The next ingredient we’re covering in our ongoing series on Healthy Ingredients for Your Pet is cherries. Who doesn’t love cherries - cherry pie, cherry cobbler or sweet maraschino cherries? While they may be tasty, are the healthy for your pets?What are cherries?
Cherries are a fruit, belonging to the Prunus genus and a drupe meaning a stone fruit. (That pit in the center).
Commercially grown cherries are either sweet or sour and they grow on trees of the same name. They blossom beautifully in the spring and you may be familiar with the “Cherry Blossom Festivals” held in several countries including Washington DC and Japan.Why would cherries be in pet food?
Cherries have many health benefits for humans and your pets. A few notable benefits of cherries include:
- Chock full of antioxidants
- Promote sound sleep (melatonin)
- Alleviate arthritis pain
- Cancer prevention (fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins)
Yes. There are benefits as outlined above, but the real danger for your pets is the cherry pits. They can cause stomach upset or blockage. Feed them the cherries but remove the stems and pits first. Maraschino cherries which contain tons of sugar are NOT suitable for your pets. Stick to pitted fresh cherries.
The pits, stems and leaves of the cherry tree contain cyanide, so consuming large amounts of them is very hazardous.
You can find dried, unsweetened cherries in many grocery stores and they are suitable – just be sure they are unsweetened, as your pets don’t need the extra sugar.Cherry Factoids:
Cherries belong to the rose family and don’t start producing fruit for 3-4 years.
Cherry blossoms are unofficial national flower of Japan and are said to represent beauty, courtesy, modesty, simplicity, spring and innocence.
The Oldest Cherry Blossom tree in the world is found in Japan. Its age is said to be 1800-2000 years old.Pet foods that contain cherries: