We all know that elderberries are a healthy snack for humans, but is this the case with dogs? Can dogs eat elderberry? Or are they toxic?

We have answers to all these questions in this 3-minute read! The short answer is no! You should not feed your dog elderberry in any amount because there are consequences that are just not worth it—still confused? Read below to learn everything about elderberries and dogs.

Is Elderberry Safe For Dogs?

Elderberries are toxic to dogs and are one of the human foods that should never be a part of your dog’s meals. Now we understand why you might be confused regarding this “toxic situation” because these elderberries can be consumed under the right circumstances. But before that, here is what you need to know!

1. Avoid unripe berries

The very first thing is to know the reason why we say elderberry is toxic to dogs. So, when we say these berries are unsafe for dogs or humans, we mean that when they are unripe, they should not be consumed.

2. Contains amygdalin

Also, coming to the significant issue is the seed, leaves, and the whole plant that contains adequate amounts of amygdalin. For those of you who don’t know about this gentleman named amygdalin, this compound is a cyanogenic glycoside, which means it can release cyanide when metabolized (study). Now, besides unripe elderberry, the cyanide in the plant and seed is what makes it deadly for dogs (study). 

3. Seeds have cyanide

The key here is that if you see elderberries on the trail or in the wild, there is no sure way to know that they are fully ripe and ready to be munched. This can be a tricky situation, knowing that dogs stop at nothing when it comes to fruity snacks. As for the cyanide in the seeds, the elderberry is so little that it’s not really accessible to remove the seeds without tearing off their ripe flesh. 

Also, what do you even get out of these berries? If we consider its nutritional value, we can see some health benefits that might be great for your pooch. It includes antioxidant properties, immune support, anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins, and minerals, but at what cost? In the case of elderberries and dogs, the potential benefits DO NOT outweigh the risks, making elderberries not worth the potential harm to your pet.

If you want such health benefits, you can instead feed your dog these human foods that are safe and yummy:

a curious dog sniffing at an elderberry plant

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate Elderberries?

If you catch the ingestion early, or even if not, here is what you can do besides not panicking if your dog eats elderberries:

1. Observe symptoms

The first thing you should do is call your veterinarian and observe any symptoms or unusual behavior. If your dog has consumed the toxic ends of elderberry, they can show symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils

2. Induce vomiting

During this, your veterinarian might suggest you to induce vomiting with the help of medical dog supplies. In such cases, please be very careful and do it under professional guidance, as this can be a crucial step that will help to remove elderberries from your dog’s system. 

3. Medical assistance

If you know that your dog has ingested ripe or unripe elderberries, you should immediately call your veterinarian for assistance. It can be challenging to understand whether the berries were unripe or not, so it would be best to avoid any symptoms and contact your veterinarian before the situation worsens. 


Our final thoughts on “can dogs eat elderberry?” are a big no! We do not recommend feeding your dog elderberries, and there are a handful of reasons for that. It is because not only are these berries packed with toxins, but it is also a challenging fruit to judge whether it is safe for not. So be it anything- its supplements or any product, including jams and gummies, as they are harmful to your dog’s health. 

Although the main concern lies in the seeds and the plant, it’s challenging to be expert enough to identify a fully ripe elderberry in the wild, remove its seed, and then feed it to your dog. Hence, it would be best to feed your dog other alternatives that are safer and yummier than elderberries!

Frequently Asked Questions

How does elderberry help dogs?

There are quite a few health benefits of feeding your dog elderberries, but they are not worth the risk and panic. Whenever you see elderberries on the wild trails, assume that they are unripe and toxic to dogs.

How much elderberry can I give my dog?

None! It would help not to give your dog any amounts of elderberries. Even if you get your dog ripe, allergies are a common health problem in dogs and well, it also depends on the individual’s tolerance.

How do you remove cyanide from elderberries?

It is believed that cooking can remove the cyanide from elderberries, but it can be very challenging and never has 100% surety. Cooking or processing might reduce the cyanide levels, but you should prioritize your dog’s health over an experiment.

Can dogs have elderberry gummies?

No! You should never feed your dog elderberry gummies or any sweet-flavored candy. Here, the cyanide or unripe berry is not the problem, but additives like xylitol can be poisonous and deadly to dogs in high amounts (study).

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