Dogs love eating berries, and most people feed them as treats from time to time. We use berries in many of our diets, and always with purpose rather than as a generic 'super food' (are we tired of that term yet?) So, blueberries, or raspberries – which would you choose to feed? Would it depend on your dog's age? Breed? Activity level? Genetic disposition to certain health concerns? To get the best nutrition for a specific dog the entire diet should be addressing all these things and adding berries can be part of that.
Both blueberries and raspberries are good sources of pectin, which is a fermentable fiber that provides fuel for the gut microbiome and produces short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids play a role in regulating the immune system and preventing it from reacting against its own healthy cells and tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is an example of the immune system gone astray.
Both blueberries and raspberries are rich in anthocyanins which lower inflammation and oxidative stress. Raspberries have higher amounts of antioxidant vitamins. Both are rich in flavonoids, but blueberries contain significantly more. Although we don't look to berries as a viable source of minerals for dogs, it's interesting to note that of the two types, raspberries have more calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc.
When foods jump to 'superfood' status, you can bet that science is inching toward turning the components deemed most important into supplements, or at the very least – fractioning. Here's one example.
University of Exeter
Summary: "Drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people, according to new research."
This may sound like a stretch for dogs, but it wouldn't be the first time that people begin to act on findings that may apply to people. The problem in this instance is the glycemic index of juice vs. whole foods, calories, and the obvious urinary issues that can crop up when we feed too much liquid to dogs. None of this is necessarily as concerning as the fact that so often, the next leap a food component makes is to become a Nutraceutical. Remember when beta carotene made the leap? It took a while to discover that while it was a very healthy component of many fresh foods, it caused cancer in smokers taking it as a supplement.
The bottom line is that while we do look to science for guidance in certain areas, we encourage feeding berries, with specific purpose, recognizing that the benefits often come from the synergy of all the nutrients in the whole berry.
Monica & Jody
"When an 85-pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it's hard to feel sad.”~Kristan Higgins