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Can Dogs Eat Acai Berries? Benefits & Risks

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat_acai berry

Can Dogs Eat Acai Berries? Benefits & Risks


Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Pet owners are constantly on the lookout for foods that are safe, and beneficial, to their pets. With all the new superfoods entering our lives, it’s only natural for us to be curious as to whether we can share those foods with our dogs and cats. One question is whether a dog can eat acai berries. Are acai berries safe for them? While acai berries have a reputation as one of these superfoods for humans, is it the same for dogs?

The answers to those questions are a bit tricky. Yes, acai berries can offer benefits for dogs. And yes, your dog can probably eat them if you choose, but only in small amounts. The issue comes from the amount your dog eats due to acai berries containing theobromine, the ingredient in dark chocolate that causes poisoning, and whether you want to take that risk. Let’s take a deeper look at acai berries, their benefits, and their dangers. This will help you decide whether you’d like to include this superfood as a part of your dog’s diet or steer clear.

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What Are Acai Berries?

The acai palm tree is native to South and Central America. On this tree, you will find fruits that are reddish-purple and roughly an inch long. These are acai berries. Why are they considered a superfood? Because of the antioxidants inside them. Whether the acai berry has more of these beneficial antioxidants than other fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries is still being debated. What is known, when it comes to acai berries, is that they contain antioxidants, anthocyanins, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are great for humans.

Fresh ripe acai berries as background
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

The Benefits of Acai Berries

When feeding your dog acai berries, there are benefits. These benefits are thanks to the nutrients found inside. Let’s take a look at each and how they can benefit your best friend.

  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants are known for their ability to reduce free radicals and build immune systems. Acai berries contain lots of vitamin C and even vitamins A and E. Each of these vitamins has its own antioxidants to help your dog’s immune system and even safeguard against certain forms of cancer.
  • Anthocyanins – You may not hear about anthocyanins as much as antioxidants. They are flavonoids that provide acai berries, and other fruits like blueberries, their color. Anthocyanins help to neutralize superoxides that are, at times, produced when a dog is feeling stressed. It is also believed that anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory properties which could reduce the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
  • Calcium – The benefits of calcium have been known for ages. They are basically the same for humans and dogs. Calcium is great for strengthening the bones and even helps fortify the muscular and nervous systems.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – We mostly hear about omega-3 fatty acids when talking about fish but they are also found in acai berries. Omega-3 fatty acids are great at aiding your dog’s skin, coat and as an anti-inflammatory.

The Dangers of Acai Berries

Now that we’ve gone over all the benefits of acai berries, let’s take a look at the dangers. You should keep these in mind before deciding to add acai berries to your dog’s diet or discuss them with your veterinarian for more information and their thoughts. We could not find reference to a safe number of acai berries for dogs to eat.

  • Allergies – You never know when your dog will be allergic to a new food you introduce them to. This is especially true when it comes to acai berries. Acai berries contain ficin and ficusin. These are known to cause allergic reactions. The first time a dog eats acai berries, they should be monitored closely to ensure no issues arise.
  • Theobromine – Theobromine could be considered the biggest concern when it comes to allowing a dog to eat acai berries. For humans, theobromine is used as a muscle relaxant, a heart stimulant, and a blood vessel dilator. The effect of theobromine on dogs is a different story. Theobromine is found in the cacao plant and is what causes chocolate poisoning in dogs. Our pooches simply cannot metabolize theobromine and can become extremely sick when high amounts are ingested.
sick dog
Image Credit: Christin Lola, Shutterstock

Is It Safe for My Dog to Eat Acai Berries?

This is where all the confusion comes into play. Yes, acai berries offer health benefits for dogs. Unfortunately, they can also be dangerous. Before you decide to introduce acai berries to your pooch, speak with your veterinarian to gather their recommendation on the subject. If you do decide to proceed with acai berries, moderation is the key. A small amount of acai berries can potentially offer your dog the benefits you are hoping for without the dangers. However, they shouldn’t be offered to your dog daily as part of their regular diet.

For those who want their dogs to reap the health benefits of acai berries, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Acai berries do have the potential to be dangerous so monitor your dog closely after they try them. If you notice any of the following, immediately contact your veterinarian:

sick australian shepherd dog
Image Credit: Irini Adler, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, acai berries are a slippery slope when it comes to dogs. Yes, your dog can eat them in moderation, but is it a safe choice? Overall, if you want to avoid any potential theobromine poisoning, you should steer clear of acai berries. However, if you feel the benefits are too much to ignore, a small amount should be safe for your dog to try. Before offering any new food to your pet, reach out to your veterinarian. They can help you better understand the risks vs the rewards of acai berries, or any other food you may want to offer your pet.

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