A summertime favorite fruit that’s adored by children, adults, and dogs alike, you may be wondering: can dogs eat strawberries? While the quick and easy answer is yes, dogs can eat strawberries, there’s more that you may want to know about these delicious fruits before adding them to your dog’s diet.
Relatively low in calories yet still delightfully sweet, strawberries can make an excellent occasional treat or reward for good behavior for your dog.
We’ll do our best to give you everything you need to know about your dog and strawberries, but it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before adding anything to your dog’s diet. Keep reading to learn more about what makes strawberries a great healthy treat option, as well as the best ways to feed them to your dogs and how much is safe to give as a snack.
Strawberry Nutrition and Fun Facts
Cultivated worldwide in an astonishing variety of hybrids, strawberries are appreciated across many cultures for their signature aroma, succulent sweetness, and bright red color. They’re tremendously popular in desserts and are a widely used flavoring for candies and pastries.
Proportionally, strawberries consist mainly of water (91%) and carbohydrates (7.7%). As a sweet and delicious treat, they’re remarkably low in sugar – making them a better dog treat choice than many sweeter fruits or processed foods.
Health Benefits of Strawberries for Dogs
Strawberries are exceptionally high in vitamin C and antioxidants, making them a valuable supplement to skin health and the immune system. Additionally, their high content of folate, potassium, and manganese round out their benefits by contributing to heart health and blood sugar control.
Available at their ripest during the heat of summer, strawberries can be a great way to encourage your dog to stay hydrated thanks to their high water content. They’re also relatively high in fiber for a fruit, which will likely aid your dog’s digestion.
Can Strawberries Be Bad for Dogs?
While fresh strawberries can be a wonderful addition to your dog’s diet when given as an occasional treat, canned or processed strawberries are never a good substitute. They often contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or chemical preservatives, all of which are bad for your dog’s health.
Though lower in sugar than many other fruits, strawberries are still sweet enough that large portions of them can easily upset your dog’s stomach. As with any food that you’re adding to your dog’s diet, moderation is key.
In rare instances, humans and dogs can experience allergic reactions to strawberries. These can range from mild symptoms such as an itchy tongue and trouble digesting the fruit through to full anaphylaxis – a serious condition that can possibly become fatal if it proceeds to full arrest of the breathing process. If your dog shows any signs of an allergic reaction, get them to the vet as soon as possible.
How to Feed Strawberries to Your Dogs
Depending on the size of your dog, whole strawberries can easily pose a choking hazard. We recommend cutting fresh strawberries into small pieces before using them as treats and watching to make sure that your dog can thoroughly chew their foods.
Especially during the hot summer months, freezing and pureeing strawberries can be an excellent way to help your dog cool down. It also works as a perfect ice cream substitute, so you can share the joy of cool and creamy summertime treats with your dog without risking a stomachache from eating dairy products.
Always choose organic strawberries for your dog to ensure that they’ll be free of harmful pesticides, waxes, and chemicals.
How Much Strawberry Can I Feed My Dog?
Portion sizes for individual dogs will vary based on their size, with the smallest of dog breeds needing not much more than a single strawberry cut into bite-sized pieces. Large dogs may get away with larger portions but should still have their foods cut up to prevent any choking hazards.
The American Kennel Club recommends that fruit make up no more than 10% of your dog’s regular diet, or the equivalent of about one meal’s worth of fruit every week.
Final Thoughts on Feeding Strawberries to Your Dog
Strawberries are one of the most guilt-free sweet treats that you can feed to your dog, thanks to their relatively low sugar content and large dose of vitamins, fiber, and water. If you’re looking for a great summertime reward for your dog’s good behavior, this succulent fruit should become a regular item on your grocery list. But don’t forget, moderation is key.
Featured Image Credit: Engin Akyurt, Pixabay