamin C, can actually help preserve their healthy eyes!
- Manage Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) – Did you know dogs can get UTIs? Yup, they can! I even wrote a whole article on the topic, which you can check out here. Now here’s another question for you: When you think of UTIs, does the image of cranberries immediately pop into your mind? Turns out, blueberries are another food that can promote a healthy urinary tract. The nutrients in blueberries reportedly help to stop bacteria like E.coli from binding to the urinary tract wall and causing infection.
How To Feed Blueberries To Your Pooch
Since a lot of beneficial antioxidants are concentrated in the fruit’s skin, you’ll want to feed your pup the whole berry. With that said, to minimize pesticides, fresh, organic blueberries are the best. Always rinse them before serving them to your family (that includes human and canine members).
If you feed your dog a fresh food diet then you can easily add some blueberries right into your pup’s bowl. I personally feed my dogs The Farmer’s Dog (which is a lightly cooked, fresh food delivery service that offers human-grade meats and veggies). When I have them in the house, I love to add two or three blueberries to their meal. To avoid a possible choking hazard, I like to crush the blueberries before adding them to my dogs’ meals.
If you feed a processed kibble diet, mixing some fresh blueberries into those little brown bits can also be a great way to bump up the nutritional value.
I love adding blueberries to treats. If you have my cookbook, Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes, check out my Blue Bones biscuit recipe on page 47. In that recipe, I mix pureed blueberries with a blend of gluten-free flours to create a crunchy biscuit.
You can also find blueberries in my Salmon Jello! Check it out:
Another simple treat recipe that incorporates blueberries is THIS Frozen Brain Booster bite. All you do is freeze coconut oil, almond butter, and blueberries in a silicone mold of your choice and voilá!
Of course, if your pup loves fresh blueberries, they also make a great treat on their own!
When it comes to feeding blueberries to your pooch, moderation is key. Overfeeding can result in a tummyache and digestive upset. So, start off by offering just a few and keep an eye on your dog to see how he handles them. A good rule of thumb is: 2-4 blueberries for every 10 pounds of body weight per day. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your veterinarian!