We all love giving our dogs a tasty treat once and a while, whether during training or just because! Many fruits are great for this—after all, dogs love their sweetness just as much as we do.
Pitless cherries are less of a risk, but can still upset your dog’s stomach. And, many desserts containing cherries also contain sugar and other unhealthy additives.
Keep reading to learn more about the risks of feeding cherries to your dog, and what to do if they get ahold of them behind your back!
Table of Contents:
Are Cherries Toxic to Dogs?
Yes, cherries are toxic to dogs—but not all parts of the cherry. The pit, leaves, and stem are toxic because they contain cyanide, which can poison a dog.
Of course, your pup is unlikely to spit out the pit of a cherry like you and I know to do. Therefore, feeding them whole cherries could poison them!
They could also choke on the pit or it could become a blockage in their intestines, which can require surgery.
If you take the time to cut up the cherries or feed them without pits, this answer does change slightly.
Related article: Can Dogs Eat Tomatoes?
Can Dogs Eat Cherries Without Pits?
Cherries without pits aren’t dangerous to dogs, but they can upset their stomach. They also aren’t particularly good for them, so there’s no reason to feed them in the first place.
A dog fed the proper diet won’t miss out by not eating cherries, so the risk isn’t worthwhile.
Some people also wonder about maraschino cherries since they don’t have pits. However, these cherries contain a lot of sugar and aren’t good for dogs either—though they won’t poison them.
Related article: Can Dogs Eat Pickles?
How Many Cherries Can a Dog Eat?
I recommend avoiding cherries entirely because they can upset your dog’s stomach, even when fed without pits, stems, or leaves. It can also give your dog the idea that cherries are okay to eat, upping your chances of them eating whole cherries when your back is turned!
The number of cherries your dog can eat without being poisoned vary depending on the size of your dog. Small dogs can eat less cherries before feeling the effects, and are more likely to choke on the pits or develop bowel obstructions as well.
Can Dogs Eat Cherry Yogurt or Cherry Pie?
Pitless cherries aren’t going to poison your dog. However, that doesn’t mean they should eat them! The problem with desserts such as cherry yogurt or cherry pie is that they contain a lot of sugar, which isn’t good for dogs.
They can also contain other ingredients that aren’t good for dogs, such as dairy.
Related article: Can Dogs Eat Watermelon?
What to do if Your Dog Eats Cherries
It’s best to contact a professional the moment you notice your dog has eaten something toxic. While cherries won’t always kill your dog or cause a medical crisis, they can—and these things happen very quickly. It’s better to be proactive than to deal with an emergency situation later on.
A small amount of cherries, such as one or even a few, will likely upset your dog’s stomach. You’ll notice symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
If these symptoms persist or they develop more worrying signs, call your nearest emergency vet clinic or contact the pet poison hotline at (855) 764-7661. Your regular veterinarian may also be able to offer advice by phone—but if they’re closed, don’t wait for them to reopen.
In general, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure how many cherries were eaten, call a veterinarian or the poison hotline above. They’ll likely instruct you to induce vomiting to get the cherries out of your dog’s system.
Also, keep your dog’s size in mind—the smaller the dog, the less cherries it will take to poison them.
Symptoms of Cherry Poisoning
The toxic substance in cherry pits, leaves, and stems is called cyanide. Here are the symptoms of cyanide poisoning in dogs:
- Increased heart rate
- Panting or rapid breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Eye discharge
- Muscle spasms
- Bright red or blue gums
Symptoms may occur as soon as fifteen minutes after consumption or take a few hours. Once your dog begins to show severe symptoms, veterinarians will have a couple of hours to save their life.
This is why calling the veterinarian the moment you notice your dog’s eaten something toxic is important.
Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage
All dogs can develop intestinal blockage if they eat cherry pits, but small dogs are most at risk. Symptoms of intestinal blockages include:
- Constipation or straining while pooping
- Decreased appetite
- Pain in the abdomen, especially when touched (your dog might also show aggression due to this pain)
Dogs can die of intestinal blockages in a matter of days. The inability to defecate is dangerous, and your dog’s appetite will also decrease because they can’t expel what’s already in their systems in order to consume more.
Because of this, a bowel obstruction is an emergency. Your dog will be in a lot of pain and you want them to be seen as quickly as possible!
If your veterinarian cannot see your dog within the next 24 hours, I recommend calling around to find one who can or visiting an emergency clinic.
What to do if Your Dog is Choking
The last risk when it comes to cherries is that your dog can choke on them! Whole cherries are round and could block your dog’s airway if not chewed, but the primary risk is that they swallow the cherry pit.
If your dog is choking on a cherry, you’ll need to perform the Heimlich maneuver. With a small dog, hold them on their back in your lap and place your hand directly beneath their ribs. Press your hand in and up firmly five times, then flip them onto their side and check their mouth for the cherry.
For larger dogs, wrap your hands around their waist and bring them together on your dog’s abdomen. Combine your hands into a single fist and thrust them up and forward five times quickly.
Check your dog’s mouth so they don’t swallow or choke on the pit again.
If possible, keep track of how long your dog is choking, as this will be important information for the vet later on. Once you’ve cleared your dog’s airway, call an emergency veterinarian to have them seen.
When a dog chokes, they’re without oxygen. This is dangerous and your dog may need to be hospitalized in order to recover. The veterinarian might also want to check your dog’s throat for damage that can’t be seen from the outside.