People have been eating wild raspberries for thousands of years so is it okay for dogs to have raspberries too?
Rich red, juicy and packed with flavor, like most berries, raspberries are full of antioxidants – nature’s own damage protection nutrient.
Raspberries contain flavinoids – substances associated with reducing inflammation and the risks of cardiovascular disease.
Dogs and raspberries
Some studies have even shown that raspberries may be able to reduce the decline in cognitive function associated with aging.
So it’s only natural that we might want to share the benefits of this sweet and delicious fruit with our dogs.
And many dogs enjoy eating a variety of fruits including the juicy red raspberry.
However, just because a food is safe, or even beneficial for people, does not mean that food is necessarily safe for dogs
Can dogs eat raspberries safely?
There are some fruits which are very dangerous to dogs, including grapes and raisins. Fortunately most berries, including raspberries, are safe for dogs to eat in moderation.
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Here in the UK, raspberries are a popular crop for keen gardeners and make a welcome addition to the tea table in the summer
My parents were passionate gardeners.
They were especially fond of growing their own fruit and vegetables.
I remember one particular year, my father scratching his head, trying to figure out how his entire and precious raspberry crop had been pilfered from underneath the bird netting.
The culprit of course was our Golden Retriever, his guilty red whiskers giving him away.
He survived his raspberry eating escapade without so much as an upset stomach. He was after all, only doing what wild dogs have been doing for thousands of years, helping himself to nature’s best and most temporary snack bar.
And most experts agree that it is safe for dogs to eat raspberries
But still, is it a good idea to let a dog eat raspberries, or to feed raspberries to a dog deliberately?
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Do raspberries contain xylitol?
You may have heard that there is a sweetener called xylitol which is very poisonous to dogs.
And you may have heard that raspberries contain xylitol
Both these things are true.
Many fruits contain traces of xylitol and raspberries contain more xylitol than most other fruits
But the amounts of xylitol found naturally in fruit are incredibly small. Dr Marie from ‘ask a vet’ has calculated that a dog would have to eat around 32 cups of raspberries to get a fatal dose!
Xylitol poisoning in dogs is usually caused by consumption of chewing gum or other product to which xylitol has been added. Not from eating fruit.
In other words, the quantity of xylitol in a few raspberries is unlikely to do your dog any harm.
Are raspberries bad for dogs?
The main substance found in raspberries that is particularly bad for dogs, is plain old sugar.
The sugar found in fruit is called fructose and is slightly different in structure from sucrose, the sugar we buy in bags and use in our kitchens.
Not only that, but the volume of sugar found in modern fruits is far greater than the sugar found in the wild fruits that your dog’s wolf ancestors consumed thirty thousand years ago.
Selective breeding has created bigger and sweeter, and yes, more sugary, raspberries.
Although fructose is different from the sugar you might add to your tea or use in baking, and is more ‘natural’ it is still not particularly good for dogs.
Some wild animals use the fruit in berries consumed during the fall, to fatten themselves up for winter. Fruit is surprisingly fattening.
A dog’s digestive system is designed to process mainly protein and fat. Sugary food, while it may be a nice occasional treat, is best not consumed on a regular basis.
Fortunately, the sugar in raspberries is combined with some fibre and is less likely to put a strain on your dog’s sugar balancing system, than man-made treats like sweets, cake or biscuits.
But is there anything in raspberries that is good for dogs?
Are raspberries good for dogs?
Just like people dogs often show signs of cognitive decline associated with aging.
And as in people, anti-oxidants have been shown to reduce these signs and improve cognitive performance in aging dogs
Raspberries are bursting antioxidants and evidence from studies on dogs, suggests that eating foods rich in antioxidants may help alleviate the mental decline that sometimes accompanies the aging process
Can puppies have raspberries?
There are no real benefits in feeding raspberries to puppies. They don’t need a ‘cognitive boost’ and smaller dogs are more vulnerable to the potential harm from xylitol and sugar.
One or two probably won’t hurt, but your puppy really is better off being fed on quality puppy food designed to cater for his needs, or on a properly balanced raw meat diet
So are raspberries ok for dogs?
The answer to ‘can dogs have raspberries’ is that in small quantities, raspberries and most other berries are ok to give to your dog.
Don’t feed huge quantities of raspberries to any dog. Bear in mind that dogs are not really designed to digest sugars in any quantity, and that excessive fruit of any kind is likely to result in an upset stomach.
If your dog is going to have a sugary treat of some sort, then fruit, especially berry fruit, of a kind that is harmless to dogs, is preferable to many other ‘human’ foods.
So, if you want to feed a sweet treat to your dog, then a raspberry or two is one of the safer options and will be especially welcome in the summer if frozen first.
The antioxidants a few raspberries contain might even give your senior dog’s brain a bit of a boost. You can check out a few raspberry recipes in the link below
Raspberry recipes for dogs
Check out these raspberry treat recipes for dogs
Don’t forget, while a few raspberries won’t harm him, dogs don’t need to eat fruit – it is essentially a sweet treat.
You’ll also need to remember to clean your dog’s teeth if you feed him sweet treats of any kind.
Do share your dog’s favorite raspberry treat recipe with us in the comments box below!
Cotman CW, Head E, Muggenburg BA, et al. Brain aging in the canine: a diet enriched in antioxidants reduces cognitive dys- function. Neurobiol Aging
M. Ware. Raspberries: Health benefits, nutritional information. Medical news today