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Is Elderberry Safe for Dogs? What Is Safe and What Is Not

Is Elderberry Safe for Dogs? What Is Safe and What Is Not

Elderberry is commonly used as a natural treatment for various human ailments.

When it’s prepared correctly, it’s safe for humans in small quantities. When not prepared correctly, it can cause some minor issues for people.

However, these issues are exponentially more severe when it comes to dogs. Extreme caution should be used when giving your dog elderberry.

When in doubt, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to make sure that you’re giving your dog a food that is okay to eat.

Will elderberry hurt dogs? Be extremely careful when giving a dog elderberry. While it is safe in small amounts (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight) if it has been prepared correctly, it is not safe if it has not been prepared properly. Elderberry poisoning effects could range from nausea to seizures and coma.

 Of course, you only want what is best for your dog, and while it is a noble venture to feed your dog healthy foods and supplements, giving the wrong foods or foods in the wrong form can have negative consequences. 

In the following, you’ll learn what is and is not safe concerning elderberries and your dog.

Elderberry for Dogs – What To Know

There are many considerations to be aware of when it comes to giving elderberries and elderberry products to your dog, especially since they can be toxic if not prepared correctly.

Toxins in Elderberry Plants

Elderberries contain glycoside, which is a cyanide-inducing chemical.

When cooked properly, the glycoside is neutralized in the berry, but there is no way to remove the glycoside from other parts of the plant including stems, roots, and leaves.

Glycoside can be fatal to dogs in small quantities, so it’s extremely important to know that you’ve removed all of it from elderberries if you’re not giving your dog a commercially available product made specifically for dogs.

What To Do if Dog Eats Elderberry Plant

If you believe that your dog has eaten any part of an elderberry plant, it is important to contact a veterinarian immediately.

The symptoms of cyanide poisoning can come on quickly, and if treatment isn’t administered quickly, the poisoning could be fatal.

Depending on the size of your dog and the amount and type of elderberry eaten, toxicity could show up in as little as 15 minutes, and coma or death could occur in less than an hour.

Can Dogs Have Elderberry Tea?

As long as elderberry tea is made with the properly prepared berries of the elderberry plant, it should be safe for your dog to drink.

If there is any other part of the elderberry plant included in the tea, such as leaves, flowers, roots, or stems, then it is not safe for your dog.

Additionally, the berries must be simmered for at least 45 minutes to remove the glycoside from them in order for the tea to be safe for your dog to drink. When in doubt, consult with your veterinarian.

Will Elderberry Gummies Hurt Dogs?

Many elderberry gummies include sugar or sugar substitutes that are not great for your dog.

While the elderberry in commercial gummies has likely been processed correctly, it’s unwise to give your dog elderberry gummies because of the sugar content.

Is Elderberry Extract Safe for Dogs?

There are many elderberry extracts made specifically for dogs. When in doubt, use one of the commercially available products to avoid any potential incorrect preparation that could cause your dog to become ill.

Giving your dog an elderberry extract that’s made for human consumption could possibly still contain a lethal dose of glycoside for dogs. Exercise caution when giving elderberry extract to your dog.

Benefits of Elderberry Syrup for Dogs

A jar of elderberry syrup on a table next to a spoon and fresh elderberries.

Some reported benefits of elderberry syrup made specifically for dogs include:

  • Respiratory health support
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Reduction in cold and flu duration
  • Stress reliever

How Much Elderberry Can I Give My Dog?

The safe level of consumption of elderberry for dogs is 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds per day.

If you have a 50-pound dog, it should be safe to give your dog 5 teaspoons of properly prepared elderberry per day.

Note that there is no level of safe consumption for elderberries that have not been prepared properly.

Potential Side Effects

Side effects of elderberry consumption in dogs can range from mild diarrhea to life-threatening issues such as seizures and coma.

Because of this, it’s advised to give your dog elderberries with an abundance of caution. As always, consult your veterinarian before giving your dog anything that might make them ill.

Here’s a list of several possible side effects of dogs eating elderberries:

  • Pupil dilation
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive panting
  • Blood in stool
  • Tremors and potentially seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Labored breathing

Natural Remedies for Dogs

There are many natural methods to both prevent and treat your dog’s ailments.

  • Echinacea helps with upper respiratory tract infections such as kennel cough.
  • Vitamin E oil helps to protect skin against UV rays, warts, calluses, and dry spots.
  • Yogurt can help with digestive issues, but be sure to get one that’s been specifically formulated for dogs since the human and canine digestive tracts are vastly different from one another.
  • Chamomile can help with skin irritation and upset stomach.
  • Oatmeal can help with skin irritation the same way it does for humans.
  • Epsom salts help clean wounds like they do in humans. They are especially great for using on dog’s feet where it’s difficult to spread other treatments.
  • Licorice root has been known to help dogs with itchiness.

Related Questions:

Can Dogs Have Echinacea?

Not only can dogs have echinacea, but in a 2003 study, it was shown to help upper respiratory tract infections (like kennel cough) in canines.

Is Elderberry Good for Kennel Cough?

Elderberry works the same for a dog’s viral infection as it would for a human’s.

Anecdotal evidence has shown that it could reduce the symptoms and improve the recovery time for viral infections in humans.

While it has not been extensively studied, there is evidence that elderberry can help kennel cough and viral infections in dogs.

Final Thoughts

While dogs can eat properly prepared elderberries in moderation, it’s best to only treat your dog with veterinarian-approved methods.

When in doubt, it’s best to ask your veterinarian about any herbal remedies that you’re giving your dog and ultimately go with their advice.

If you do give your dog elderberry, make sure it’s been cooked by simmering for at least 45 minutes.