The flesh of cherries contains many nutrients in the form of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that can benefit dogs. However, the risk of feeding your dog cherries far outweighs the benefits. Many fruits we eat can be enjoyed as treats by our favorite pets. Among them are apples, mangoes, bananas, and blueberries, to name a few, but cherries are a definite no. These tasty fruits can be deadly to dogs, so if you’re still wondering “are cherries safe for dogs?” there’s your answer. So why exactly are these sweet-sour fruits so dangerous to our furry friends? Find out by reading more below. 

Risks Associated with Eating Cherries 

The leaves, stem, and pits of the cherry plant all contain cyanogenic glycosides that can turn to cyanide. This toxic poison inhibits the function of the cytochrome C oxidase enzyme. Cytochrome C oxidase is very important for the cellular transportation of oxygen; without it, normal respiratory, cardiac, and mental functions are diminished. 

Though it is more likely that your dog eats the pit of a cherry, chewing on the leaves or stem can produce the same result. Swallowing the pit of the cherry fruit whole may not cause toxicity, as the cyanide will remain intact in the seed and probably pass out through the stool. Moreover, we humans have the conscious ability to separate the seeds from the juicy part of the fruits, but our dogs don’t have the luxury of being so aware. Suppose your dog was to consume a bunch of cherries. The seeds would fragment, releasing the toxic cyanogenic glycosides within it into the bloodstream. Your pet may start exhibiting symptoms within 24 hours; however, in large doses, death can occur within one to two hours. Even if by some sheer luck, your dog manages to eat the cherries without biting into the seed, the cherry pits may lodge in the stomach and cause intestinal blockage and intense stomach discomfort. 

Symptoms Of Cyanide Poisoning from Cherries 

The symptoms exhibited from poisoning largely depend on the quantity of cyanide ingested. Common signs of cyanide poisoning include: 

  • Inappetence 
  • Drooling  
  • Vomiting 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Constipation 
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Bright red gums 
  • Seizures 
  • Lack of urine 

Cyanide Toxicity Treatment 

Treatment of cyanide poisoning usually involves your vet prescribing hydroxocobalamin, sodium nitrite, or sodium thiosulphate as a first antidote. Serious cases may need oxygen supplementation to be administered to aid oxygen delivery to tissues and organs. In the case of intestinal blockage and constipation, your vet may prescribe a laxative to help ease the passage of stool. 

Only a professional veterinarian can perform any of these procedures appropriately. So, if you suspect your dog has consumed cherries or your pet is showing clinical signs of cyanide poisoning, contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for life-saving measures to keep your pet stable and take your dog to the vet clinic immediately.