Can Dogs Eat Elderberries?  

Elderberries, often enjoyed by humans for their health benefits, should be strictly avoided when it comes to our four-legged friends. While elderberries may seem harmless, they pose significant risks to the health and well-being of dogs. The presence of cyanogenic glycosides in elderberries can result in the release of cyanide. Cyanide is highly toxic and can have fatal consequences for dogs if a large amount is ingested. Keeping our furry companions away from elderberries and any product containing them is crucial to their safety and to prevent any adverse reactions. 

The Health Risks of Elderberries 

American elderberries are indigenous to the eastern and midwestern regions of North America. They have increased in popularity in the United States and are used to make jellies, syrups, wines, and dietary supplements, due to their numerous beneficial properties. However, it is critical to exercise caution when handling elderberries, as both the foliage and berries contain a potentially harmful substance known as cyanogenic glycoside. Ingesting significant quantities of the fruit or leaves can lead to cyanide poisoning, although the risk of this is typically low for most species. If a substantial amount of the plant and its fruit is consumed, the signs of elderberry toxicity can be severe. 

Elderberry Poisoning Symptoms 

Signs of elderberry toxicity can range from mild to severe depending on the amount ingested. If only a few berries, leaves, or herbal supplements were consumed then the risk of poisoning is low. Potential signs of elderberry toxicity include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Anorexia 
  • Lethargy 


If your beloved pup has ingested a significant quantity of elderberries, it is essential to take immediate action by contacting your veterinarian and Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for prompt medical assistance. Veterinary intervention is necessary if your dog has consumed a substantial amount or is experiencing severe and persistent symptoms, such as recurring vomiting or bloody diarrhea. The treatment provided will depend on the dosage and specific signs of poisoning exhibited by your dog. Although elderberries can offer health benefits to humans, it is always wise to keep them well out of reach of our furry companions to ensure their well-being and avoid potential harm.