The quick answer: Proceed with caution. The fruit is safe in moderation if the pit and stem have been removed.
Benefits of cherries
Cherries are a nutritious fruit that contain vitamins A and C, fiber, antioxidants and melatonin. However, when fed a balanced dog food, your pet will get the nutrients he needs to stay healthy and doesn’t need to eat cherries to meet nutritional requirements.
It’s imperative to remove the pits and stems before allowing your dog to try a bite of cherry. The pit, stem, and leaves of a cherry contain cyanide which can cause cyanide poisoning. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include dilated pupils, bright red gums, and labored breathing. If your dog gobbles up a few whole cherries, pits included, then contact your veterinarian.
Additionally, swallowed cherry pits can cause an internal blockage, especially in smaller breeds. Symptoms of intestinal blockage include vomiting, decreased appetite, and constipation due to the inability to pass food through the digestive system.
Cherries should only be fed in moderation because they can cause gastrointestinal issues and diarrhea. For pet parents looking to treat their dog to some fruit, cherries are not the ideal choice. It may not be worth the required effort to remove each cherry pit, plus dogs should not eat very many cherries anyway. When sharing fruit, opt for a more dog-friendly option like an apple or banana.
Cherries that have been canned or jarred, such as maraschino cherries, should be avoided altogether because they contain high amounts of added sugar. The sugar can cause upset stomach and weight gain.