Can Dogs Eat Cherries? - DogGear

Can Dogs Eat Cherries?

Many people don’t realize just how many human foods are safe for dogs. We are taught that dogs should only eat dog food, that human foods area bad for them, and that they should stick to a wholly carnivorous diet.

In truth though, there are lots of fruits, vegetables, meats, and other snacks that you can safely give to your dog. These include:

  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries

And many others!

Giving your dog some of these treats can provide them with a dose of extra nutrients in the form of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and more. And those things in turn can help to boost their immunity, their energy levels, their healing, their bone health… and much more!

But while all this is true, it’s also true that giving your dogs the wrong foods can be very harmful. And one example of this? Cherries. Unfortunately, to answer the question in this title, dogs should not eat cherries. In fact, doing so can be very bad for them.

In this post, we’ll take a look at why that is, whether there are any exemptions, and what some safe alternatives might include.

Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Cherries

First: why not cherries? What is the problem with them?

The issue here is that cherries contain a toxin that you may be familiar with if you’ve read any spy literature: cyanide!

Cyanide is a poison that is used in fiction by spies to commit suicide following an unsuccessful mission! Now, there is nowhere near enough cyanide in a cherry to have this immediate and fatal effect. But that said, there is enough that it can build up and then become a problem over time or when enough cherries are consumed. And remember that dogs are a lot smaller than humans. So while it’s a tiny amount of cyanide for us, if ingested in high qualities, it can build up to the point where it is a problem for dogs.

The cyanide is found in the pits, leaves, and stems of cherries. So, cherries are much safer to eat if these things are removed, but there are a few other reasons dogs shouldn’t eat cherries. The first reason is that the pits can be a choking hazard if they are not removed.

Another reason is that cherries are also very rich in sugar. You no doubt know this if you have eaten many yourself – they are often used on top of cakes for this very reason!

And while this makes cherries very sweet and delicious, it also makes them calorific and a diabetes risk for dogs. If dogs eat a lot of cherries, then this can spike their blood sugar to a large degree. The body responds by releasing insulin and while this isn’t an issue in the short term, if the same process keeps repeating over and over, then it can eventually lead to the body becoming desensitized and losing its ability to produce that insulin or to use it effectively. This is what causes diabetes.

Likewise, eating lots of sugar can cause direct damage to your dog. It can damage the nerves, for instance, and may even lead to vision issues if consumed in very large quantities. On top of this, eating lots of sugar can lead to weight gain by increasing calories – sugar is just energy and if the body doesn’t use that energy, then it needs to store it somehow. Bodies do this by storing excess sugar as fat. If weight gain is a problem for you dog, explore these weight loss dog foods to get your pup back down to an ideal weight!

As though all that wasn’t enough, sugar also causes tooth problems. So it’s just better not to give your dog something so sweet!

One more thing to consider about cherries is that they are high in melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, and as such, cherries can make you drowsy. This is no big problem for people, but for dogs who are much smaller it can once again be more pronounced. Dogs don’t generally like feeling that dozy and drugged, so again… better to just avoid cherries!

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Cherries

If your dog eats a couple of cherries off the floor, then there is no reason to be alarmed. Chances are that the amount of cyanide they have ingested isn’t going to be enough to pose any serious threat to their health. Likewise, there isn’t enough sugar in here to cause any kind of immediate danger.

With that said, if your dog should eat more than a couple of cherries, then they may be in danger. In this case, the best thing to do is to phone your vet and see what their advice is. They might recommend that you bring your dog in to be looked at, or they might recommend that you feed them a saline solution. This means giving them water mixed with salt, which you can do by using a syringe. That will stimulate the gag reflex and help your dog to bring up the contents of their stomach – including the cherries!

You should of course also look out for choking if your dog ate cherries with the pits in. If they are having any difficulty breathing, take them to the vet immediately.


It’s a shame that cherries aren’t recommended for dogs, seeing as they are rich in a number of highly beneficial nutrients. Cherries contain antioxidants, they’re rich in vitamin A and C, and they also contain a good amount of fiber (though this is less beneficial for dogs).

Antioxidants are particularly good for dogs and humans and help to combat the effects of free radicals in the body. These travel through our system and cause damage when they come into contact with cells – eventually leading to premature aging and even cancer when they manage to damage the DNA. Antioxidants fight against this while also reducing the likelihood of heart difficulties, improving brain function, and generally helping us to function at our very best.

The goods news is that while you shouldn’t give your dog cherries, you can still get many of these same benefits from other fruits. In particular, blackberries and blueberries are great for dogs and are similarly rich in antioxidants. Likewise, these are another great source of vitamin C which strengthens the immune system, helps to improve your dog’s mood, and much more.

To help your dog benefit from these berries, take just a few and then scatter them into your dog’s usual dinner. While these types of fruit are safe for dogs, you still shouldn’t overdo it and should aim to keep the intake of those fruits to just a few as an occasional treat – otherwise you can end up giving them too much sugar.

Another thing to consider is that your dog can eat carrots as a source of vitamin A. This will improve their skin, help to boost their vision, and protect against macular degeneration. Carrots are also an ideal source of fiber for dogs and can help them to clean their teeth by scraping against the enamel as they eat. You can feed a dog carrot by breaking it up into small bits and putting it in their food, or just feeding them raw from your hand!

So, cherries aren’t so good for your dog, but your heart is in the right place. And all these other options are much safer!


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