Cherries are a delicious, healthy snack for humans. There are a lot of benefits to cherries, there are many antioxidants, and they can improve sleep and decrease inflammation. Wow, with all those benefits they must be good for dogs too, right? Not really – cherry pits can be dangerous and can contain cyanide.  

Can Dogs Eat Cherries?  

The main hazard of cherries is the pit, leaves, and stems. These parts of the cherry contain cyanide, which is poisonous and can even be lethal if ingested in large amounts. The pits can even get lodged in the digestive tract and cause blockages in the intestines. Cherry pits contain the seed, which contains cyanide. The seed has to be broken open before cyanide is released.  Even if you think about offering your dog pit free cherries, such as maraschino cherries, it is not a great idea. The high sugar content makes them unsuitable as a dog treat.  

Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning in Dogs 

If your dog manages to sink his teeth into a whole cherry when you are not looking, it’s not the end of the world. One cherry will not cause cyanide poisoning. But you should still be on the lookout for symptoms of intestinal blockage such as vomiting, little to no appetite, and constipation. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning may be seen in dogs that have consumed a large amount of cherries and broken open the seed within the pit of the cherry. Some symptoms include dilated pupils, inflamed gums, trouble breathing, upset stomach, diarrhea, and shock.  Cherry pits swallowed whole will not be a concern for cyanide poisoning. 

If you find that your dog has eaten a lot of cherries, you should contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® immediately. Your veterinarian will assess your dog and prescribe the correct treatment. Your dog may receive anti-seizure medications and IV fluids to combat the cyanide poisoning.  


Steps to Take If Your Dog Ate Cherries 

If your dog is healthy and eats one or two cherries, you do not need to panic. Watch out for symptoms of intestinal blockage listed above. Contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 if any of these symptoms become apparent.  

Dogs that have consumed a large number of whole cherries need medical attention as soon as possible, even if your dog is not displaying any symptoms. Call Pet Poison Helpline® and your veterinarian to help get the care your dog needs.