Can dogs have blackberries? Yes – but there are some catches.
Let’s find out what you need to know before you go ahead!
Dogs can have blackberries occasionally and in moderation, but it’s not quite a straightforward yes.
It is no secret that dogs can’t always eat the same thing their human companions do.
Canines have very different nutritional needs when compared to a human, and many things that humans can stomach might be mildly upsetting or even poisonous to dogs.
Because of the digestive differences, it is always important to figure out whether or not your dog can eat something intended for humans before you give it to them.
After all, the last thing you want to do is unintentionally harm your pooch by giving them something they shouldn’t be eating!
In this article, we’ll answer the question, “Can my dog eat blackberries?”
But first, let’s quickly discuss what blackberries are exactly.
What Is a Blackberry?
Blackberry is actually the common name of two different plants: the American blackberry and European blackberry.
However, both of these blackberry species are very closely related and share much of the same nutritional value.
Technically, blackberries aren’t actually berries.
Instead, they are a type of small fruit called an aggregate.
An aggregate fruit is simply a fruit that develops from multiple plant ovaries, as opposed to a simple fruit like an apple that develops from only one.
This is why blackberries appear to be made up of multiple pods.
Blackberries grow in the wild across much of Europe and North America and can be picked quite readily from the wild.
This also means that it is pretty easy for our dogs to come across blackberries on walks or while wandering around.
You might not necessarily have to intentionally give your canine a blackberry in order for them to consume one.
They might just decide they smell good and snatch a couple off of a bush.
Dogs and Blackberries
So if it is likely for our pooch to come into contact with blackberries, are they okay for them to eat?
To find out can dogs have blackberries, we need to take an in-depth look at what a blackberry is made of.
Blackberries are almost exclusively made of carbohydrates, though they do contain small amounts of fat and protein as well.
They are also a good source of multiple vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese.
Are Blackberries Poisonous to Dogs?
There is nothing inherent in blackberries that is poisonous to dogs.
Of course, if your pooch decided to snatch some off of a wild bush, it is possible that they consumed something else along with the blackberries, such as a bug or other plant.
This other substance might be harmful to your canine, but the blackberries themselves are not poisonous.
We suggest not allowing your pooch to eat blackberries straight from the bush, though, just in case they have been contaminated with a harmful substance.
But just because blackberries aren’t necessarily poisonous to dogs doesn’t mean that they should eat them.
How does the blackberry compare to a canine’s natural diet?
Are Blackberries Bad for Dogs?
There have been many studies exploring what a dog’s diet should contain.
One of these studies, published in 2013, looked specifically at the dietary preference of dogs when they were given control over their diet.
Giving an animal control over their diet is often a good way to determine what they should be eating, since many animals will fulfill their nutritional needs when given the opportunity.
This study found that dogs prefer to consume a protein:fat:carb ratio of 30:63:7.
As you can see, dogs naturally eat very few carbs, which blackberries are full of.
Another study had similar results, with dogs naturally eating very little carbohydrates.
Dogs Evolved Alongside Humans
However, just because dogs don’t naturally eat carbohydrates doesn’t mean they can’t eat carbs at all.
In fact, one study found that dogs have evolved to be able to stomach carbohydrates after being domesticated.
Basically, since their human companions usually eat lots of carbs, dogs have evolved to be able to process and use large amounts of starch-rich foods.
But a diet heavy in carbohydrates is still not necessarily the best diet for your dog.
The occasional blackberry, though, is probably okay for your dog to eat and might even have a couple benefits.
Dogs and Blackberries’ Benefits
On top of being a good source of many vitamins, blackberries also contain a high number of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that reduce the number of free radicals we have in our body.
Free radicals are generated in our body by normal, everyday activities.
But they are not exactly good for us and have a tendency to bounce around and harm healthy cells.
Antioxidants remove these free radicals from our body.
Having a healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals in our body is necessary for healthy function.
If we get too many free radicals, a state called oxidative stress occurs.
The free radicals harm many of our healthy cells, which can lead to a number of diseases.
The same is true for our dogs.
Because blackberries contain so many antioxidants, they can help our canines balance out their free radicals, which can prevent a number of diseases.
Can Dogs Have Blackberries?
The answer to can dogs have blackberries is yes.
They contain a number of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for our dogs to function properly.
They are also very high in antioxidants, which helps prevent damage done by free radicals.
However, blackberries are also high in carbohydrates.
While dogs can consume carbohydrates, they are not what our pets are designed to live off of.
Instead, you canine should be eating a balanced diet that is high in protein and fat.
Blackberries can be a good occasional treat, but they should not replace your canine’s usual diet.
References and Further Reading
“Blackberries, raw.” SELF Nutrition Data.
Huang, Wu-yang. “Survey of antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry in Nanjing.” Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE. 2012.
Axelsson, Erik. “The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet.” Nature Journal. 2013.
Lobo. “Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health.” Pharmacognosy. 2010.
Roberts. “Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health.” Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. 2017.
Hewson-Hughes, Adrian. “Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in breeds of the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris.” Behavioral Ecology. 2013.