We all love to share the occasional morsel with our dogs, those pleading eyes can be hard to resist! If you love to eat strawberries, then you might be tempted to share them with your canine companion to see if he loves them too. After all, we know most dogs can eat peaches, bananas, and other fruit safely, so why not strawberries?
Dogs and humans have different nutritional needs, so not all of the foods we eat are safe for dogs. In fact, some can even be deadly. It is always sensible to research any new food and check with your veterinarian before feeding it to your pup.
Luckily, strawberries are generally safe for dogs to eat. But before feeding them to your pet, there are a few things to be aware of. Let’s take a look at when strawberries are ok, and when it may be time to be concerned.
Are Strawberries Safe for Dogs?
Strawberries are non-toxic to dogs, and most dogs will probably enjoy the occasional strawberry as a tasty treat. Not only are strawberries safe for most canines, but they may even have several health benefits. Strawberries are full of nutrients, such as vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to protect cells throughout the body and is vital for bone health. These nutrients are also a source of potassium which is essential for many bodily processes including muscle contraction and heart and kidney function.
Strawberries are high in fiber which plays an important role in healthy digestion and helps to regulate blood sugar levels. The omega-3 found in strawberries is also good for your pet’s skin and coat health. Strawberries also contain an enzyme that could help to whiten your dog’s teeth as he eats them.
Strawberries have high water content. They can provide a hydrating snack, especially in hot summer weather when they are at their peak. They are high in sugar which can make them particularly appealing to most canines. But, be sure not to feed your pup too many!
Thoroughly wash strawberries before feeding them to your canine companion. It’s best to make sure they are free from potentially harmful pesticides or herbicides. It is also best to cut them up or mash them so they do not pose a choking hazard, particularly if you own a small dog. You could also puree them or even freeze them for a refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day!
What About Strawberry Plants and Tops?
Strawberry plants, including the leaves, are not toxic to dogs. There’s no need to worry much if Fido decides to munch on a strawberry plant. This also means that you can safely feed your pup the occasional strawberry top as a treat.
Most of us will discard strawberry tops when preparing strawberries. These might be tempting to feed to your dog, just don’t feed him too many! It is important to also bear in mind that a dog’s digestive system is not designed for eating lots of plant material. Your pup may end up with a tummy upset or have difficulty passing feces after eating a lot of strawberry plants or leaves.
Can Strawberries Be Bad for Dogs?
Strawberries themselves are safe for dogs to eat. But, there are some things you should know before feeding them to your pooch. Strawberries contain a lot of fiber, which is essential to their nutritional requirements. Too much, however, can cause a nasty tummy upset which often results in diarrhea. If you know your dog has a sensitive stomach and is prone to upsets, then it might be wise to avoid feeding him strawberries altogether.
Strawberries also have high sugar content. Too much sugar is bad for canines in the same way that it is for you! Too much sugar in can cause weight gain. It can also lead to diabetes. Never feed too many strawberries at once, and do not feed them regularly.
Moderation is key, and you should only ever give your dog one or two strawberries occasionally as a special treat. If your pup is already overweight or has diabetes, then you should avoid giving him strawberries at all. Talk to your veterinarian about other treats that are lower in sugar.
Canned Strawberries & Strawberry Candy
Never feed your dog chocolate-covered strawberries, as chocolate can be very toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is, and even a small amount of dark chocolate could have harmful effects.
Don’t be tempted to feed your pup canned or processed strawberries as these can contain harmful additives or excess sugar in the form of syrups. This also applies to strawberry jam, strawberry yogurt, and strawberry ice cream.
Some of these products may contain a sweetener called xylitol which is very toxic to dogs. If eaten, xylitol can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) and damage to your dog’s liver. While you may not always see xylitol on the label, it’s important to be aware that it may be listed in the ingredients as its food additive code – E967. It’s best to steer clear of feeding Fido any of these products to be completely safe, especially as they have no nutritional value for dogs.
Dairy-based products such as strawberry yogurt or strawberry ice cream will also usually contain lactose, which many dogs are intolerant to. In dogs, lactose can cause bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, another good reason to avoid feeding your dog strawberry-flavored foods!
As with any new food, there is always the small risk he might be allergic to strawberries. Start by feeding a very tiny amount of strawberries and monitor your pup closely for any adverse reactions.
Allergies can result in a wide range of signs, so watch out for skin hives, drooling, coughing, swelling of the lips or mouth, or breathing difficulties. An allergic reaction can be life-threatening so contact your veterinarian straight away if you notice any of these signs.
Also bear in mind that any strawberries you haven’t grown yourself may have been treated with potentially harmful chemicals such as herbicides or pesticides. When used correctly and in the right concentrations, these shouldn’t be toxic to your pet, but it is still sensible to wash any fruit before feeding, just in case.
Never feed your dog rotting fruit because food mold contains mycotoxins which can make them very sick. Signs of mycotoxin toxicity include vomiting, un-coordination, muscle or full-body tremors, and seizures. If you suspect your dog has eaten mold or is showing any of these symptoms, then contact your veterinarian immediately as mycotoxin poisoning can be fatal if left untreated.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answer is yes, you can. Strawberries are non-toxic to dogs, but you shouldn’t feed your dog too many strawberries. Strawberries are high in sugar and fiber, and too many strawberries can cause a tummy upset. Be sure never to feed your pup any products that contain artificial strawberry flavors or processed strawberries as these could contain toxic ingredients and some will have very high sugar content.
Wash any fruit thoroughly before serving it to your dog and cut the strawberry into chunks if you have a small dog to prevent him from choking. If your canine companion has never eaten strawberries before, then as with any new food, start by feeding him a very tiny amount to see how he reacts. If he likes it – and there are no adverse reactions – then feel free to offer the occasional piece of strawberry as a delicious, sweet treat!