Strawberries are popular summer fruits worldwide, and it's for good reasons too. They're often touted as a healthy, low-calorie food choice, not to mention their pleasant flavors. Strawberries are also found in all manner of baked goods. With strawberries being so common, it's not unlikely that your dog might try to sneak one and eat it. As pet parents, you may wonder, is it safe for dogs to eat strawberries? Can dogs eat strawberries safely?
Below, we'll talk about whether it's safe to let your dog eat strawberries and what types to avoid.
Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
Yes, dogs can eat strawberries safely, although there are a few considerations to keep in mind. While a dog's diet doesn't need strawberries to be complete and balanced (or any other fruit, vegetable, or typically human food, for that matter), it can be an occasional treat. Compared with many other dog treats, strawberries are a nutritious and healthy treat!
If you decide to give your dog strawberries as a treat, it's best to give organic strawberries when possible. Be sure to wash off any pesticides or herbicides to ensure the strawberry is safe for your dog to eat.
Health Benefits Of Eating Strawberries
Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, B1, B6, and K. These vitamins support the immune and nervous systems. They enable the body to break down carbohydrates and are essential to blood clotting, bone density, and glucose metabolism. Strawberries also contain folic acid (also known as vitamin B9), which is vital for cell development.
Strawberries contain potassium, magnesium, and iodine, and these minerals are necessary for a healthy nervous system and circulatory system. Your dog will also use these minerals to support healthy blood pressure, steady energy levels, and balanced hormone production.
Strawberries contain omega-3 fatty acids, which boost skin and coat health.
Like most fruits and vegetables, strawberries are a good source of nutritional fiber. Fiber helps regulate the digestive system.
Low In Calories And Sugar
Of all the human foods you could feed to your dog as treats, strawberries are among the lowest in both calories and sugar. Foods are typically low in one or the other, but strawberries (and most other berries) are low in both. While it's still best to feed strawberries to your pet in only moderate amounts, there isn't a significant concern about weight gain with strawberries.
High Water Content
Strawberries are in peak season during the warmest months - which is handy because they also have a high water content! To keep your pup hydrated during the summer, offer fresh strawberries.
The Downside Of Dogs Eating Strawberries
Of course, as with any food that is not typical of a dog's diet, there are some downsides to feeding a dog strawberries.
"Wait, didn't you just say that strawberries were low in sugar?" Yes, they are! But compare strawberries to the types of foods dogs are meant to be eating - namely, meat. Dogs are not obligate carnivores in the way cats are, but a natural, balanced diet for a dog will include mostly meat and other animal products. And these foods typically have no sugar at all! Compared with them, strawberries do, in fact, have a lot of sugar.
As long as you only feed strawberries to your dog in moderation, they should be fine. Avoid giving too many strawberries to your dog. If you have a diabetic pup, you might consider choosing a different healthy snack or check with your veterinarian first before giving strawberries to your dog.
Most fresh strawberries, if fully ripe, are soft and easily chewed. Most dogs won't have a problem eating them. However, some dogs - particularly puppies and other smaller dogs - might struggle to swallow strawberries safely, and they can choke on them.
It's easy to solve this problem, however. Cut the strawberries into small, bite-sized pieces! Not only will this help your pup swallow them, but it also prevents the likelihood of an intestinal blockage further down the pipe.
Strawberries are not a common allergen for dogs, but it does happen. When introducing any new foods to your dog, it's best only to offer one piece and then wait to see if there is any allergic reaction. Signs of a food allergy include:
- Upset stomach
- Excessive drooling
- Rash around the face
If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.
The Best Way To Feed Your Dog Strawberries
It doesn't get any easier than simply offering your pet a sliced strawberry! However, there are many strawberry dog-friendly recipes you can find online. Strawberry biscuits, for example, are a great treat to use strawberries to make homemade dog biscuits! Simply mix chopped strawberries (or strawberry puree), oats, peanut butter, and flour into a bowl. Mix it up, form it into the size of a dog biscuit that is adequate for your pet, then bake.
You can also make a nice smoothie by blending strawberries with other healthy fruits. There are many healthy strawberry dog treat recipes on the internet, but before sharing human foods, it's best to consult with your veterinarian first.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Canned Strawberries?
Dogs should not eat canned strawberries or any type of processed strawberries. This is because canned strawberries have an excessive amount of sugar added to them! Sugar is added and packed in juice or syrup before canning. Some brands of canned strawberries will advertise that they are canned using a naturally occurring sugar alcohol called xylitol. However, xylitol can cause severe stomach upset.
Can Dogs Eat Frozen Strawberries?
It's just fine for dog owners to feed their dogs' frozen strawberries, as long as they're cut into small pieces for a small dog! Frozen strawberries can be a delicious snack on a hot day. In fact, chewing on a frozen strawberry can actually help strengthen and clean a dog's teeth!
Can Dogs Eat Strawberry Desserts?
While the strawberries in strawberry pies and other baked goods are fine on their own, these desserts have too much sugar and fat content. You should not feed your dog bakery goods, with or without strawberries!
What Other Fruits Can I Feed My Dog?
Not all types of fresh fruit are good for dogs to eat. Along with strawberries, you can let your dogs eat blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries. Any berry with a pit or stone should be avoided. In fact, any type of fruit with a pit can be hazardous - such as a peach. Some fruits are even downright toxic to dogs, like grapes and cherries! Bananas, apples, and melons are safe for dogs as an occasional sweet treat.
How often can dogs eat strawberries?
Strawberries should only be served as an occasional treat if your dog eats strawberries. It's best only to give it every few days, and you should never give strawberries regularly or daily.
How Many Strawberries Can Dogs Eat?
Small dogs generally have one strawberry, medium-sized dogs have three to four, and large dogs can have up to five strawberries. But remember, dogs should only eat strawberries on occasion.