Can Dogs Taste Cherries?

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Introduction

Cherries are a delicious fruit to snack on in the spring and summer. With spring just around the corner, you will see cherries popping up in the supermarkets that are both ripe and sweet. Although cherries contain a bunch of health benefits and are wonderful for humans, can you give your dog some cherries while you are snacking on them? 

The answer is both yes and no. Let's see why cherries can be harmful, but can also have some health benefits if given correctly. It will be up to you whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks and hassle of giving cherries to your dog.

Signs of a Dog Liking Cherries

Cherries have many health benefits that are great for humans and can be good for your dog as well, but only if you carefully prepare the cherries before giving them to your dog. The seed and the stems must be removed first, which can be labor intensive. Many dogs may not enjoy the taste and the texture of the cherry flesh itself, so it will either be a hit or miss whether they will enjoy the fruit on its own. 

If you want to treat your dog to some fresh cherries from time to time, it will generally be ok and will not pose any significant risks to your dog's health. If your dog has a particularly sensitive tummy, it may upset their stomach a little, but that will likely be the only side effect. Dogs should not eat cherries in large quantities, so stick to giving them a few bites if you happen to snack on them. 

Cherries are naturally sweet, so there is a high probability your pup will love the taste of cherries. If your dog does enjoy munching on a few cherries, they will likely communicate their love for this fruit through positive body language signs. To tell if your dog does enjoy this fruit, watch if they eat the fruit without any reservation, if they wag their tail in excitement, if they look alert and raise their ears in anticipation for more food, or even bark at your for more pieces of cherry! 

Body Language

Here are some signs you may notice if your dog likes cherries:
  • Staring
  • Alert
  • Wag tail
  • Pacing
  • Lip licking
  • Drooling
  • Tail up
  • Ears up

Other Signs

These are some other signs you might notice if your dog likes cherries:
  • Licking their Lips
  • Begging for More
  • Eating Every Last Piece

The History of Cherries and Dogs

Cherries have been around for millennia. The Romans, Greeks, and Chinese enjoyed these ruby-colored berries for thousands of years. Cherries were brought to the Americas via ship by early settlers in the 1600s. Cherry pits were brought over to the US and planted in the Great Lakes region of the US. 

Modern-day cherry production began in the 1800s. The first wide-scale cherry production farm was planted in 1893 near Traverse City, Michigan. Today, there are 650 million pounds of both tart and sweet cherries planted and picked in the United States. 

Unfortunately, there is not a ton of information about how cherries were used in the Roman, Chinese, and Greek regions of the world from a medical or health benefits standpoint. However, as with many other fruits and veggies, we can assume these cultures used cherries for a variety of health benefits. We do know that cherries were a prized food, particularly in the Roman empire, and would adorn the tables in emperors homes during extravagant feats and celebrations.   

Science Behind Dogs and Cherries

It is generally accepted that cherries can be bad or unsafe for dogs to consume. The main reason for this is because of the hard pit inside the cherry, as well as the leaves and the stem that may be attached to the fruit. The pits, stems, and the leaves of the cherry fruit contain cyanide. Cyanide is a toxic chemical that can cause serious harm to your dog if consumed in large quantities. 

Furthermore, if the pits in cherries are not removed before your dog eats the cherry, it can cause an obstruction in the intestines. An obstruction can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and if it is bad enough your dog may even need surgery to remove the pit from their intestine. If your dog has a particularly sensitive stomach, the fruit of the cherry may cause an upset stomach as well, although most dogs will do just fine with eating a small amount of cherry flesh. 

If you are careful and fully remove and pits, stems, and leaves from cherries before giving your dog a few bites, most dogs will be fine and there will be little risk to their health. Even if your dog accidentally ate some stemmed cherries with their pits, they would have to eat quite a large amount to experience any serious or fatal complications from cyanide poisoning. The only way this could happen is if they got into a large bag of fresh cherries in your house or if they have access to a cherry tree with an abundance of fruit. 

As with all other fruits, cherries have some wonderful health benefits for your dog. Cherries are filled with vitamins A and C, fiber, antioxidants, melatonin, and other beneficial minerals and nutrients. A cherry's vitamin A content can improve your dog's eyesight, help them sleep better throughout the night due to their natural melatonin, and help fight arthritis and prevent certain cancers.  

Preparing Cherries for Dogs

Although cherries do have some great health benefits, those benefits are better for humans than they may be for your dog. Your dog can enjoy other fruits without any risk or the hassle of intense preparation to receive vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. 

Apples and blueberries are perfectly safe for your dog to enjoy and are much easier and quicker to prepare than pitting and stemming small, sweet, or sour cherries. 

Although it is likely cherries, if prepared correctly, won't harm your dog or cause cyanide poisoning, we don't think it is worth the hassle to go out of your way to prepare a cherry snack for your dog. However, if you happen to have a bowl of pitted cherries without leaves and stems, giving your dog a piece or two of the flesh will not harm them.

How To React If Your Dog Eats a Whole Cherry

  • Keep an eye out for symptoms of an obstruction.
  • Evaluate how many they may have eaten.
  • Contact your vet if they have eaten a lot of cherries.
  • Make sure they don't have access to any more.

Safety Tips for Feeding Your Dog Cherries

  • Avoid cherries if your dog has a sensitive tummy.
  • Only give them a small amount of cherry fruit.
  • Make sure all pits, stems, and leaves are removed.