Are Cherry Pits Bad For Dogs? A Few Alternatives

dog sniffing a cherry

Cherry pits contain cyanide, which means they are bad for dogs. If your dog ate a couple cherry pits, you likely have nothing to worry about. However, when consumed in large doses, cyanide poisoning can occur. It’s best to avoid cherry pits altogether. 

Dogs are notorious beggars. Despite eating high-quality kibble, they always want a taste of your food. It’s nearly impossible to ignore a begging dog. How can you say “no” to those big eyes? 

Unfortunately, not all human food is safe for dogs and can cause problems ranging from an upset stomach to death. Many people assume that just because they can eat certain foods, their dog can eat those foods as well. Sadly, this is not always the case.
 Cherries are a snack that humans like to share with their dogs. Cherries are full of fiber and vitamins, so many would assume they’re great for dogs. But are cherries a safe snack for your pup? 

The short answer is no, but the full answer is a bit more complicated than that.

Can Dogs Eat Cherries?

As mentioned earlier, the short answer to this question is no. But this requires a bit more explanation. 

Cherries are full of nutrients like vitamins A and C. These are essential nutrients that a dog (and humans) needs to be healthy. 

Cherry flesh is usually safe and contains all these nutrients. Nevertheless, cherry flesh is known to make some dogs sick, so this isn’t a great option. But even if your dog can stomach cherry flesh, the real problem is in the pits.

Why Cherry Pits Are Bad For Dogs

Although cherry pits are full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, they are also full of cyanide, which is deadly to dogs. 

A single cherry may be fine, but eating many could be fatal to the dog. Human stomachs are built differently than dog stomachs, which explains why we can “stomach” the cyanide from cherries, but dogs can’t.

Cyanide is found in all parts of the cherry, except the flesh. Therefore, your dog should not eat cherry pits, stems, or leaves, as these are all toxic to dogs. 

As mentioned earlier, the flesh may be a safe option, but some dogs still get sick from it. It might not be worth it to give cherry flesh to your dog.

Not only are cherry pits toxic, they can also cause intestinal obstruction. Even if your dog has only eaten one or two cherries, he could still be at risk of intestinal obstruction. 

The risk is greater in small dogs, but it is still good to be cautious. Signs of intestinal obstruction include constipation, decreased appetite, and vomiting.

Are All Cherries Toxic to Dogs?

Does this mean that all cherries are toxic to dogs? What about maraschino cherries? Or cherries without pits? 

These cherries may be better options for dogs since they don’t have pits, but feeding dogs these cherries can still cause stomach problems.

Sugar content is also an issue. Cherries are very high in sugar, and too much sugary food in your dog’s diet can lead to diabetes.

Products that are cherry-flavored are also risky. These products are usually very processed, full of sugar, chemicals, artificial ingredients, and not safe for dogs.

Even foods that are flavored with real cherries and contain natural ingredients can be full of sugar. 

Cherries are a very risky treat for dogs. Though this news is disappointing, you should not feed your dog cherries or anything cherry-flavored. 

If you still want to feed your dog small cherry-sized fruits, you have plenty of options. More on that later. First, let’s talk about what to do if your dog eats a cherry pit.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Cherry Pit

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and sometimes your dog ingests harmful substances. Maybe your dog saw you eating cherries and wanted one too. There’s probably no need to worry if your dog only ate one or two. 

However, it is still a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of diarrhea, vomiting, and intestinal blockage, as some dogs become sick from just one or two cherries. 

Smaller dogs are more sensitive to cherries, so you need to be more alert if you have a small dog.

If your dog ate a bunch of cherries, then he could be at risk of cyanide poisoning. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning in dogs include trouble breathing, red gums, and dilated pupils. 

Call your vet and keep an eye on your dog for these symptoms if you know he ate a bunch of cherries.

Safe Cherry Alternatives

As mentioned earlier, even though cherries are a risk to dogs, there are many other  “bite-sized” fruits they can safely eat. 

Blueberries

Blueberries are an excellent option for dogs because, like cherries, they are packed with antioxidants and fiber. To top it all off, they are low in calories! 

The nutrients in blueberries help support your dog’s immune system. Fresh, frozen, dried, it doesn’t matter. Blueberries are safe for dogs in all forms. 

The only downside of blueberries is that they can be a choking hazard, so make sure to monitor your dog when feeding him blueberries.

Cranberries

Cranberries are full of vitamins C, E, and K1, all essential vitamins for both humans and dogs. 

Like cherries and blueberries, they are full of fiber and antioxidants. Portion control is vital, though, because feeding your dog too many cranberries can lead to an upset stomach.

Both regular and dried cranberries are safe for your dog. However, be cautious when giving your dog dried cranberries. They often get mixed with other fruits, such as raisins, which are toxic to dogs. 

Also, don’t give your dog your leftover cranberry juice or holiday cranberry sauce as those usually contain sugar and other unhealthy additives.

Strawberries

Strawberries are a perfect snack for your dog. As with blueberries and cranberries, strawberries are full of fiber and vitamin C. They are also full of Omega-3s, vitamins B1, B6, and K, potassium, iodine, magnesium, and folic acid. Strawberries also contain an enzyme that helps whiten your dog’s teeth.

The only downside to strawberries is that they contain a lot of sugar, so moderation is important. 

As with cherries, you should not give your dog anything that is strawberry-flavored. Most of these products are processed and full of sugar which will hurt your dog’s health. 

To help your dog get all the benefits of strawberries, you just need to occasionally feed them a few small pieces.

Peaches

Peaches are a great source of vitamin A, which is good for the eyes and skin. However, just like cherries, peaches have cyanide in their pits. 

If you feed your dog peaches, make sure to thoroughly remove the pit beforehand. Since peaches are a bigger fruit, it is best to cut the peach into smaller slices before feeding it to your dog.

Cherry Pits are Harmful

Sharing food with your pet is an excellent way to bond. Unfortunately, not all human food is safe or easily digestible to dogs. 

Cherry pits are on the list of harmful foods. But fear not, there are still plenty of human food options that you can share with your dog. 

If you want to know which foods are safe for your dog, do some research online or have a talk with your vet. There are plenty of foods that dogs can enjoy safely. 

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