Berries are becoming increasingly recognized as a snack with health-bearing properties. They are often referred to as “superfoods” because of their rich nutrient content in a bite-sized package.
Whether eaten on their own or used as a topping, berries can add a mix of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to our diets. There is one berry, the aҫai, which is particularly popular. It is found in various products, including juices, smoothies, granola, and cosmetic products.
So, can dogs eat açai? Let’s find out in this article!
What is acai?
The aҫai (pronounced “ah-sah-ee”) is a berry found in the rainforests of South America.
It is deep purple in color and is described as having a tangy-earthy taste. You will not likely find fresh aҫai in the grocery store because the berries are difficult to transport.
Instead, you can find it in the form of dried fruit and powdered fruit, which can be added to meals as flavoring or garnish.
Many studies have investigated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the aҫai fruit. Some of the research suggests that it may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Unfortunately, aҫai is not safe to give to dogs.
These berries are reported to contain theobromine, which is the same compound that makes chocolate toxic to our canine companions.
The dog’s metabolism is different from ours, which makes theobromine linger in the body long enough to exert damaging effects.
Symptoms of toxicity include hyperexcitability, muscle twitches, and seizures. This can progress quickly to cardiac dysfunction and death at a high enough dose.
Even though theobromine isn’t toxic in minuscule amounts, sharing any amount of aҫai product is not advised. It is best not to give any products containing acai to your dog, including juice, smoothies, and smoothie bowls.
What should I do if my dog accidentally eats acai?
It would likely take quite a bit of a concentrated source of acai to cause toxicity in dogs.
Assuming that acai has a similar theobromine concentration to chocolate, there would be a toxic risk to small dogs after consuming roughly 20g of a concentrated acai powder.
If your dog ingests an acai product, call your local pet poisoning helpline for advice on what to do in your unique situation.
Make sure you have the acai product package information on hand, as well as your dog’s body weight. You may be advised to bring your dog to an emergency hospital for treatment or monitor your dog closely for any symptoms of toxicity.
Alternatives to feeding acai berries
As much as you may want to share the unique taste and health benefits of acai with your pooch, many other fruits have similar properties and can be safely shared.
If you choose fruit as a treat for your dog, don’t forget that treats should make up only 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Fruit tends to be high in calories, so make sure you aren’t over-treating, or your dog could end up being overweight!
Despite acai’s many potential health benefits, it is risky to include it in your dog’s diet because of its theobromine content.
There are plenty of alternative options that your dog can safely enjoy while still getting a boost of antioxidants and vitamins.
Dr Marie is a vet whose secret passion is nutrition. She loves to use her veterinary knowledge to help pet owners make the right decisions for their pets. Marie lives in Scotland, enjoys travelling, and has a rescue Bengal cat called Meeyu. She has a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and an MSc in Nutrition. She is also and Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, because she’s passionate about teaching and has been involved at teaching at vet school.