Can dogs eat cherries?

Cherries taste delicious – there's no doubt about that. And they don't just taste good to humans, but to our faithful four-legged friends as well. But can dogs eat cherries safely? TAG24's dog guide will help you out.

Cherries are tasty to most dogs, and eating them in moderation and without stems and pits is not a problem.
Cherries are tasty to most dogs, and eating them in moderation and without stems and pits is not a problem.  © 123RF/ksuksa

There are many foods that are toxic to dogs, but now dog owners can breathe a sign of relief: cherries are not one of them.

Yes, dogs can eat the sweet and sour red fruit, but only pitted cherries!

Cherries are not only delicious, but also a valuable source of nutrients. They contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B, calcium and magnesium. These also support a dog's heath.

But there are a few important things to keep in mind:

1. It is especially important to feed a dog cherries without pits. Cherry pits contain amygdalin, which can be converted to prussic acid in the body, and can be poisonous to an animal. Any stems should also be removed.

2. The animal should not eat too many cherries, because excessive consumption can cause digestive problems.

Yet, cherries in moderation should be just fine for pups.

Are cherry pits bad for dogs?

Dogs only should eat cherries without the pit. Cherry seeds do not contain prussic acid outright – as many believe – but amygdalin, which releases prussic acid during digestion and can have a toxic effect.

Poisonous amounts can be felt more prominently in smaller and very young dogs.

Yet, prussic acid in toxic doses is only reached if you crack open the pits. People usually do not do this when eating, but dogs possibly can because they have a much stronger jaw than humans and can bite open the pits easily. Therefore, dogs are at risk of developing poisoning symptoms after eating just a few cherry pits.

If a dog swallows a cherry pit whole, there is normally no health risk due to prussic acid, because the cherry pit is excreted undigested. But since it may be unclear if a dog has bitten into a pit, it is better to nix the cherries' pits before feeding them to your pup.

What to do if your dog ate a cherry pit

If your dog has swallowed a cherry pit, especially a large quantity, it's best to call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline. Both can help you access the situation.

You may need to induce vomiting or bring your pet in for professional medical help.

Poisoning can make your dog sick very quickly, so if you're unsure, don't delay in seeking assistance.

It's best to not leave your dog unattended, where they might get the chance to eat too many cherries with pits!
It's best to not leave your dog unattended, where they might get the chance to eat too many cherries with pits!  © 123RF/ksuksa

Dogs can eat cherries in small quantities

As mentioned, cherries can be healthy for dogs. In addition to vitamins and minerals, they contain fiber as well as secondary plant compounds, AKA lots of substances from which dogs will benefit in terms of health.

It's important to not give your fluffy friend too much fruit, because large amounts can have unpleasant or even painful consequences for dogs, such as:

  • Passing gas
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Digestive problems

Dogs can eat a small handful of cherries a day, at a maximum. So feel free to offer your dog a few cherries as a treat, or even as a reward during training. But beware of any cherry gorging, as the sweet stuff can quickly turn sour!

Cover photo: 123RF/ksuksa

More on the topic Dog Guide: