Tasty, nutritious, and a beloved summer snack, strawberries are one of the most cherished fruits for us humans. If you love them as much as we do – and have a furry friend who you suspect might like them too – you may be wondering, “Can dogs eat strawberries?”
It turns out that dogs can eat strawberries! Like many other fruits and vegetables for dogs, strawberries are packed with vitamins and nutrients. This makes them a healthy dog treat if you’re in the mood to offer something sweet to your pupper.
But, like anything you feed your dog, there are a few important things to know before giving them strawberries. Here’s the 411 on dogs and strawberries.
Can dogs eat strawberries?
Yep! Strawberries are perfectly safe for dogs. Unlike onions and garlic, they don’t contain any toxins that pose a risk to your doggo’s health.
However, just because your dog can eat strawberries, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should eat lots of them. Instead, approach strawberries as an occasional treat.
Are strawberries good for dogs?
All types of berries are nutritional powerhouses. Strawberries in particular contain lots of vitamins and minerals that are good for dogs. These include vitamin C, manganese, folate (vitamin B9), and potassium.
Strawberries also contain antioxidants, fibre and an enzyme called malic acid, which has been found to help whiten teeth. This could indeed be a useful way to help keep your doggo’s chompers in tip-top shape.
What’s more, strawberries are low in kilojoules, sodium, and fat, and are cholesterol free. However, they do contain sugar. The odd strawberry here and there won’t be an issue for your dog, but feeding them in excess isn’t advised.
Ideally, your pupper should enjoy a low-sugar diet filled with nutritionally balanced dog meals. This is particularly crucial if they’ve got health issues that require them to follow a strict eating regimen.
What you need to know about feeding strawberries to your dog
Planning to feed your dog strawberries? Keep these tips up your sleeve to ensure they remain a safe and healthy treat. And, if your trusted Pet Sitter is hoping to jump on the strawberry bandwagon too, make sure to pass along these helpful hints.
Slice, dice, or mash
Your doggo may be big enough to handle a whole strawberry. However, it’s usually much easier for them to eat strawberries if you’ve cut them up beforehand. This is especially true for small dogs or puppies, who may not be able to wrap their mouth around a big, juicy strawberry.
You could chop the strawberries into thin slices, dice them into chunks, or even mash them to a pulp. You can also freeze strawberry pieces to create a delicious summer dog treat. Alternatively, you can blend them with other dog-friendly fruits (banana, mango, watermelon) to make a smoothie.
Also, make sure you remove the leaves before feeding your dog strawberries. While the leaves aren’t toxic, they do taste quite bitter and can be tricky for your doggo to digest. This might lead to a tummy ache or other digestive issues – none of which are very pretty.
Fresh is best
We know now that puppers can safely chow down on strawberries. But, can dogs eat strawberries if they’re in syrup, or some other kind of strawberry product?
Nope! Dogs should only have fresh strawberries. When kept in syrup, strawberries develop an even higher sugar content, which is a big no-no for your pupper. Sweetened strawberries may also contain other ingredients, including artificial sweeteners like xylitol, that could be toxic to your dog.
Other strawberry products – strawberry pie, strawberry lollies, or strawberry jam – should be avoided for the same reasons. Too much sugar, too great a risk of feeding your doggo something toxic.
Hold the sugar
Because strawberries are pretty high in sugar, they should be a treat rather than a regular snack. Overdoing the sugar – even if it’s in fruit – can cause tummy troubles like vomiting and diarrhea. Excess sugar may even lead to long-term health complications, like obesity, dental disease, or diabetes.
Giving your dog a few strawberries every now and again is unlikely to cause these problems. But avoid feeding too many strawberries at once, or serving them up too often. For a small dog or puppy, one strawberry is an ideal serving size. Larger dogs can handle around four to five strawberries in a single sitting.
Watch and react
Strawberry allergy in dogs is pretty rare, but there’s always a chance your pupper could have a reaction. If you feed them a strawberry and notice your dog sneezing, coughing, having breathing difficulties, breaking out into hives, or swelling on any part of their body, take them straight to the vet.
Now that we’ve answered “Can dogs eat strawberries?”, what about other berries?
If you’re keen to vary your dog’s treats or make them a mixed berry smoothie, you’re probably curious about other berries. The good news is that blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries are perfectly safe.
However, steer clear of cherries. Firstly, they contain pips, which your doggo can choke on. As well, the pips, leaves and stems carry cyanide, which is incredibly toxic to dogs. Other less common berries – like juniper berries, baneberries, and holly berries – are also off limits to your pupper. While they may not be lying around your kitchen, you might very well come across them on a walk!