Acai berries are “superfoods” for humans.
The fruit has a lot of nutrient value.
But can your dog eat it too?
What does it give to your pooch?
Keep reading to discover:
- Why you should feed this to aging doggos.
- 5 benefits of feeding your dog acai berries.
- 3 dangers of feeding your dog acai berries.
- Why you shouldn’t give your dog too much of this fruit.
- And many, many more…
Table of contents
- Can dogs eat acai berries?
- Can dogs eat frozen acai berries?
- How many acai berries can dogs eat?
- 5 benefits of feeding your dog acai berries
- 3 dangers of feeding your dog acai berries
Can dogs eat acai berries?
Dogs can eat acai berries. But not in large amounts. It contains theobromine which is poisonous for them. The nutrients aren’t stable and your dog could develop allergies. But acai is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It can improve brain function and may also prevent colon cancer.
Can dogs eat frozen acai berries?
Dogs can eat frozen acai berries. In fact, this is the best way to eat them as fruit tends to go bad quickly.
The freezing process preserves the quality and the nutrients inside. It also makes it easier to transport acai berries.
And in this way, you can make sure that you don’t feed your dog bad acai berries.
How many acai berries can dogs eat?
Dogs can eat as many acai berries as corresponds to their dietary needs.
Dogs have to consume 1000 calories per day. And acai berries have 70 calories per 3.5 oz (100 g).
Adult dogs also need 0.881849 oz (25 g) of protein per day. Acai berries can supply 0.0705479 oz (2 g) of that.
Remember that dogs can’t eat a lot of these berries because of theobromine content.
So you must treat these as supplementary to their meals. And not a main source of nutrients.
Ask your vet for advice on how much to give your pooch.
The AKC says this will depend on the following factors:
- Activity Rate.
- You & your dog’s preference.
- Food allergies & sensitivities.
5 benefits of feeding your dog acai berries
#1: Rich in antioxidants
Acai berries provide antioxidants to your pooch.
These help your dog fight against the process of oxidation. Which produces free radicals.
This is the process of inflammation. And it can result in lowered natural antioxidants in the body.
The more free radicals, the more cell and tissue damage.
This can even lead to a higher risk of cancer.
But when you give your dog sources of antioxidants, their body gets strong to fight it off.
It even fights off the effects of chronic inflammation. Which is when your dog’s body constantly has to fight against illness.
“What are the antioxidants in acai berries?”
Acai berries are rich in anthocyanins. These are the same antioxidants present in blueberries.
And according to the VCA, it’s used to treat:
- Urinary tract infections.
- Cardiovascular conditions.
Did you know? Anthocyanins give acai berries their dark color. This is why other dark berries are also rich in this antioxidant, too.
#2: Can improve brain function
This is one possible effect that acai can have on dogs.
There aren’t studies done on canines and acai berries.
But there are studies done on mice.
Which means that they’re preliminary.
The results need more studying to truly test it.
Effects of acai on old rats
In this study, the researchers took the pulp of acai berries.
And fed it as supplements to old rats.
After 8 weeks, they found that the rats had improved reference memory. They tested it using the Morris water maze.
Which is a test for rats. This measures their spatial memory and learning.
The researchers concluded that acai berries protect brain function. Through its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fun fact: The USDA says that acai berries have more antioxidants than other berries. Like blueberries and cranberries.
If it does help with brain function, then it’s effective with other conditions. Like canine cognitive dysfunction.
This is also called doggy dementia.
Doggy dementia (CCD)
It’s a condition where a dog’s brain doesn’t function as well.
They may forget things like paths to their house.
And some dogs may get scared and panic because they don’t recognize their dog parents.
It’s a steady decline for old pooches. And sadly, there’s no cure for it.
At present, only managing treatment is available.
But, there are studies showing the effects of antioxidants on brain oxidative damage.
The results show that an antioxidant-rich diet. Plus behavioral enrichment training is best for CCD.
It improves cognitive functions like:
- Spatial learning.
- Visual recognition.
- Reversal learning ability.
Further reading: Why Is My Old Dog Suddenly Food Obsessed? 9 Reasons
#3: Supplies calcium
According to Healthline, acai berries contain calcium. The amount inside it is 2% of the recommended amount for humans.
Dogs need about .035 oz (1 g) of this mineral every day.
NAP says that this mineral is important. Especially for growing dogs.
It helps with the formation of bones and teeth.
And it also aids in nerve impulse transmission and cell signaling.
It helps your dog to have smoother muscle contraction.
And it has a function in blood coagulation. Otherwise known as blood clotting. Which is a very important aspect of wound healing.
“What happens if my dog doesn’t have enough calcium?”
The main result of a calcium deficiency is major skeletal abnormalities.
One of my friend’s dogs, Duchess, gave birth to 7 healthy puppies.
As they grew, she noticed that one of the puppies had foot pads that weren’t quite flat on the floor.
She took the puppy to their vet. And found that the puppy had a calcium deficiency.
The vet sent them home with calcium supplements. Within a few weeks, the pup’s feet became normal.
“Do acai berries have other minerals in them?”
Aside from calcium, they also contain:
Zinc helps with enzyme reactions. A dog needs this for body functions.
It’s important in cell replication and wound healing. And it also helps your dog’s body to process proteins and carbohydrates.
Copper helps make connective tissue. And is part of the antioxidant activity against oxidative damage.
It also helps in processing:
Magnesium helps keep the cell membranes stable. While boosting hormone secretion and function.
Like calcium, it helps with strong bones and teeth.
#4: Rich in vitamins
Acai berries are rich in Vitamin C and A.
Most of the time, dogs don’t need Vitamin C or ascorbic acid supplements.
Because their bodies already produce it in their livers.
This is why you won’t find a lot of vitamin c supplements in pet stores. Or recommended by vets.
But it’s a very strong antioxidant. And according to the AKC, dogs need it to:
- Reduce inflammation.
- Slow down cognitive aging.
- Get rid of harmful free radicals.
Note: Don’t reach for Vitamin C supplements intended for humans. This can cause vitamin excess in your pooch and have serious consequences.
“What happens if dogs have an excess of Vitamin C?”
When dogs process this vitamin it results in calcium oxalate. Now, this compound isn’t good in large amounts.
According to PetMD, an excess of this can result in oxalate stones.
This happens because the calcium oxalate gets out of the body through urine.
And when it accumulates in the urinary tract, stones can form anywhere there.
This is why it’s important to have just the right dosage of this vitamin. And not to overdo it.
Warning: Don’t give your dog Vitamin C supplements unless they have a deficiency.
Always consult with your vet before adding anything to their nutrition intake.
#5: May help prevent colon cancer
Colon cancer is a heartbreaking diagnosis in dogs.
But it’s also a rare one.
VCA says that it affects dogs of senior age. About 9 years old.
And the signs are:
- No appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Blood in vomit or poop.
These symptoms are like other stomach-related illnesses. So I suggest that you take your dog to the vet when they display these signs.
Tests will help to determine the cause. And rule out other diseases.
“How do acai berries help with colon cancer?”
This is just in the realm of possibility as studies on dogs are lacking.
And there are only preliminary animal studies.
But there is a chance that acai berries could help fight against colon cancer.
In this study, the researchers studied the effects of pellets with 5% acai powder. They did the experiment on mice that had induced colon cancer.
The acai powder reduced cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the mice.
In the control group, it was by 23% and 15%. But in the experimental group, both kinds of tumors had reduced by 76.9%.
The researchers also said that it reduced the number of healthy cells turning cancerous (tumorigenesis).
This means that studies haven’t explored the benefits for dogs.
3 dangers of feeding your dog acai berries
#1: Contains theobromine
In humans, this gives that “wake-up” feeling the same as caffeine.
But in dogs…
This is a substance highly toxic in large amounts.
Chocolate contains this. This is why it’s a no-no to give your dog chocolate.
This substance is also in acai berries. But your dog would have to consume a lot for it to be fatal.
“Why do dogs get theobromine poisoning?”
According to this study, dogs aren’t able to metabolize it fast enough. And it often remains in the liver for about 18 hours before it gets out of their body.
The signs of theobromine poisoning may appear at least 2 hours after eating. And up to 24 hours after eating.
The signs include:
- Fast heartbeat.
- Vomiting blood.
- Abnormal thirst.
- Muscle twitching.
- Excessive panting.
- Loss of body movement control.
More severe signs are:
- Irregular heartbeat.
It takes a lot of theobromine for dogs to get poisoned.
The lethal dose is between 0.0035274 oz (100 mg) to 0.017637 oz (500 mg) per kg of body weight in dogs.
“So, are acai berries toxic to dogs?”
Acai berries aren’t toxic to dogs. As long as they’re not eaten in large amounts.
This is why it’s very important for a consultation with your vet. Do this if you plan to add it to your dog’s diet.
Don’t use it as a treat or a main source of nutrients. Because of the possibility of theobromine poisoning.
“What will I do when my dog eats a lot of acai?”
There are times when accidents happen. Like dogs getting into your acai smoothie bowl.
If this happens take note of the amount your dog ate. And then go to your emergency vet.
Your vet will recommend something to flush it out of their system.
This depends on the possible amount of theobromine.
Dogs eliminate theobromine using urine. So intravenous fluids and a lot of peeing would be what most vets will have dog parents do
Do you want to learn more about theobromine poisoning?
Then watch this video:
You may also wonder: 5 Alarming Reasons Why Dogs Can’t Eat Shreddies
#2: It’s not really stable
There is some evidence that the antioxidants in acai berries aren’t stable.
So if you don’t preserve the berry properly, it will lose that effect.
In this study, the researchers compared the antioxidant ability of the following:
- Acai berry.
- Grape seed extract.
They measured the effectivity of each in preventing lipid oxidation in dog food.
The purpose was to test if any of these would be able to replace synthetic antioxidants.
After 12 days at 131°F (55°C), the researchers found that all the natural antioxidants. Except acai berry could replace the synthetic one.
“How can I preserve acai berries for my dog?”
Freezing acai berries is one way of doing it.
Then you can crush it. And mix it with their food.
Always remember to use it as a supplement only. Not as the main source of their nutrients.
You might also want to know: 9 Signs That Your Dog Food Has Gone Bad
#3: Possibility of allergy development
All dogs can develop an allergy to food.
It’s different from environmental allergies.
Food allergies take a longer time to develop.
Acai berries have about 0.0705479 oz (2 g) of protein. And dogs may develop sensitivities to proteins, according to VCA.
But any ingredient they eat can cause allergies.
“How do vets treat food allergies?”
For 8 – 12 weeks dogs have to eat a hypoallergenic diet. This doesn’t contain any ingredient from their old one.
The elimination process helps the vet identify the allergen.
Once that’s done, your pooch will need new dog food. One that doesn’t contain the allergens from their old diet.