Can I give my dog raspberries

The summertime superfruit, raspberries offer plenty of nutrition and benefits to humans. But can dogs eat raspberries too, and are raspberries for dogs safe to consume? What are the health benefits if you give raspberries to a dog, and are there any side effects? Let's take a closer look.

If you've been wondering, “can I give my dog raspberries,” the answer is YES – dogs can eat raspberries with no problems, and raspberries are not toxic to dogs. However, as with most new food items, it's important to introduce it slowly and feed just a little.

Most berries, including raspberries, are very nutritious for people and provide multiple health benefits. Almost the same can be said about feeding berries to dogs, and raspberries for dogs are one of the best. But there are a few things you must know first.

ALSO READ: Can Dogs Eat Cherries?

What are raspberries?

A raspberry is are a rich, red and sweet edible fruit. There are four most common types of raspberry species, all belonging to rose family: Boulder raspberry, Australian native raspberry, Mauritius raspberry and Korean raspberry. The most popular are hybrids.

Raspberries are extremely healthy and nutritious. They are very rich in antioxidants. In fact, one study showed that raspberries (alongside blackberries and blueberries) have one of the highest level of antioxidants of all commonly consumed fruits (1).

This is what raw raspberries look like:

What do raspberries look like?

Research shows that consuming raspberries can provide tons of health benefits. They are also very sweet, tasty and low in calories, which makes raspberries a perfect healthy treat.

But can dogs eat raspberries and reap the same benefits as humans do? Even though there's little research on the effects of raspberries for dogs, drawing from other research on how food affects dogs similar to humans, we can assume that there's a good chance.

Let's break down all the health benefits and nutrition raspberries for dogs may provide.

Raspberries for Dogs 101
Can Dogs Eat Raspberries?

Health benefits of raspberries for dogsSo can dogs eat raspberries just as people can? Yes, absolutelyraspberries for dogs are safe to consume and are non-toxic.

Just keep in mind that when you start feeding raspberries to your dog, begin slowly with very small amounts and as an occasional treat.

Raspberries are chuck full of nutrition, and here are the main things:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Fiber

These minerals and vitamins are the main reason why feeding raspberries to a dog may provide a variety of health benefits. In fact, there's been a lot of research studying raspberries (and other berries) for their benefits, so here's just a brief on what we know.

  • Raspberries may help reduce oxidative stress (2)
  • Raspberries reduce blood sugar and insulin response (3, 4, 5)
  • Raspberries fight inflammation in the body (6)
  • Raspberries lower cholesterol levels (7)
  • Raspberries are great for the skin (8, 9, 10)
  • Raspberries may protect from and fight cancer (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)
  • Raspberries may keep arteries healthy (17)

As you can see, there are tons of reasons to eat raspberries yourself, and probably plenty of good reasons to give raspberries to dogs. In fact, there's a lot more research that indicates that raspberries are one of the best superfruits people and animals can eat.

Benefits of berries for dogs

A raspberry is not the only powerful food with tons of nutrients in it that can improve both peoples' and animals' health. Actually, berries for dogs in general can be a great addition to the diet, and tons of research has shown the many benefits berries have on health.

Aside from raspberries, the other three most popular berries for dogs to feed are:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries

All three above berries are useful and very healthy for dogs to consume for many reasons.

Now let's take a look at how giving raspberries for dogs may actually benefit them as well when looking at each specific nutrient found in this superfruit called raspberry.

RELATED: Can Dogs Eat Watermelons?

10 Potential Benefits of Raspberries for Dogs

Can I give my dog raspberries?

With so much research behind raspberries and berries in general, there is a good reason why giving raspberries for dogs may not only be unhealthy but actually extremely beneficial. Just make sure to start with small amounts and monitor your pet.

In the meantime, here are the ten benefits of raspberries for dogs:

1. Raspberries improve digestive function and promote weight loss in dogs.

Raspberries are extremely high in dietary fiber (15 g carbs, 8 of which are fiber).

Dietary fiber makes up roughly 20% of a raspberry’s weight, giving an extra boost to dogs’ gastrointestinal systems. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements, improves digestion, and encourages weight loss in dogs because it slows the digestive process.

2. Raspberries can fight cancer and liver disease.

As shown in tons of human studies, raspberries may be one of the best foods to eat in order to prevent and fight canine cancer.

Raspberries are one of the richest fruits of all in terms of antioxidants. In particular, they are known for ellagic acid which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties (18).

Studies show that including foods with ellagic acid in them may have the ability to prevent the spread of cancer cells and tumor growths all across the body.

Additionally, ellagic acid can help protect the liver and promote healthy liver function.

3. Anthocyanins in raspberries may help prevent infections in dogs.

Raspberries for dogs have a very powerful anti-inflammatory function as shown above.

On top of that, the anthocyanins found in raspberries not only help to neutralize free radicals from damaging cells, but they may also decrease the growth rates of bacteria within the dog's body, preventing many different infections in dogs (19).

4. The Vitamin B in raspberries promotes healthy body functions.

Vitamin B is known for many different benefits for dogs. In particular, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) produces hormones, proteins, and neurotransmitters in the canine body, and is integral to potentially preventing anemia in dogs. 

5. Raspberries contain Vitamin C for a stronger immune system.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is an all-known important antioxidant and nutrient because it strengthens a dog’s immune system, combats degenerative conditions, and promotes cartilage and collagen synthesis in dogs. 

6. Potassium in raspberries helps regulate vital body functions.

Dogs need potassium in their diet, and raspberries have a good amount of it. Potassium strengthens muscle development in dogs as well as maintains healthy blood vessel functions, and replaces lost electrolytes in a canine body. 

7. Iron in raspberries is necessary for healthy enzyme and blood functions.

A dog’s body requires certain iron levels to be maintained in order for the body’s enzymes to function correctly and efficiently. Raspberries are a good source of iron, which also creates hemoglobin, a molecule responsible for carrying oxygen to red blood cells in dogs.

8. The magnesium in raspberries assists with dog's body development.

Ensuring your dog gets enough magnesium is important for many reasons, no least of which is the fact that magnesium promotes protein production and bone growth in dogs. It also helps the canine body to better absorb vitamins and other minerals. 

9. Manganese for stronger muscle development and weight loss.

Manganese is another mineral that is vital to dog’s overall health. It is essential for healthy ligament development, proper usage of carbohydrates and proteins by the dog's body, creation fatty acids and production of energy, and reproduction processes.

Manganese also keeps the body’s metabolic rate at a higher level which increases fat burn.

10. Raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties for joint health.

As we have discussed already, one of the main benefits of consuming all berries (not just raspberries) is their extremely potent anti-inflammatory effects which also apply to dogs.

Dogs with canine arthritis or hip dysplasia may benefit a lot from added raspberries in their diet because of the anti-inflammatory antioxidants within raspberries. These antioxidants may ease your dog’s pain and discomfort, and put more pep in her step.

Benefits of feeding raspberries to dogs infographic

“So can I give my dog raspberries?”

Yes, you can give your dog raspberries and there's plenty of good reasons to do so. Raspberries are very healthy for dogs and may provide tons of vital benefits.

However, remember to always start with very small amounts of raspberries for dogs, and monitor your pet when you give them this superfruit berry.

It's best to feed raspberries to dogs in moderation and as an occasional treat rather than make it their regular diet because after all, raspberries are still full of natural sugar, which dogs generally do not require in their diet.

The Bottom Line: Raspberries are a highly nutritious berry that offers a dog many potential health benefits as long as they do not become a regular food in your dog’s diet.

READ ALSO: Can Dogs Eat Almonds?

2 Potential Side Effects of Raspberries for Dogs

Side effects of raspberries for dogsGenerally, unless eaten in very large quantities, raspberries for dogs do not have any side effects on canines and can be safely consumed in moderate amounts.

Also, always make sure to wash raspberries thoroughly to rid them of any pesticides and bacteria.

Even though raspberries for dogs may be very healthy and a good occasional treat, there are two things that you need to keep in mind if you want to give raspberries to your dog.

1. Gastrointestinal upset.

Giving too many raspberries (and sometimes, even a little) may result in vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. This is most often seen when raspberries are fed in excess to a dog or introduced too quickly into a dog’s diet.

To avoid it, start with very small amounts and do not make it a regular treat. 

2. Xylitol in raspberries.

What most people don't know is that raspberries are one of the few fruits with the highest level of natural xylitol in them, according to research (20). There's approximately 400 micograms of xylitol per 1 gram of raspberries.

As many pet owners know by now, xylitol itself is toxic to dogs (21) and can contribute to the development of liver disease and hypoglycemia in dogs, both of which can be life-threatening to your pet if left untreated.

But is natural xylitol found in raspberries also toxic to dogs?

The answer is yes, natural xylitol is still toxic to dogs. However, your dog would need to eat a whole lot of raspberries for xylitol to kick-in, poison and potentially kill the dog.

Let's do the math:

1 cup of raspberries contains approximately 0.05 grams of xylitol. A 20 lb dog would need to ingest about 2-4 grams of xylitol for it to cause low blood sugar in the canine and about 16 grams of xylitol for it to be fatal.

Now, in order for xylitol in raspberries to cause hypoglycemia in dogs, your 20 lb canine would need to eat at least 4-6 full cups of raspberries. And for raspberries to kill your 20 lb dog, he'd need to ingest about 30-32 cups.

The bottom line here is that not even people usually consume that many raspberries, so as long as you don't overfeed your dog on them, xylitol in raspberries will not be an issue.

Can Dogs Eat Raspberries?

Can Dogs Eat RaspberriesIn conclusion, dogs can eat raspberries and raspberries are not toxic to dogs. In fact, raspberries can provide many health benefits to canines.

Fed as an occasional treat and in moderation, raspberries is a recommended ingredient homemade dog food. They are an excellent alternative to fatty, sugary, processed treats.

The beneficial qualities of raspberries can strengthen a dog’s vital body functions, improve the immune system, bolster the digestive system, help fight cancers and infections, ease the pain of canine arthritis, and promote healthy weight loss.

Keep in mind that large amounts of raspberries may upset your dog's stomach, and extremely high amount of raspberries may cause hypoglycemia or even be fatal.


References and citations

Footnotes, study citations and further reading:

  1. Kelly L. Wolfe, Xinmei Kang, Xiangjiu He, Mei Dong, Qingyuan Zhang and Rui Hai Liu. Cellular Antioxidant Activity of Common Fruits. Department of Food Science and Institute of Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-7201
  2. Burton-Freeman, B. M., Sandhu, A. K., & Edirisinghe, I. (2016). Red Raspberries and Their Bioactive Polyphenols: Cardiometabolic and Neuronal Health Links. Advances in Nutrition, 7(1), 44–65.
  3. Törrönen R1, Kolehmainen M, Sarkkinen E, Poutanen K, Mykkänen H, Niskanen L. Berries reduce postprandial insulin responses to wheat and rye breads in healthy women. J Nutr. 2013 Apr;143(4):430-6. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.169771. Epub 2013 Jan 30.
  4. Törrönen R1, Sarkkinen E, Niskanen T, Tapola N, Kilpi K, Niskanen L. Postprandial glucose, insulin and glucagon-like peptide 1 responses to sucrose ingested with berries in healthy subjects. Br J Nutr. 2012 May;107(10):1445-51. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511004557. Epub 2011 Sep 20.
  5. Törrönen R, Sarkkinen E, Tapola N, Hautaniemi E, Kilpi K, Niskanen L. Berries modify the postprandial plasma glucose response to sucrose in healthy subjects. Br J Nutr. 2010 Apr;103(8):1094-7. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509992868. Epub 2009 Nov 24.
  6. Joseph SV1, Edirisinghe I, Burton-Freeman BM. Berries: anti-inflammatory effects in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2014 May 7;62(18):3886-903. doi: 10.1021/jf4044056. Epub 2014 Mar 17.
  7. Jeong HS1, Hong SJ, Lee TB, Kwon JW, Jeong JT, Joo HJ, Park JH, Ahn CM, Yu CW, Lim DS. Effects of black raspberry on lipid profiles and vascular endothelial function in patients with metabolic syndrome. Phytother Res. 2014 Oct;28(10):1492-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5154. Epub 2014 Apr 7.
  8. Jimenez F1, Mitts TF, Liu K, Wang Y, Hinek A. Ellagic and tannic acids protect newly synthesized elastic fibers from premature enzymatic degradation in dermal fibroblast cultures. J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Jun;126(6):1272-80.
  9. Bae JY1, Choi JS, Kang SW, Lee YJ, Park J, Kang YH. Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation. Exp Dermatol. 2010 Aug;19(8):e182-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.01044.x.
  10. Aiyer, H. S., Vadhanam, M. V., Stoyanova, R., Caprio, G. D., Clapper, M. L., & Gupta, R. C. (2008). Dietary Berries and Ellagic Acid Prevent Oxidative DNA Damage and Modulate Expression of DNA Repair Genes. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 9(3), 327–341.
  11. J.M. Landete. Ellagitannins, ellagic acid and their derived metabolites: A review about source, metabolism, functions and health. Food Research International Volume 44, Issue 5, June 2011, Pages 1150–1160
  12. Ravoori S1, Vadhanam MV, Aqil F, Gupta RC. Inhibition of estrogen-mediated mammary tumorigenesis by blueberry and black raspberry. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jun 6;60(22):5547-55. doi: 10.1021/jf205325p. Epub 2012 May 22.
  13. Mentor Marcel, R. A., Bobe, G., Sardo, C., Wang, L.-S., Kuo, C.-T., Stoner, G., & Colburn, N. H. (2012). Plasma Cytokines as Potential Response Indicators to Dietary Freeze-Dried Black Raspberries in Colorectal Cancer Patients. Nutrition and Cancer, 64(6), 820–825.
  14. Wang, L.-S., Arnold, M., Huang, Y.-W., Sardo, C., Seguin, C., Martin, E., … Stoner, G. (2011). Modulation of Genetic and Epigenetic Biomarkers of Colorectal Cancer in Humans by Black Raspberries: A Phase I Pilot Study. Clinical Cancer Research : An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 17(3), 598–610.
  15. Casto, B. C., Knobloch, T. J., Galioto, R. L., Yu, Z., Accurso, B. T., & Warner, B. M. (2013). Chemoprevention of Oral Cancer by Lyophilized Strawberries. Anticancer Research, 33(11), 4757–4766.
  16. Wang, L.-S., Hecht, S. S., Carmella, S. G., Yu, N., Larue, B., Henry, C., … Stoner, G. D. (2009). Anthocyanins in Black Raspberries Prevent Esophageal Tumors in Rats. Cancer Prevention Research (Philadelphia, Pa.), 2(1), 84–93.
  17. Erlund I1, Koli R, Alfthan G, Marniemi J, Puukka P, Mustonen P, Mattila P, Jula A. Favorable effects of berry consumption on platelet function, blood pressure, and HDL cholesterol. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):323-31.
  18. Zhang, H.-M., Zhao, L., Li, H., Xu, H., Chen, W.-W., & Tao, L. (2014). Research progress on the anticarcinogenic actions and mechanisms of ellagic acid. Cancer Biology & Medicine, 11(2), 92–100.
  19. Konczak, I., & Zhang, W. (2004). Anthocyanins—More Than Nature’s Colours. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2004(5), 239–240.
  20. MÄKINEN, K. K. and SÖDERLlNG, E. (1980), A QUANTITATIVE STUDY OF MANNITOL, SORBITOL, XYLITOL, AND XYLOSE IN WILD BERRIES AND COMMERCIAL FRUITS. Journal of Food Science, 45: 367–371. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.1980.tb02616.x
  21. Piscitelli CM1, Dunayer EK, Aumann M. Xylitol toxicity in dogs. Compend Contin Educ Vet. 2010 Feb;32(2):E1-4; quiz E4.

READ NEXT: 11 Best Superfoods for Dogs That May Improve Their Health