Not all human foods are suitable for dogs. As a caring pet owner, you should always double-check before adding “human foods” into your dog’s diet.
Can dogs have blueberry muffins? The simple answer is Yes. Most dogs can safely tolerate blueberry muffins in moderation. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which are good for your dog’s health. However, veterinarians have occasionally linked blueberry muffins to gastrointestinal upset, canine pancreatitis, and diarrhea in dogs.
When it comes to the safety of blueberry muffins to dogs, there is no across-the-board answer. Read on for factors to consider before giving your pets blueberries and how you can safely add berries to your dog’s diet.
Why Blueberry Muffins May Be Bad For Dogs
Most blueberry muffins contain sugar, flour, and butter as the main ingredients. Pet owners should know that these three ingredients aren’t healthy for dogs. Depending on the dog’s physical fitness, age, diet, or breed, continuous uptake of muffins may trigger mild symptoms or full-blown stomach upsets and pancreatitis.
Some severe health hazards associated with blueberry muffins intake in pups include:
- Obesity: Obesity is arguably the most common preventable pet disease. Although its occurrence depends heavily on genetics, excess food and lack of exercise are also significant contributors. A recent study by Harvard University’s School of Public Health discovered that “a regular blueberry muffin from a national coffee shop chain has 450 calories on average”. If a regular 120-pound athlete would need about 45 minutes to work off all these calories, imagine how long it would take your 40-pound dog.
- Pancreatitis: The more you feed your dog sugary, salty, or rich foods like blueberry muffins, the more you expose them to the risk of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that can be extremely painful at best and life-threatening at worst.
- Dental Issues: As we pointed out earlier, a regular blueberry muffin is likely to have more sugar than the blueberries themselves. Sugar can trigger dental cavities, gum diseases, or tooth decay. With only 1 out of ten pet owners brushing their dog’s teeth regularly, you cannot afford to risk overindulging your pup’s desire for blueberry muffins.
You’re probably wondering, “but aren’t blueberries good for dogs?” Yes, fresh blueberries are good for pups. They’re full of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Most commercial dog food formulas even have blueberries as one of their key ingredients.
The twist is we often assume that blueberry muffins predominantly consist of blueberries. However, the truth is that blueberries do not even account for a quarter of muffins. Most muffins are mainly sugar, butter, and wheat flour. Some muffins don’t even have blueberries at all. They comprise a combination of starches, food preservatives and colorings, and other chemicals to create ‘fake blueberries.’
Can You Feed Your Dog Blueberry Muffins Daily?
While one single blueberry cannot kill your dog, continuous unregulated intake of muffins can result in some serious health hazards.
The two main determinants of whether your dogs can have blueberry muffins daily are the amount you give them and how you feed them the blueberries.
The Amount Of Blueberries To Feed Your Dogs
Whether it’s actual blueberries or muffins, you should consider them as occasional treats. Usually, the amount to give each pet depends on their weight and physical fitness. Consider a maximum of not more than ten blueberries a day for all but the smallest dog. Excess intake may trigger stomach upsets and diarrhea. While ten is the standard, you can determine your pet’s limit by monitoring how their body responds each time you give them the muffins. Also, do not give blueberry muffins to pets with historical gastric issues without first consulting your vet.
How To Give Your Dog Blueberries
Avoid blueberry muffins made for human consumption unless you are 100% sure that they won’t harm your pet. The problem is not the blueberries. It’s the excess sugar, wheat flour, and butter.
Even if you resort to giving your pets pure blueberries, you must ensure that they’re clean and fresh.
The best way is to feed your dogs blueberries (and any other dog-safe fruit) that are raw and washed. Old, moldy, or frozen blueberries are a checking hazard, especially to young pups. The baseline is they shouldn’t eat what you can’t eat.
Are There Any Dog-Friendly Blueberry Muffin Alternatives?
Yes, there are alternatives to letting your pet enjoy their blueberry safely without having to consume the sugar, fat, and butter in regular muffins:
- You can mash up a few berries in the dog’s regular food.
- Alternatively, you can feed them fresh/frozen raw berries.
If you’re up for baking, you can swap the unhealthy ingredients for healthier alternatives. Below are a few options to consider.
- Swap all-purpose wheat flour with rolled oat flour or whole wheat flour.
- Replace sugar with applesauce or cinnamon, which are natural and healthy sweeteners.
- You can also use low-fat yogurt or coconut oil in place of butterfat.
Above all, note that blueberry muffins are treats to be given in moderation. They shouldn’t replace your pet’s regular diet.
Can One Blueberry Kill A Dog?
No. There’s no known case where a dog died from eating just one blueberry. Even pups with sensitive digestive systems may take up to ten or more blueberries to trigger a gastric upset.
On the contrary, blueberries have several health benefits to dogs. They can help prevent obesity and cancer, control hypertension and cholesterol levels, reduce memory loss and heart disease risks, and clean the urinary tract, among many others.
Most of these windfalls come from feeding dogs raw blueberries and not foods that contain blueberries. For example, blueberry muffins’ intake is not as safe as when dogs eat the blueberries themselves.
How About Wild Blueberries?
Dogs make great hiking partners. The problem is that they may want to sniff and taste everything that looks appealing on the way.
So, should you let them eat wild blueberries if you come across some? Are they safe?
Wild blueberries have more nutrients and higher antioxidant concentrations than those cultivated or farmed. However, it’s easy to confuse wild blueberries with toxic berries like pokeberries. Besides, you may not be so sure about the cleanliness of the berries. So, it’s not healthy to allow dogs to eat wild blueberries on their own. Instead, you can pick a few, wash and give them directly. This way, you’ll be sure that your pet is not eating one of those dangerous berries.
Are Other Berries Safe For Your Dog?
Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries are all safe for dogs. Like blueberries, they are an excellent source of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
Other less-known but safe berries include kiwi, bananas, watermelon, and pumpkin. Like the others, you should feed them to your dogs sparingly. For tomatoes, only the red fleshy part is safe; the green part often causes gastric upsets.
Here is a more detailed list of dog-safe fruits and berries:
Toxic Berries & Fruits To Avoid
Consumption of the following fruits can cause adverse stomach upsets and liver damages to your dog:
- Grapefruit Raisins
The BEST FRUIT for DOGS – Benefits and Servings
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can Blueberries Be Poisonous? Yes. Most poisonous blueberries are bitter and don’t grow on woody shrubs.
- How Many Blueberries Can a Small Dog Eat in One Day? The baseline is ten, but this will always vary based on the pet’s weight.
- Are Bananas Safe for Dogs? Yes. They may not be as nutritious to dogs as humans, but they’re safe and a good treat.
- What Are the Best Fruits for Dogs? The list is long – apples, bananas, blueberries, broccoli, etc. Just ensure that they aren’t toxic and given only in moderation.
- Can You Make Safe Blueberry Muffins for Dogs? Yes. Just replace the unhealthy ingredients with healthier alternatives.