If you love acai and want to share this delicious superfood with your dog, safety should be your priority! And that’s why you are here, wondering if can dogs eat acai. Read on to learn just everything you’ll want to know about it!
Dogs can’t eat acai, which is a type of berry. It’s popular health food for humans due to its antioxidant profile and fiber content. However, it contains an active compound called theobromine. This is the same active compound found in caffeine and chocolate — both of which are poisonous to dogs even in small portions. Acai is not only unrecommended for dogs to eat, but it’s also downright dangerous!
Below is everything you should know about it.
What is acai?
Perhaps you’ve heard the word before, but you’re not quite sure just what it is. This plant is native to Brazil and is popular in health food stores and natural health products. It can be eaten in powdered form, berry form (fresh or frozen), and even juiced. It’s popular worldwide as a superfood.
Why is acai bad for dogs?
As introduced above, there is an active ingredient in acai, theobromine. This is the same one that you find in chocolate, coffee, tea, and many other stimulating products. You most likely already haven’t heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, and the reason is the very same active ingredient — theobromine.
This is poisonous to dogs even in small amounts, and poisoning can set in 2 hours after consumption (or earlier) and stay for 72 hours. Your dog will be living under the influence of a potent poison for that time. Even with medical treatment and intense medical care, survival from that poison isn’t always guaranteed.
You can’t separate theobromine from acai since it’s a literal compound, so there is no safe way to prevent potential poisoning of your dog. Pretty sobering thought, right?
How to feed acai to my dog?
Perhaps you’ve had someone tell you that acai is okay in small doses or in moderation. There is some research to support that, especially when it comes to looking at the potential health benefits of acai (more on that next).
If you’re interested in feeding acai to your dog for those specific health benefits, regardless of the risk, then get your vet’s professional guidance and input. They will do what they can to work with you to help maximize the health benefits and minimize the risk.
Health benefits of acai for dogs
The health benefits to dogs pretty much line up with those that humans would line up with. These include:
- Healthy fats
- Vitamin A
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Potential anti-cancer properties
- Improved brain health
These health benefits are great; there’s no question. A dog’s health is as easily managed as a human’s health that way. However, humans aren’t going to have an adverse reaction to theobromine, and dogs will.
Most vets and specialists will recommend supplementing a dog’s diet with other berries (more on that later) to give the same health benefits without the potential for a poisoning reaction.
Is acai poisonous to dogs?
Because of its theobromine compound, acai is considered poisonous to dogs of all kinds, sizes, and ages.
Can acai kill a dog?
Acai can kill a dog, especially if they eat a lot of it, and pet parents aren’t aware of their unauthorized snack or are unaware of the signs and symptoms of a problem to watch for. Even with medical attention after noticing that your dog is showing symptoms of theobromine poisoning, a vet can only do so much.
Depending on the severity of the poisoning, the damage that’s done to the body, and the longevity of that poisoning, your dog may not survive. Even with the best vet care, there’s no guarantee.
This is a risk that you will need to think about very carefully every time you consider sharing acai with your dog.
Are dogs allergic to acai?
As if theobromine poisoning wasn’t enough, dogs can absolutely be allergic to acai itself. This can add a potentially severe allergic reaction to the strong likelihood of poisoning, and both will exacerbate each other.
What to do if my dog ate acai?
If you’re here because your dog has eaten acai without your realizing it was dangerous (until now) or because they snuck into your cereal bowl while you weren’t looking, it’s okay — accidents happen. Acai is not an immediate death sentence, but you will need to take action.
- Take the acai away from your dog
- Call your vet and tell them what has happened
- Follow their instructions
- Watch for symptoms
When you call your vet to tell them what happened, be ready to answer questions about the amount of acai they ate and its form (frozen, fresh, or powdered). They will ask you how long ago they ate it and what kind of symptoms your dog is showing, if applicable.
Be ready to answer these as accurately as possible. These questions and answers are essential to help your vet assess whether your dog is dealing with poisoning or not.
Your vet will recommend bringing them to have them examined or, most likely, admitted. They may also recommend that you induce vomiting right at home. If you need it, they will walk you through how to do that. Most will encourage you to bring them in if you are uncomfortable with that.
Vet treatment often includes professionally inducing vomiting, feeding your dog activated charcoal (which will absorb the poison), and stabilizing your dog’s organs with supportive IV fluids.
No matter how you look at this, your dog will require a vet visit if they’re showing symptoms of theobromine poisoning. If you recognize those symptoms before you call your vet, tell them that on the phone and bring them in for emergency care.
How much acai can a dog eat?
There’s no safe amount of acai that your dog can eat, no matter their age, size, or breed. Vets may be able to offer more specialized and personalized information on this when looking at acai’s potential health benefits. Don’t ever try to guess, and give the amount yourself without a vet’s strict supervision!
Symptoms to look for if my dog ate acai
So, we’ve been talking about dangerous symptoms from your dog eating acai, but we haven’t talked about what those symptoms look like. The top ones to look for, in any severity, include:
- Vomiting (including vomiting blood)
- Excessive thirst
- Aggression or irritability
- Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
- Excessive panting
- Signs of distress/pain
In most cases, these poisoning signs show up somewhere between 2-and 24 hours after eating the theobromine. In most cases, a dog who is symptom-free past 24 hours after eating acai would be considered free of poisoning, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on them for 72 hours after eating acai, just in case.
Can dogs eat frozen acai?
No! Frozen acai is just as dangerous as fresh berries, mashed berries, powdered berries, or juiced berries.
What to feed your dog instead of acai?
If you want to help your dog enjoy those health benefits, there are plenty of options that you can safely share with your dog without worrying about theobromine poisonining! Some top options that are vet-approved include:
Don’t forget that you can also talk to your vet about specific dog food, treats, and supplements if you are interested in staying with non-human foods.
Acai is a Brazilian berry that contains theobromine. This compound is poisonous to dogs, meaning acai is, as a direct result, poisonous to dogs. You should never deliberately feed your dog acai berries in any form, and if you are interested in their health benefits for your dog, talk to your vet first.
Acai is never a good snack idea for our dog due to its potential to poison your dog! There are many dog-safe alternatives to consider that won’t potentially put your dog in a life or death situation.
Know someone tempted to share this superfood berry with their furry friend? Share this with them to let them know the risks!