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Giving your dog fruits can help strengthen his immune system, aid digestion, improve his coat, and reduce inflammation. However, not all fruits are safe for your dog—some are toxic and carry a lot of health risks. So, for the well-being of your furry friend, it is always critical to know which fruits are safe and which ones are dangerous.
Where do acai berries fall? Is acai safe for your dog? Let’s find out.
What Is Acai?
Acai (or Euterpe Oleacera) are delicious, grape-like berries that are native to Brazil’s Amazon. Harvested from acai palm trees, the berries are 1-2 centimeters in diameter with a deep blue color. The fruits have a pleasant taste of berries with a hint of dark chocolate—one of the reasons why people remain hooked to the berries from the first time they taste it.
For the better part of the past decade, these tropical fruits have attracted a lot of attention, especially among the health-food aficionados due to their numerous health benefits, including aiding weight loss, boosting skin health, reducing bad cholesterol, boosting energy and sex drive, and promoting heart health among others.
Can Dogs Eat Acai?
The short answer is YES: you can give your dog acai berries. Being a superfood, acai berries can provide tons of benefits to your dog.
For starters, superfoods are basically foods that are thought to offer maximum nutritional benefits and thus great for physical and emotional health. And they are not just beneficial to our bodies but they can also provide a significant health boost to our dogs.
Here is how your dog can benefit from acai fruit:
- Antioxidants: Acai berries are packed with antioxidants that may help build up the immune system of your dog as well as protect him from free radicals.
- Calcium: The berries have high amount of calcium and may help keep the bones, nerves, and muscles of your dog strong and healthy.
- Anthocyanins: Like other berries, acai berries are dense sources of anthocyanins that have potent anti-inflammatory effects. So, if your dog is suffering from arthritis, this is the best fruit to give him. Anthocyanins are also known to neutralize superoxides, which dogs tend to produce when they are stressed.
- Heart-Healthy Fats: Feeding your dog some types of fish is not the only way of ensuring that he gets enough omega-3 fatty acids. Acai berries are also a good option. Giving your dog some acai fruit might lower his risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Vitamins: Acai berries are also rich in vitamin C and E, which are known to combine to boost your dog’s vibrant appearance.
- May Lower Risks of Cancer: Holistic veterinarians believe acai can lower the risk of certain types of cancer. However, no research has been done to prove such claims.
Beware Of Theobromine!
Although there are no reported cases of acai poisoning in dogs and the fact that ASPCA doesn’t consider the fruit to present any toxicity risk to dogs, strive to give your dog moderate amounts of acai. This is because acai berries contain theobromine, the same compound that cause chocolate poisoning in dogs.
Generally, dog’s digestive systems cannot break theobromine and that’s why they are susceptible to theobromine poisoning. Common signs of theobromine poisoning include mild diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, racing heart rate, excessive urination, restlessness, muscle tremors, increased thirst, and heart failure. If your dog has consumed acai berries and shows any of the above symptoms, contact a local vet immediately.
Acai also contains ficin and ficusin, which cause allergic reactions and other detrimental effects in dogs. For instance, ficusin photodermatitis while ficin destroys protein in your pooch’s body.
So, should you feed acai to your dog? Well, that depends on how you view potential benefits versus risks of the fruit to your dog. If your dog is at risk of arthritis and cancer, for instance, then there is no harm in allowing him to have his fill of acai berries.
When given in moderation, acai is safe for your dog irrespective of your reasons for giving him this superfood.
Given that acai berries tend to spoil very fast, consider purchasing frozen options or powdered acai. And whenever you decide to share acai with your family or canine friend, opt for fair trade options as they provide sustainable sources of income to the Amazon rainforest communities that grow the berries.