Some people may think that just because a food is safe for us to eat, it must be okay to give to your pup. Unfortunately, many have found out the hard way that it isn’t true.
The short answer to whether your pet can munch on cherries with you is probably not—with some caveats.
Why Dogs Can’t Eat People Food
Let’s start with the facts. People and dogs share 84 percent of our DNA. It’s essential to understand that there aren’t human or canine genes. Instead, think of them more as an ingredient. Our respective DNAs are the cookbook that shows which one is going into making a baby or a puppy.
However, it’s that 16 percent difference that tells the whole story.
For example, you can eat macadamia nuts. Dogs can’t.
You can enjoy fresh, ripe grapes. Canines, not so much.
You can feast on your beef stew with its onions and garlic. Your pet will get sick, very sick if he does the same.
The takeaway message is that our shared DNA doesn’t mean that our digestive systems are the same. While dogs may lean toward being carnivores, we’re card-carrying omnivores. That fact plays a significant role in what we can eat.
What Is So Bad About Cherries?
The first ingredient by volume for raw cherries is water, all 82.25 percent of it. You’re probably thinking that what is so wrong with this delicious fruit? After all, it also contains potassium, a host of B complex vitamins, a smidge of protein, and a decent helping of other vital nutrients.
They also taste yummy!
The problem isn’t with the fruit itself, but instead, it’s the pip. That little seed that some will spit out to the ground contains one extremely toxic chemical—cyanide.
Before images of Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple start swirling around in your head, it’s essential to understand that many other common foods contain this poison, including:
As Paracelsus, the so-called Father of Toxicology, once said, “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison.” Even water is poisonous if you drink enough of it.
So, where does that leave us with dogs and cherries?
Remember that you’ll likely spit out the pit when you eat cherries. Or you might have one of those handy devices that do the job for you. Your dog will probably swallow them whole without even chewing them. Think about it. You’ve seen how he devours his food. This treat is not any different.
Of course, cherry pits are toxic to humans, too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of them, either. Besides, who can eat just one cherry, anyway?
The bottom line is, don’t give your dog cherries with the pits.
Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning
If there is any possibility of your pet having access to cherries, it pays to know what the signs of poisoning are to help you act quickly and save your BFF. Needless to say, immediate treatment is imperative. Death can occur in less than one hour. The symptoms include:
The signs can start in as little as 15 minutes. The classic symptoms of poisoning come on rapidly without warning. It’s one thing that distinguishes these cases from an illness.
Can I Feed Him Cherries Without the Pits?
Technically, the answer is yes. However, those nasty caveats exist here, too. Seriously, do you really want to pit cherries for your dog with all the mess?
We thought not.
Then, there’s the habit you’re creating. We also have to address the proverbial elephant in the room. You may think, why not give him cherries that are already prepared? Maraschino or heaven forbid, Luxardo cherries, anyone?
That’s not a solution to the pit issue. It brings on another host of problems with the sweeteners and other ingredients, such as alcohol, that are equally as toxic for your pooch.
The fact remains that there are so many other wholesome treats for your pup. You don’t have to add cherries to the mix. We suggest sticking with commercial products, preferably those made in the USA. The quality control will ensure that they are safe for your pet. Don’t risk giving your dog anything that might cause issues. It’s not worth it in the long run, especially if he’d prefer a chewie, anyway.