Can Dogs Eat Sugarberries?

Can Dogs Eat Sugarberries?

As a dog owner, it’s natural to want to share the delightful fruits we enjoy with our beloved furry companions. One such fruit that may catch your eye is the sugarberry, also known as the hackberry or Celtis occidentalis. But before you decide to share these sweet treats with your four-legged friend, it’s essential to understand their nutritional value and potential impact on canine health. In this article, we’ll explore whether dogs can eat sugarberries safely, or if they pose any health risks. So let’s dive in!


What Are Sugarberries?

Sugarberries are small, dark purple to black fruits that grow on the sugarberry tree, a member of the elm family. They are commonly found in North America and other regions with temperate climates. These berries have a sweet taste and are often used in various culinary applications, such as jams, jellies, and baked goods.

Nutritional Value of Sugarberries

Sugarberries are rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, and vitamin K, essential for blood clotting. Additionally, sugarberries offer a good amount of dietary fiber, promoting digestive health in humans.

Can Dogs Eat Sugarberries?

While sugarberries are generally safe for human consumption, the same may not apply to our canine companions. Dogs have different dietary needs and metabolic processes, which can make certain fruits, including sugarberries, potentially harmful to them.

Potential Health Risks

  1. Gastrointestinal Upset: Dogs might experience stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or vomiting after consuming sugarberries, as their digestive systems are not adapted to handle high levels of fruit sugars.
  2. Risk of Obesity: Sugarberries are naturally sweet, and feeding them to your dog regularly may lead to an increased intake of calories, potentially contributing to weight gain and obesity.
  3. Blood Sugar Levels: Sugarberries’ high sugar content can cause a rapid spike in a dog’s blood sugar levels, which may be problematic for those with diabetes or insulin resistance.

Moderation is Key

If you decide to share sugarberries with your furry friend, moderation is crucial. Offering only a few berries as an occasional treat is a safer approach, especially for dogs with no known fruit allergies or sensitivities.

Consult Your Veterinarian

Before introducing any new fruit to your dog’s diet, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide personalized advice based on your dog’s individual health needs and dietary restrictions.

Healthy Fruits for Dogs

While sugarberries may not be the best fruit choice for dogs, several other fruits are both safe and beneficial for their health. Some examples include:

  • Blueberries: Rich in antioxidants and low in calories, blueberries make a great occasional treat for dogs.
  • Apples: Remove the seeds and core, and apples can be a crunchy and vitamin-rich snack for your canine companion.
  • Watermelon: Without seeds and rind, watermelon is a hydrating fruit that dogs can enjoy on hot days.

The Impact of Sugarberries on Canine Health

Digestive System

Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, which makes it challenging for them to digest certain fruits effectively. Sugarberries, being high in natural sugars and fiber, can lead to gastrointestinal issues and discomfort in some dogs.

Blood Sugar Levels

As mentioned earlier, sugarberries’ sweetness can cause a rapid increase in a dog’s blood sugar levels. This sudden spike may not be well-tolerated, especially in dogs with diabetes or insulin resistance.

Weight Management

Obesity is a common health issue among dogs, and consuming sugary fruits like sugarberries can contribute to weight gain. Pet owners must be cautious about offering high-calorie treats to their dogs to maintain a healthy weight.

Dental Health

Frequent consumption of sweet fruits can also have negative effects on a dog’s dental health. The sugar in these fruits can lead to tooth decay and plaque buildup, which may result in dental problems down the road.

Precautions to Take When Feeding Sugarberries to Dogs

If you still wish to share a few sugarberries with your furry friend, follow these precautions:

  • Wash the berries thoroughly to remove any potential pesticides or contaminants.
  • Remove the pits, seeds, and stems, as they can pose choking hazards or contain toxins.
  • Introduce sugarberries slowly, in small amounts, and observe how your dog reacts to them.

Homemade Dog Treat Recipes with Safe Fruits

Sugarberry Dog Treats


  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed sugarberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, mix oat flour, mashed sugarberries, applesauce, egg, and honey until well combined.
  • Roll dough into small balls, place on baking sheet.
  • Flatten each ball slightly with a fork or your fingers.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the treats are firm and slightly golden.
  • Let them cool completely before giving them to your dog.

Blueberry Frozen Delight


  • 1 cup plain yogurt (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)


  1. Blend the plain yogurt and blueberries in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays or silicone molds.
  • Freeze until solid for a few hours.
  • Serve as a refreshing and healthy treat for your dog on hot days.


While sugarberries may be a delightful treat for humans, they are not the best option for our canine companions. The high sugar content and potential health risks make it advisable to choose safer fruits for dogs, such as blueberries and apples. If you’re ever unsure about introducing a new fruit into your dog’s diet, consult your veterinarian for professional advice. Prioritize your dog’s health with moderation in mind.


Are sugarberries toxic to dogs?

Sugarberries are not considered toxic to dogs, but they can cause gastrointestinal upset and other health issues if consumed in large quantities.

Can sugarberries be given as a regular treat for dogs?

It’s best to offer sugarberries as an occasional treat in small amounts due to their high sugar content and potential impact on blood sugar levels.

Do all dogs have the same reaction to sugarberries?

No, individual dogs may react differently to sugarberries. Some may tolerate them well, while others might experience digestive discomfort.

What should I do if my dog accidentally eats a large number of sugarberries?

If your dog consumes a significant amount of sugarberries and shows signs of distress or illness, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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