Home Animals Can Dogs Eat Cherries: A Sweet Treat or a Poisonous Pitfall?

Can Dogs Eat Cherries: A Sweet Treat or a Poisonous Pitfall?


Canine species are descendants of wolves and have evolved into over 400 different breeds from their common ancestor, the grey wolf. Humans played a significant role in the development of dogs, selectively breeding them to fulfil specific societal needs and enhance their innate instincts, essentially engaging in a primitive form of genetic manipulation.

The exact origins of dogs remain uncertain, but early canines possessed exceptional hunting abilities, relying on their acute senses of smell and sight. But Can Dogs Eat Cherries? As human needs and preferences changed over time, people further shaped these natural instincts and created new breeds to serve various purposes.

Dogs hold the distinction of being the first animal to be domesticated by humans. They are widely recognized as man’s closest companions and have become one of the most prevalent domesticated animal species worldwide. While most dogs are kept as pets, numerous breeds retain the ability to survive independently in natural environments, such as forests or urban areas.

According to a 2016 study on consumer insights, dogs can be found in approximately one-third of all households, solidifying their position as the most commonly owned pets globally.

Given their status as cherished companions and their unwavering loyalty, it is only natural that we strive to provide the best care for our dogs. While humans may enjoy various foods, it is essential to consider the potential dangers certain items pose to our furry friends. In this article, we will examine whether cherries are safe for dogs to consume.

Can Dogs Eat Cherries: Importance of a Healthy Diet

Can Dogs Eat Cherries

Pet owners play a crucial role in determining the diet of their pets. It is essential for owners to be knowledgeable about what to feed their pets in order to ensure their well-being.

Similar to humans, dogs require a balanced diet to maintain good health and an active lifestyle. Feeding your dog a proper diet is vital for their overall well-being. This means providing them with the necessary nutrients they need on a daily basis.

A well-planned diet, coupled with regular exercise, can greatly contribute to your dog’s ability to maintain an ideal weight. Diet plays a significant role in managing your dog’s weight, and it is important to prevent them from becoming overweight. Obesity in dogs can have detrimental effects on their health, as it can limit their activity levels and increase the risk of serious health problems.

The ideal diet for your canine companion should meet all their nutritional requirements. While most commercial dog food brands generally fulfil the basic nutritional needs of dogs, it is important to recognize that every dog has unique dietary requirements.

Throughout their life stages, dogs require a variety of nutrients in varying quantities. It is advisable to feed young dogs a puppy formula or an “all life stages” food, as the nutritional needs of puppies differ from those of adult dogs. Additionally, large-breed dogs and puppies have distinct dietary needs compared to small-breed dogs and puppies.

While dogs can enjoy certain foods as treats, such as bananas and carrots, there are certain foods that they should not consume, including cherries. Cherries, along with grapes, onions, and chocolate, pose risks to your dog’s health, ranging from stomach upset to potentially fatal poisoning.

It is crucial to prioritise your dog’s health and be mindful of the foods you offer them, ensuring they receive a safe and balanced diet that meets their specific nutritional needs.

Can Dogs Eat Cherries: Why To Avoid

Cherries are a delightful summer fruit known for their rich flavour and nutritional benefits. They are packed with vitamins A and C, fibre, antioxidants, and melatonin, making them a healthy treat. Commercially, cherry trees are cultivated for their fruits, which are sold in various forms such as frozen or canned. They can also be enjoyed fresh and are commonly used in sauces and other culinary preparations.

However, it’s important to be aware that cherries, like many other fruits, contain a natural chemical compound called cyanogenic glycosides. When metabolised, these compounds can release cyanide, which is toxic to dogs. The highest concentration of cyanogenic glycosides is typically found in the cherry’s pit and stem. Even a small amount of these parts can pose a risk to dogs. Additionally, if a cherry is mouldy or spoiled, the levels of cyanide can be even higher, further increasing the danger to your dog’s health.

Due to the presence of cyanide in the pit, leaves, and stems, cherries are considered poisonous to dogs. Moreover, the pit itself can be a choking hazard or cause an obstruction in the digestive tract. While dogs can tolerate cherries in small moderation and may enjoy their taste, it’s important to exercise caution. Fresh cherries are relatively low in calories and high in water content, which can be beneficial for dogs dealing with obesity, as they can serve as a healthier alternative to high-calorie treats.

When it comes to sharing fruits and vegetables with your dog, it’s always advisable to consult your veterinarian or refer to pet toxicity lists for guidance. Additionally, it’s crucial to remove any stems, pits, seeds, or peels before offering fruits or vegetables to your dog.

Cyanide poisoning can occur in dogs if they consume a sufficient amount of cherries. To avoid any potential risks, it is best not to take chances, as even a single cherry pit or stem is often inadequate to cause cyanide poisoning in dogs. Ensuring your dog’s safety and well-being should be a top priority, and it’s advisable to choose alternative treats that are known to be safe for them.

Cherries Can Cause An Upset Stomach

If a dog consumes a cherry pit, the most common issue they may experience is an upset stomach. Symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea can occur due to stomach discomfort. While minor stomach discomfort is generally not a cause for concern, it’s important to note that some symptoms of cyanide poisoning can also include stomach upset.

If your dog shows signs of an upset stomach after eating a cherry pit, it is advisable to monitor them closely for any additional symptoms related to cyanide poisoning. While an upset stomach alone is usually not a severe issue, the presence of other symptoms warrants immediate veterinary attention.

It’s crucial to prevent dogs from consuming cherry pits, but if they do ingest them, there is no need to panic. However, it’s worth noting that a significant quantity of cherries would need to be consumed to pose a problem. In the case of cherry pits, or larger pits like those from apples, peaches, or plums, there is a risk of intestinal blockage or a choking hazard.

To reach a lethal level, a dog would have to consume a substantial amount of cherries, potentially an entire bag or more, and chew them up. It is important to prioritise your dog’s safety and prevent access to large quantities of cherry pits or other hazardous food items.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health after consuming cherry pits or if they exhibit additional symptoms, it is strongly recommended to seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Can Dogs Eat Cherries: Risks Involved With Eating

Here are some additional points to consider regarding dogs and cherries:

High Sugar Content

Cherries contain a significant amount of sugar, with approximately 0.04 ounces of sugar per cherry or 0.6 ounces of sugar per cup of whole cherries. Due to the high sugar content, cherries should only be given to dogs on special occasions to avoid potential health issues associated with excessive sugar intake.

Toxins in Seeds and Stems

The stems and seeds of cherries contain toxins, including cyanide, albeit in low concentrations. These toxins are released and become harmful when the seeds and stems are broken down through chewing. If the seeds and stems pass through the digestive tract intact, without being chewed, the dog is unlikely to experience any toxic effects.

Risk of Abdominal Obstruction

Cherry pits pose a risk of causing intestinal obstructions in dogs. They can get lodged in the digestive system, leading to life-threatening situations that may require surgical intervention. Puppies, in particular, may be more susceptible to obstructions and cyanide poisoning, so extra caution should be taken when dealing with puppies and cherries.

Intoxication from Rotten Fruit 

If a dog happens to find and consume rotting or fermenting cherries, it can get intoxicated. Just like with humans, the alcohol present in the fermenting fruit can be extremely harmful to dogs, leading to various health complications.

Dental Damage

Cherry pits are tough and hard, posing a risk to a dog’s teeth. If a dog consumes cherry pits, it can potentially damage its teeth, leading to severe pain and dental issues.

Considering these factors, it is important to be cautious when it comes to feeding cherries to dogs. Limiting their consumption, removing pits and stems, and ensuring the cherries are fresh and safe are crucial steps to protect your dog’s health and well-being. If you have any concerns or questions, consulting with a veterinarian is recommended.

Can Dogs Eat Cherries: What causes cherry poisoning?

Dogs that consume cherry seeds containing cyanide are commonly affected by cherry poisoning. It’s worth noting that cyanide can also be found in other sources apart from fruit seeds. Manufactured materials such as cigarette smoke, certain pest control products, and burning plastic can contain cyanide.

In the case of cherry trees, they naturally produce hydrogen cyanide as a defence mechanism against herbivores. Cyanide is stored in an inactive form within the tree, waiting to be activated when needed as a deterrent against predators.

When a dog chews on a cherry leaf, the cyanogenic glycoside present in the leaf combines with an enzyme, leading to the activation of the cyanide, resulting in the formation of the poisonous compound.

Upon ingestion, cyanide interferes with the cells’ ability to use oxygen for energy production, ultimately leading to asphyxiation.

It is important to understand these mechanisms to recognize the potential dangers of cyanide poisoning and the risks associated with dogs consuming parts of the cherry tree or other substances containing cyanide. If you suspect your dog has ingested any toxic materials or exhibits symptoms of poisoning, immediate veterinary attention is crucial for their well-being.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese

What cyanide poisoning does to animals

Cyanide can be found in various surprising places, including certain foods and plants. Foods such as cassava, lima beans, and almonds may contain cyanide. Additionally, common fruit pits and seeds from peaches, apricots, and apples can contain chemicals that metabolise into cyanide, although in lower concentrations in the edible parts of these plants.

The presence of cyanide causes damage to tissues by impairing their ability to utilise oxygen. Cyanide can be found in plants, fumigants, soil sterilisers, fertilisers, and rodent poisons (rodenticides). Ingestion of plants containing cyanide is a common cause of poisoning, which can occur due to accidental or intentional exposure.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning typically manifest within 15 to 20 minutes to a few hours after ingestion. Affected animals may exhibit signs of excitement, rapid breathing, and a fast heartbeat. 

Vomiting, watery eyes, drooling, and increased urination and defecation can also occur. Muscle spasms are common, and the mucous membranes may initially turn bright red before transitioning to a bluish hue. In severe cases, death can occur within 30 to 45 minutes, often accompanied by severe convulsions. However, animals that survive for at least two hours after the onset of symptoms have a chance of recovering.

Final Words on Can Dogs Eat Cherries

It is important to be aware of the potential dangers of cyanide poisoning and to take precautions to prevent animals from accessing plants or substances containing cyanide. If cyanide poisoning is suspected, immediate veterinary attention is crucial for appropriate treatment and the best chance of recovery.


Author Profile
Zahra Makda
Wildlife Enthusiast | Explorer at Animals Research

Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.

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Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.


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