Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
There’s nothing like strawberry season. The fresh, juicy berries make a healthy snack for you, but can your dog have strawberries, too? It’s a good question to ask, since you and your dog have different systems and nutritional needs. Read on to learn if strawberries are a safe treat for your dog.
Are strawberries good for dogs to eat?
Strawberries are good for dogs. But feed strawberries to your dog like you would any other snack. Keep the portion size small. “Treats you feed your dog should make up no more than 10% of his total calories for the day,” Purina Senior Nutritionist, Jan Dempsey says. Use this as a guide so the strawberries you feed your dog won’t cause him to gain extra pounds.
We love to eat strawberries because they are sweet. But sweet means sugar. And a lot of sugar, even in fruit, isn’t beneficial to dogs. That’s another reason to feed strawberries in moderation.
Are strawberries good for dogs?
Strawberries have some characteristics and nutrients that may be good for your dog. Strawberries have:
- High water content
- Vitamin C
- A teeth-whitening enzyme
“Strawberries (and some other berries) are known to contain natural compounds that act as antioxidants in the body. Research shows they are good for humans and some other animals, but whether or not there are benefits for your dog hasn’t been tested yet,” explains Dempsey.
What is the best way to prepare strawberries for dogs?
“Wash and clean strawberries for your dog just like you would for your family,” Dempsey says. Washing helps rinse away dirt and residual chemicals.
Keep in mind that any food can be a choking hazard, even strawberries. So, after washing, trim off the stem. Is your dog a small breed dog or a puppy? Make strawberries even easier to eat. Cut them into small bits or puree them–mashing works well, too. For larger dogs, cut them in half or serve the berry whole.
How should I introduce my dog to strawberries?
“Some dogs might not know what to do with the new texture of strawberries. So you can try feeding them as frozen treats,” says Dempsey. Whatever way you serve them, start out slowly. Dempsey recommends, “Try feeding a single berry to see his reaction. If he likes them, you can try putting them on his food, but make sure he likes them first.”
Feeding the berries slowly means you’ll notice right away if they are causing a problem. Call your veterinarian if you notice stomach upset, digestive issues, intense scratching or an increase in thirst. Any of these can indicate strawberries aren’t right for your dog.
When strawberries are out of season, can I feed canned strawberries?
Absolutely not. “Don’t feed fruit that has been sugared or packed in syrup. This adds excess sugars and calories to fruit and defeats the purpose of feeding a ‘healthy’ treat,” Dempsey explains. Also, the canned and syrup strawberries may have additives in them—like the artificial sweetener xylitol–that can be dangerous, even deadly to your dog.
Since strawberries are safe for dogs, are other berries safe, too?
“Yes! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries are safe options for dogs, too. Although cranberries can be bitter and in general dogs do not like bitter taste,” Dempsey says. Not all berries are safe for your dog. Some—juniper berries or berries with pits–can be dangerous for them to eat. Always be careful and research any new food before feeding it to him.