Can I Give My Dog Goji Berries?

Yum! There is nothing like a handful of bright red goji berries, is there? But can you give a couple to your dog when he comes sniffing at your hand?

In this article, we will go over the safety and nutritional benefits of goji berries for dogs. But first, let's talk about what goji berries are if you are not familiar with them. 

What are Goji Berries?

Goji berries are an Asian fruit with the scientific name Lycium barbarum. They also are sometimes referred to as "wolfberries."

With their vivid red color, they are easy to recognize. Their flavor can be described as a mixture of sweet and sour. It is increasingly common to find goji berries as ingredients in Western products. You also may be able to purchase them fresh or dried at the supermarket. 

Are Goji Berries Safe For Dogs?

This question has a short and sweet answer: Yes! It is safe to feed your dog goji berries in moderate amounts. The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) writes that goji berries are "good for dogs."

Veterinarian Kara McCarty says, "Goji Berries do not appear to be toxic. They were originally grown in Tibet, look like a tomato and taste like a cherry. They have many of the same antioxidant properties as tomatoes as well as high levels of vitamins C, B and E as well as calcium. Because they are a fruit however they may cause diarrhea or loose stools if too many are given at once. Introduce them slowly so as not to cause stomach upset if you want to try them and don't give so many your dog isn't eating his regular food."

Health Benefits of Goji Berries for Dogs

Here are some of the potential health benefits of goji berries:

  • Goji berries can nourish your dog with vitamins C, B, E, and A, calcium, iron, fiber, and protein. That means they can enhance the health of muscles, nerves, bones and enzymes.
  • Immune health may get a boost from goji berries.
  • Goji berries may be good for eyesight.

How Many Goji Berries Can Your Dog Eat?

Now you know that goji berries are safe for your dog. Great! But how much is enough, and how much is too much? You should not feed your dog too many goji berries. Treats and snacks should not exceed 10% of your dog's daily calories. But goji berries are high in sugar, so goji berries should comprise far less than 10% of a dog's daily diet. The amount will depend on your dog's weight, but eight goji berries or less a couple of times a week should be suitable.

How to Feed Goji Berries to Your Dog

You can give your pet either fresh or dried goji berries. Remove them from the stems if they are still attached, and let your dog eat the individual berries the same way you would.

Can a Dog Be Allergic to Goji Berries?

Goji berries aren't toxic to dogs, but wait—could allergies be an issue? Most dogs are not allergic to goji berries, but it is possible. So, when you first feed your dog goji berries, go slowly, and check for signs of an allergic reaction.

Dogs with allergic reactions may develop symptoms like hives, itching, indigestion, ear infections, or facial swelling. If a small amount does not produce these symptoms, you can give your dog more goji berries. Just don't overdo it. 

Be Aware of Potential Interactions

Hang on a sec—did we mention that goji berries and certain drugs can interact? If your pup is on any medication to lower blood pressure, treat diabetes, or thin the blood, goji berries might be problematic. Ask your vet before you add them to your pet's diet. 

Conclusion: Goji Berries are a Safe and Nutritious Treat for Dogs

To sum up, yes, goji berries are safe for your dog in small amounts! So, go ahead and feed your pet your favorite delicious super fruits. Enjoy sharing the nutritional benefits of goji berries with your best pal!

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