- Strawberries offer multiple health benefits — Eating strawberries may help your dog’s overall health and even whiten their smile.
- Moderation is key — While there are nutritional benefits to strawberries, you don’t want to go overboard on feeding them to your dog.
- Prep correctly — The way you feed your dog strawberries will vary depending on the size and breed of your pup.
Who doesn’t love dark red, juicy, fresh strawberries on a warm weather day? Strawberries are a delicious, low-calorie treat packed with antioxidants and vitamins. They’re high in water content and, contrary to popular belief, they don’t actually have a very high sugar content, making them a great snack.
More good news: there’s no reason you can’t share a few with your dog from time to time. In fact, offering your dog a taste of these sweet berries can actually improve their health.
Are strawberries good for dogs?
Strawberries can be good for dogs in moderation. As with any food, there are always considerations of individual needs or limitations. Generally speaking, strawberries are a healthy treat that can provide a wealth of health and even cosmetic benefits by whitening your dog’s teeth!
- Immune boosting. Strawberries are loaded with micronutrients, which act as antioxidants in the system to fight free radicals. Because your pup’s immune system relies on antioxidants, strawberries can be helpful in keeping your dog healthy. In particular, they’re a great source of Vitamin C, which is known to boost immunity .
- Anti-aging. Three recent studies showed eating strawberries can slow cognitive and cardiovascular aging as well as the gut microbiome in humans. It’s believed they can have the same effect on the aging process in dogs .
- Improved heart health. The antioxidants in strawberries are a key component of heart health. Strawberries can also help lower cholesterol and triglycerides over time, both of which are contributing factors to heart disease when out of balance.
Potential risks of feeding dogs strawberries
Despite strawberries being packed with health benefits, too much of a good thing can yield a negative result (as is the case with anything). Before you make strawberries a regular on the treat rotation, consider if the risks potentially outweigh the benefits for your dog.
- Allergic reaction. If your dog has never had a strawberry before, start with small quantities to see how they react. A life-threatening strawberry allergy is possible, though extremely rare. Strawberries are also a histamine liberator, meaning they add an additional histamine burden to the system. If your dog has seasonal allergies that may be aggravated by high-histamine foods, avoid strawberries.
- Choking hazard. Depending on the size of your dog’s mouth and the size of the berry, strawberries can present a choking hazard. Even if you have a giant breed, it’s typically safer to avoid giving a whole berry to your pup out of an abundance of caution, instead opting for a small cut. If your pup attempts to swallow a strawberry whole, you could have a choking risk on your hands.
- Upset tummy. Introducing any new food to your pup’s diet can cause tummy troubles for your dog. While a bite or two of strawberry is unlikely to create a problem, too much of a good thing can end badly for a dog’s digestive system. Strawberries contain sugar and fiber that, when eaten in large quantities, can easily create gastrointestinal issues.
- Sugar overload. If pups are given fruit too often, too much sugar content can be problematic for their bodies and their teeth. Dog owners who have a pup with diabetes should avoid giving strawberries (or any other sweet fruits with a lot of sugar) with any regularity.
How to safely feed dogs strawberries
If you do decide to share some strawberries with your dog, make sure you do it safely to minimize any adverse reaction or choking.
Test first – Is this the first time your dog has ever tried a strawberry? Whenever pet parents introduce a new food, it’s a good idea to test your dog’s reaction before giving them a full serving. Start with a small piece of strawberry and monitor your dog. If there is no reaction after an hour, you may consider giving your dog a true portion next time (about three berries total for an average-sized dog).
Cut them into bite-size pieces — To avoid any choking hazards, wash and cut your strawberries into bite-sized pieces. Dogs can eat strawberry tops, and the leaves actually contain nutrients. Cut the tops off and offer one to your pup to see if they’re interested in it. Dice the rest of the berry and feed up three cut berries for a healthy and safe treat.
Avoid overfeeding them — Be careful not to overdo it with strawberries. For small dogs or dogs with any underlying health issues, cut down on the serving size and frequency of strawberry treats. Even healthy dogs shouldn’t eat large amounts of strawberries in one sitting or eat them multiple times a day.
Consider mashing — Pup parents who want to give strawberries to young or older pups may consider mashing. Small breeds with little mouths may also benefit from mashed berries. You can try putting mashed strawberries on top of your dog’s food, or freezing bite-sized mashed pieces for a refreshing and tasty treat.
Other fruits that are safe for dogs
Fresh, nutritious fruits contain many vitamins and minerals that can positively impact your pet’s health. Even though dogs should get the lion’s share of their calories and nutrients from quality pet food, certain fruits can be a nice immune-boosting treat .
Blueberries, apples, bananas, cranberries, and watermelon are the safest fruits for pups, among others. Still, make sure you’ve done your research before offering your pet any human food. There are fruits that are not safe for dogs, such as grapes, cherries, and avocados.
Refer to your veterinarian if you’re ever unsure about a particular food for your furry friend in any amount. Strawberries are non-toxic and can even be beneficial for pups, but your individual pet’s needs are always a top priority.
Frequently asked questions
What fruits can dogs not eat?
Dogs should avoid grapes, tomatoes, avocados, and cherries. Most other fruits are generally safe for healthy dogs, when given in moderation (except for peaches; no pits). Refer to your vet for a full list of fruits and vegetables dogs can eat.
How many strawberries can I give my dog?
Dog treats (even natural ones) should only make up about 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. For an average-sized dog (about 75 pounds), three strawberries are a reasonable serving size. Smaller dogs should have less.
Are there any risks or side effects associated with dogs eating strawberries?
Strawberries are non-toxic to dogs. However potential risks include an allergic reaction, upset tummy, and the possibility of a choking hazard.
Can dogs eat strawberry tops?
The green leaves on strawberry tops are safe and nutritious, but they won’t sit well with all dogs. Though they’re non-toxic, strawberry leaves may upset some dog’s stomachs.
Can dogs have strawberries every day?
All treats are best in moderation. A daily strawberry or two will not harm your pup’s health; however, monitor your pet for signs of upset stomach or weight gain.