Sweet, tarty, and juicy – these are the things that best describe the fruit of the bramble or blackberries. They have a citrus-like flavor and can get slightly bitter at times. The taste of blackberries is actually a bit tricky but one thing is for sure: they are bursting with goodness because of all the nutrients!
Even our dogs can’t help but delight in this amazingly nutritious fruit. If you have bramble in your backyard, it should not come as a surprise if your dog scoffs down the ripe ones from the lower branches. Yes, most pets are smart enough to pick and eat them without getting a thorn stuck in their mouth.
But are blackberries safe for doggies in the first place? Can dogs eat those tiny berries without any ill effects? We will find out!
Can Dogs Have Blackberries?
Did you know that not all berries are safe for dogs? Certain berries such as cherries, holly berries, baneberries, and mistletoe berries are poisonous to dogs. Luckily, blackberries are not among the “berries” you should avoid.
Just a fun fact, blackberries are not technically berries. In the world of botany, blackberries are not considered to be berries but drupes. In fact, their composition is more similar to peaches and almonds than to other berries.
They are categorized as aggregate fruits meaning they are made up of a lot of many little fruits. A piece of blackberry contains as many as 80-100 drupelets. Blackberries are also sometimes called clump berries because they are like miniature clusters of grapes.
If blackberries are good for doggies, then what quantity is considered to be safe? Half a cup of raw blackberries is enough to keep Fido satisfied. You may offer it regularly, given that your dog does not react after consuming them.
Many dog owners actually give their pets blackberries on a regular basis or allow Fido to pick them from the bushes. Just be cautious when picking them with your dog as he could harm himself in the tangled prickly shrub if he’s not careful.
Apparently, it’s much better if you know where the blackberries come from. Eating blackberries from an unknown source, unless they are from a grocery store, can cause some health problems.
This is because some may have nasty chemicals that can harm you and your pet. Eating fruits which have been sprayed with pesticides can be risky. Washing your blackberries before serving them to Fido at least reduces the pesticide residue. So as always, wash those berries before eating them!
All in all, be wise in feeding blackberries to your pet. Too many of them can cause him a stomach ache. In case the dog ends up hypersensitive after munching on blackberries, better not give them again. Remember that there are a lot of healthy fruits out there that are perfectly safe for dogs!
How to Prepare Blackberries for Dogs
Blackberries should be washed right away after picking. Sometimes, there are tiny white worms dwelling in the center of the berry.
You can get rid of those worms by soaking the blackberries in a large bowl of water with around two tablespoons of salt. Allow the blackberries to sit in this solution for about 10 minutes.
After soaking, rinse the berries in cold running water but be careful not to squish them as this can destroy the berries and you will end up losing a lot of their juices.
Risks of Feeding Blackberries to Dogs
Anything out of their ordinary diet causes some dogs to have a runny stool. So, if it is the first time your dog snacks on blackberries, it’s normal to see some changes in his bowel movement. Do note that blackberries are quite high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble.
While fiber is essential for a healthy digestion as it helps waste exit the body, too much of it can lead to gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea. An excess fiber in your dog’s diet will not only affect your dog’s bowels but can also hinder the proper absorption of nutrients in the body.
Perhaps try offering the fruit gradually until your pet becomes used to it. Blackberries, especially when they are fresh, have a tarty and sweet flavor that most dogs will enjoy so you will not have a hard time introducing them in their diets.
Benefits of Blackberries for Dogs
Blackberries only have 43 calories for every 100-gram serving. There are 23 milligrams of Vitamin C and 5.3 grams of fiber for the same serving size. Here are more of the good things your pooch gets out of eating blackberries:
1.Blackberries help fight cancer and many degenerative diseases as they are among the top 10 highest antioxidant foods. They prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body.
2.They may have a positive impact on your pet’s cognitive skills. In 2009, a research revealed that blackberries can improve one’s motor performance, balance, and coordination.
3.They are great for oral health. Blackberries are packed with compounds that can kill oral bacteria due to their antibacterial properties. In herbal medicine, blackberries are used as a mouthwash to strengthen spongy gums and soothe mouth ulcers.
4.They are rich in Vitamin C. A cup of blackberries contains 30.2 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is important in the synthesis of collagen. While it’s true that our furry friends can produce their own Vitamin C, adding Vitamin C-rich foods into their diet would surely not hurt. This vitamin plays many essential roles in the body, including healing wounds, battling free radicals, and helping with iron absorption.
5.Blackberries reduce the risks of heart attacks. Due to their high fiber content, they lessen your dog’s risk of heart disease. In general, a high-fiber diet may help in reducing cholesterol.
6.They help with normal blood clotting and bone metabolism. Thanks to their Vitamin K content, blackberries can help in protein metabolism that is essential for binding calcium in the bone.
7.They are effective in weight management because they are virtually fat-free and only have low amounts of calories, being ideal for those who are trying to shed some extra pounds.
8.They can improve vision. Blackberries contain lutein, also called the “eye vitamin”, which is an antioxidant that creates a macula behind the retina. As an antioxidant, it protects the eyes from the damage brought by the oxidative stress.
9.Blackberries are great for the skin. They contain skin-friendly vitamins such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Vitamin E is actually important for dogs as it has many roles in their body. This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for healing injuries, keeping the pets’ muscles healthy, and for maintaining their circulatory system.
10.They can boost your pet’s immunity. Blackberries contain phytoestrogens, plant-derived compounds that can lower risks of many diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis.
How to Use Blackberry Leafs for Treating a Dog’s Skin Problems
Skin problems are among the top reasons dog owners take a trip to the vet. There are many possible causes for skin problems, including allergens, fungal infections, bacterial infections, parasites, and atopic dermatitis.
For such cases, you will need to have some blackberry leaves. Almost all parts of the blackberry are actually being used in herbal medicine. Apart from the leaves, some also use the roots and the actual fruits for healing.
The good news is that herbs can be as effective to pets as they are for humans. As omnivores, dogs respond well to plant medicines.
Like the drupes themselves, blackberry leaves are known for their antioxidant properties. But what really gives their benefits is the presence of tannins, which is useful for alleviating skin allergies. Aside from tea, the leaf extract can also be used as a mouthwash.
The “Natural Remedy Book for Dogs and Cats” noted that the blackberry tea infusion can be used for treating eczema. One of the most common types of eczema is atopic dermatitis.
Blackberry leaf tea can also be used to protect the skin and to reduce the bleeding of wounds. The tea can be used as compress or poultice for wounds and skin itching.
To make blackberry leaf tea, simply steep the dried leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes. If you don’t have a blackberry plant in your garden or nearby, you can find dried blackberry leaves in retail stores. There are also online shops selling organic dried blackberry leaves.
Dog-Friendly Treats with Blackberry
Blackberries are best served as they are. They are already delicious on their own. But that does not mean you cannot incorporate them in your doggie’s usual treats. Below are some recipes that use blackberries as one of the ingredients.
Blackberry Biscuit Treats for Dogs
This treat is perfect for dogs that are hypersensitive to wheat. Instead of using wheat flour, it uses almond flour which has a sweeter flavor. Almond flour is a great gluten-free option that has a high concentration of healthy fats. The added flax meal and extra virgin olive oil give the treats a healthy twist as they are both packed with vitamins and minerals.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 4 cups of almond flour, 3/4 cup of flax meal, 1/2 cup of blackberries, and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- Crack in 1 egg and add 1 cup of water. Mix everything nicely until you form your dough.
- Roll it to 1/4-inch thick.
- Use any shape of cookie cutter to cut your dough.
- Place the treats an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 30 minutes.
- Transfer on cooling racks once done. Serve cool.
Blackberry Cheesecake Dog Treats
This recipe calls for finely pureed blackberries, which you can easily achieve by placing them in a food processor. To make half a cup of pureed blackberries, you need to process one cup of fresh blackberries.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup of pureed blackberries, 1/4 cup well-softened cream cheese, and 1 egg.
- Gradually add 1 and 1/2 cups of rice flour until you get a nice pliable and consistent dough. You may add a bit more flour if the dough looks a bit dry or water if the consistency is too thick.
- Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut using any cookie cutter of your choice.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes at 350°
- Transfer on wire racks and allow to cool before serving or storing.
Frozen Blackberry Coconut Dog Treat
There is nothing more refreshing than to munch on frozen treats during the summer months or when the weather heats up. This snack is made a little bit nutty and sweet by adding coconut milk. The bonus part: this dog treat is super easy to make and you only have to use two ingredients!
- Pour 6 ounces or around 3/4 of a cup of blackberry puree in silicon molds.
- Place in the freezer for 3 hours.
- Once chilled, remove from the freezer and top with coconut milk.
- Put back in the freezer for 3 hours more.
Important Reminders for Dog Owners
As with humans, canines love food treats. While these blackberry-infused desserts are all safe for them, we still recommend giving them in small portions every once in a while. Snacks should not replace your dog’s healthy meals.
Most importantly, consult your vet first if you wish to add blackberry in your dog’s diet. A veterinary consultation is required for dogs with many food allergies.
Blackberries are one of the safest and most nutrient-dense fruits you can offer Fido. Given in moderate amounts, blackberries may provide many of the health benefits your dog needs.
These aggregate fruits are also ideal for dogs needing to maintain or lose weight. They are free of fats and cholesterol, only contain natural sugars and are low in calories. Just make sure to wash them carefully before serving them to your dog.