Succulent, juicy, red and sweet, strawberries are the definitive summer treat.
Of course, plenty of people enjoy them all year round – and if they see their masters enjoying something to eat, dogs are always interested!
So, can dogs eat strawberries? Find out the dos and don’ts of dog dining for this fruit right here.
Are strawberries good for dogs?
Many of the advantages that we as humans enjoy in our five recommended portions of fruit and vegetables a day are just as beneficial to our trusty canine companions.
While dogs’ diets and their bodily requirements are quite different from our own, our pets can get plenty of perks from tucking into some fruit and vegetables.
Some fruits especially come recommended less than other for dogs, though. However, if you’re wondering if your dog can eat a strawberry, the answer is yes – and better still, it’ll be good for your pet too.
As a conscientious owner, it’s good that you’re considering that your nutritional needs and those of your dog do indeed differ.
But the good news is, if you’re enjoying strawberries as a summertime snack – or sneaking your pet one from the top of a defrosted cheesecake – you’re doing him or her no harm at all.
As well as the high water content of strawberries, which helps give them their distinctive and hugely juicy texture, these rosy red little fruits are packed with vitamins.
More than this though, strawberries are naturally rich in fibre, especially around their outer skin – that is nature’s way of packing in those all-important feel-good chemicals.
But if you find your dog begins to get an even more cheeky grin than usual after the odd strawberry or two enters their diet, you may well have those very fruits to thank.
Many experts have identified that there is a teeth whitening enzyme in strawberries that gives dogs’ teeth an extra radiance.
There are also plenty of antioxidants in strawberries that are good for dogs, as much as they are human beings.
This can help their long term health, and is another reason why feeding your dog strawberries can be a good idea.
However, remember that while humans are recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, it’s a very different story for dogs.
Overindulgence can be a concern, because dogs need a lot fewer strawberries to get by than us.
Worse, going too far can mean that the sugar in strawberries causes risks to your dog’s health long term, so keeping all things in moderation is key.
Dangers of strawberries for dogs
While there is nothing altogether dangerous or deadly to be found in offering strawberries to your dog, you should certainly keep a few things in mind when it comes to making sure your pet enjoys these juicy fruits safely.
As we have already touched on, the sugar content in strawberries is quite high among other kinds of fruit – and certainly high in terms of what the recommended sugar intake for dogs is.
As such, if your dog eats too many strawberries, the high sugar could cause risks of obesity or diabetes.
You should also keep in mind how the strawberries you buy are prepared, for similar reasons.
For example, if you are craving some strawberries but they happen to be out of season, you might think that you can share some of the canned strawberries you’ve bought instead with your dog.
However, that’s a bad idea. Fruit that has been sugared or put into syrup into a tin actually poses more health detriments to your dog than any of the original benefits of the strawberry could make up for in your dog’s digestive system.
Worse still, there are certain chemicals like artificial sweeteners in canned fruit, as well as canned strawberries, that can prove very upsetting to your dog – even dangerous to their health.
Luckily, fresh strawberries have no such concerns to trouble you with.
Nonetheless, there can be a choking hazard present in strawberries – especially if your dog is one of those keen eaters who likes to gulp down his or her food without slowing down.
Puppies can also find a whole strawberry quite the thing to contend with, as can smaller breeds of dog.
It’s good practice to observe your dog whenever they’re enjoying anything new in their diet, to see if they react well to it.
After all, despite your best intentions, your dog might not even like strawberries, or be anywhere near as keen on them as you might be.
Nevertheless, a good approach is to wash the strawberries you plan to give your dog.
Better yet, remove the stalk and any leafy greenery around the top of the fruit – these are the kinds of things your pooch might indeed struggle with, especially if you’ve not fed them much fruit before.
It’s a good plan to cut up your strawberries into slices or chunks when you feed them to your dog, especially if he or she is young or at the puppy stage.
If you’re especially concerned, or introducing strawberries to a dog you know doesn’t like fruit textures, you can mash it into a paste or puree and serve it that way too.
How many strawberries can a dog eat daily?
It’s tempting to spoil our pets, and that’s especially the case when our dogs get a taste for healthy fruit and vegetables that we ourselves are trying to get ever more into our diets.
And of course, when it’s strawberry season, we might just get a little more tempted than ever to treat our adorable little friends.
Nonetheless, for the high sugar content and other factors already discussed, it’s best to consider no higher than three strawberries a day for your dog – less so for your pet if he or she is a smaller breed, or a younger dog.
Remember, it’s not just the sugar content that can affect your dog, but the fibre content of strawberries.
Also, there can be the choking hazard to consider too. All this combines to mean that the recommended five a day for human beings is far less palatable an option for your dog.
Of course, it’s as much a question of discipline for the owner as for the pet. Dogs are skilled at giving us the big eyes, after all – particularly when we’ve got something they fancy!
However, strawberries are to be considered a snack or a treat for your dog, rather than a staple part of his or her diet.
For many of the reasons we’ve listed here, including the sugar and the texture, strawberries for dogs are best approached as something for them to enjoy every so often, rather than all the time.
What to do if your dog eats a strawberry
Maybe you’re out for a walk and your dog’s found something tasty and hidden, or maybe you’ve walked in and found him or her in the grocery bags, tucking in to things they shouldn’t.
Either way, you might get a shudder of panic if your dog eats a strawberry without your offering it first.
However, there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, if it’s a one-off, there’s no reason to panic if your dog has eaten far more strawberries than the daily recommendation.
Of course, it’s worth training your dog accordingly to make sure they don’t repeat that mistake!
But if your dog has eaten a strawberry and you weren’t expecting it, he or she shouldn’t be any worse for wear.
It’s only worth keeping an eye on them for any signs of discomfort, in case your dog ate a whole strawberry too fast or without chewing.
Swallowing the stalk or the like shouldn’t be too troubling though – again, as long as it’s an accident or a one-off situation.
If it’s a fair few strawberries though, keep an eye on your dog, in case of any signs of an upset tummy or other unusual behaviour.
The sugar might send your pet a little hyper for a time, for instance, or they might stand around smacking their juicy chops after their strawberry morsels, not being used to the texture.
These can be comical reactions, but don’t ignore the underlying responses they represent – and gauge if feeding strawberries to your dog is right for you and them.
As an occasional treat for your dog, and as a way to add a little extra in the way of vitamins and fibre to their diet, strawberries make an excellent snack.
It’s important to ensure they’re prepared right though, particularly for puppies or young dogs who’ve never tried fruit before.
That means washing them, removing the stems and preferably cutting or mashing strawberries before serving them up.
As with any new addition to your dog’s diet, supervision and kindness, with lots of encouragement, will help your pet acclimatise to a fresh new treat that has plenty to offer their health and happiness.