Can Dogs Eat Elderberries?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Dogs can safely eat blackberries that have been ripened because they are very nutritious. In spite of this be aware that the leaves stems unripe fruit and root contain small amounts of cyanide which is poisonous to humans and dogs.

The purpose of this research is to explain “Can Dogs Eat Elderberries?“.

You enjoy walking your dog in the lush wooded areas especially. Is there anyone who does not? Everything is so green and smells so delicious. Underfoot is thick grass and there are plenty of shrubs and trees with tasty berries and fruits to provide fur kids and humans alike with snacks.

They are poisonous in some cases however. How can you tell which ones are poisonous? How do elderberries affect your dog? There are people who say elderberries are great and that they can be used as herbal medicines. It is said to kill your dog so you should stay as far away as you possibly can from it.

What do you think? In fact its both.

What is an Elderberry?

The dark purple elderberries grown on European elder trees are mainly used to make medicine. This is not supported by much scientific evidence. You could also ripe elderberries can also be used in cooking such as in jams jellies and pies or when making wine and tea. The American Elders are not the same as American Elders Dwarf Elders or Elderflowers.

Are Elderberries Healthy For Dogs?

Dogs love elderberries when they are ripe. If its berry season your pup probably would not be able to reach them since they grow pretty high up in the tree. Its then that the ripe berries fall from the tree littering the ground below. 

Elderberries contain a variety of nutrients including Vitamins A and C bioflavonoids (antioxidants) iron and iodine. They all improve your pups health helping to boost his immune system and generally giving him a leg up. However its not common in natural dog food so he might get the runs from eating too many berries.

Elderberries can discolor your pups poo for a little while just like beetroot. Prepare to see some purple parcels on the lawn if your Rover ate some elderberries.

Your pups immune system will be boosted and inflammation will be reduced by elderberries. As well as reducing stress elderberries help maintain a healthy heart. 

Are Unripe Elderberries Toxic for Dogs?

Elderberries that are not ripe or cooked can make people sick causing vomiting nausea and diarrhea. I hate that. But what about our furry friends? The unripe elderberry contains trace amounts of cyanide which is extremely dangerous to dogs and humans alike.

It is possible for your pup to die within an hour of eating enough unripe elderberries. As such if you suspect your pup had any make sure you get him to the vet as soon as possible.

Are Other Parts of the Elderberry Plant Toxic For Dogs?

Those who ingest elderberry leaves and stems could experience diarrhea vomiting and nausea.

Both you and your pup should avoid elderberry leaves and roots because they contain trace amounts of cyanide. These are extremely poisonous and can kill your dog in less than an hour if he ingests enough of them. In other words if your pup had any of it get him to a vet as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Elderberry Poisoning

The elderberry poisoning works quickly and it is extremely scary. We form hydrogen cyanide in our intestines when we eat plants containing amygdalin – its a form of cyanogenic glycose. Thats what kills us and our pups when we eat the wrong parts of the elderberry plant. In most animal species a dosage of two milligrams per kilogram body weight is fatal.

Depending on the size of your pup and how much he consumed cyanide toxicity shows within 15-20 minutes. It can be fatal within 30-45 minutes if left untreated. Signs to watch for include

  •         Coma
  •         Cherry red blood
  •         Dilated pupils
  •         Difficulty breathing
  •         Diarrhea
  •         Decreased blood pressure
  •         Excessive drooling
  •         Nausea
  •         Fluid build-up in the chest and abdomen
  •         Rapid heart rate
  •         Shock
  •         Seizures
  •         The bitter almond smell on my breath
  •         Tremors
  •         Vomiting
  •         Sudden death

As most of these symptoms overlap with other types of poisoning it is important to tell the vet what your dog ate in order to properly diagnose and treat the problem. Your pups blood will be cherry red and his breath will smell like bitter almonds. These are hallmarks of cyanide poisoning.

What To Do if My Dog Has Elderberry Poisoning?

In the case of elderberry poisoning you should visit your veterinarian right away since time is not on your side. For identification take a sample of the berries leaves and stem with you. In order to determine whether cyanide poisoning is present the vet will perform a quick examination.

A dogs blood or urine cannot be tested for cyanide immediately. Since your pup will be long gone by the time the test results are available your vet would not wait for them. Your pups best chance of survival depends on him getting treatment as soon as possible.

Amyl nitrate coupled with thiosulfate is likely to be injected intravenously. They are usually effective as long as your pups heart continues to beat. You should also be aware that these two antidotes are also toxic to dogs so a misdiagnosis could also prove deadly.

It is likely that the veterinarian will administer Vitamin B12 as it binds cyanide into an inert chemical compound that is flushed out through urine.

In addition supportive treatments can help restore your dogs health and help him cope with the shock. Among them are IV fluids to combat dehydration along with electrolytes and sugars. There is even the option of administering oxygen.

Will My Dog Recover From Elderberry Poisoning?

You may not be able to save your pet if you do not get him to the vet in time. In rare cases pups can be saved. Imagine that your puppy survives the first two hours after getting elderberry poisoning. He’ll probably recover completely and live to be a ripe old age in that case.

Depending on how much elderberry your dog ate how quickly treatment started and how large he is his recovery time will vary. The cyanide may also have remained in his body. Later this would be absorbed in the guts causing elderberry poisoning symptoms again. Because of this your vet will probably ask you to come back for a follow-up inspection. He will pay particular attention to behavioral changes and neurological disturbances.

Are Other Wild Berries Toxic For Dogs?

Elderberries are dark purple berries on the American Elder shrub. They are used in many foods and drinks including pies jams wine and juice. 

Dogs should be kept away from dwarf elders which produce berries. You can probably expect your poor pup to get the runs after eating them because they’re used in purgative herbal medicines. Get your dog to the vet as soon as you notice him nibbling on dwarf elderberries.

Blackberries are a big favorite for dogs and we understand! They pair well with just about anything. In addition they’re packed with goodness that dogs love.

The Black Bryony and its cousin the White Bryony should be avoided at all costs. Consuming either of these climbing plants can result in severe diarrhea. In the event that your dog ingested these berries or other parts of the plant you should take him to the vet right away.

The berries of the dogwood tree are dark small and sour. Although they are not poisonous per se they cause gastrointestinal irritation. They can make your dog vomit if consumed in excess.

We also have Rosehip on our list. Vitamin C is abundant in these. Since they’re pretty hairy inside dogs do not eat them very often.


Elderberries are packed with nutrients and are used as medicine both for humans and dogs. Elderberries and other parts of the elder plant are extremely poisonous to dogs and humans. If left untreated it causes cyanide poisoning which is lethal in less than an hour. What a scary thought! Take a sample of the plant including the berries leaves and stems (if you can) and get your pup to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect he has eaten some suspect berries.

Fortunately if your pet survives the first two hours after eating those berries he’ll probably recover completely living to a ripe old age.

If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.

Can Dogs Eat Elderberries? (Watch Video)

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