It’s a nice spring afternoon and you’re chopping strawberries when boom! One of them falls on the floor.
Your furry friend, like the faithful food recycling machine he is, gobbles it up.
You tried to move quickly but to no avail, your dog was much faster. You may be wondering:
Are strawberries safe for dogs?
Should you call the vet? So many different foods can make puppies sick, from chocolate to the deadly xylitol.
So can dogs eat strawberries? Or are they better kept far away from them for human consumption only? Keep reading to find out below the full scoop on strawberry safety as well as other awesome food facts to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Are Strawberries Safe For Dogs??
Can dogs eat strawberries? You bet! Breathe a sigh of relief and relax, there are no expensive vet bills on your horizon at the moment. While excess in anything is bad, a few strawberries here and there as a snack certainly won’t hurt your puppy.
Walk inside a boutique puppy supply shop and you may be surprised at what contains strawberries. Many organic puppy treat makers formulate delicious treats with some form of strawberry in them. Strawberries may also be in puppy’s vitamin or mineral supplements. Holistic dog food brands may also have small amounts of strawberry or other berries in them.
Strawberries are packed with antioxidants which protect the heart. These same antioxidants may also help to protect against cancer, as well as the polyphenols that give the berry that lovely red color! Studies also show that these same antioxidants help protect dogs’ brains.
How Should I Prepare Strawberries For My Dog?
Humans love to pile strawberries high with sweetened whipped cream, tuck them into a butter-rich cobbler, or turn them into sugary jams. You can even buy strawberry juice, often unhealthily sweetened with corn syrup or excessive amounts of grape juice.
Your dog’s waistline, pancreas, and heart definitely don’t need those decadent human treats, even if his huge brown eyes try to convince your heart otherwise. So avoid the jams, jellies, preserves, and any sugary strawberry treats.
A quick word of warning: Remember to always check with your vet prior to feeding your dog even new safe foods like strawberries, especially if it is going to be a regular thing. While they will probably be fine, it is always good to be safe rather than sorry.
Now, on to the preparation part. Strawberries are really best given as is with no sugar added. You can buy fresh ones if they are in season or use frozen ones for a cold summer treat. You could also try dried or freeze-dried strawberries, but proceed with extreme caution. While they still have the health benefits, dried or freeze-dried strawberries might pose a choking hazard to small pups. They may also become stuck on the teeth and irritate the gums, so use caution.
There is an alternative if you have dried strawberries but are worried about the choking. Soak them in hot water and then make a little puree out of them. Give it to your furry friend alone or mixed into his kibble. Make sure your dried strawberries are free of sugar prior to feeding them to your dog.
There are so many other delicious and healthy ways to incorporate strawberries into your puppy’s diet. Mash them and mix them into dog biscuits before baking. Dice them up into pieces for small dogs and mix them with their regular food for a sweet and crunchy treat.
Other Safety Precautions for Strawberry Feeding
Always wash the strawberries before giving them to your dog. Conventionally grown strawberries are high in pesticide residue, so choose organic if you can. If you do go organic, it is very important to wash those very well. They still have soil adhered to them which may harbor harmful bacteria for your puppy (or you).
Keep even the healthy treats to a minimum. In fact, the American Kennel club advises that treats make up no less than 10% of your puppy’s daily diet.
How do you know if you’re feeding your dog too many strawberries? The main warning sign to watch out for is any sort of digestive disturbance. Excessive gas, loose stools, and diarrhea are all signs that it’s time to back off the fiber-rich treats. However, if your puppy is suffering from constipation, a few strawberries might be all that’s needed to help things move along.
Start with just a couple of strawberries sliced up. If you have a toy dog bread or a puppy, just start with one strawberry, making sure to cut it up.
If you do spot strawberry pieces in your puppy’s poop, try pureeing them next time for better digestion.
Pros and Cons of Giving Your Dog Strawberries
- Antioxidants that protect the brain
- Lots of beneficial vitamins for dog health
- Pretty easy to prepare. A stick blender makes the job easier if you do decide to puree
- May cause diarrhea if you overfeed
- Can be a choking hazard if too big
What Other Fruits Are Safe For Dogs?
Now that you know that strawberries are probably safe in moderation, you may be wondering what other fruits are safe. Well, good news for your puppy! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries are on the safe list.
Other fruits are safe too but use some caution. Cherries, for example, MUST be depitted and have their leaves removed. Apples as well. The seeds, pits, and leaves of many fruits contain cyanide, which is mildly poisonous to your dog. Other acceptable fruits include bananas, watermelon, pears, and mangos.
Feeding dog fruit is similar to feeding a toddler. Cut the fruit into smaller pieces if you have a small dog to reduce any choking hazards. As when you introduce food to toddlers, introduce one at a time to your puppy and wait a couple of days. Their poop and gas will be a not-so-subtle signal if it is time to back off.
Poisonous Fruits and Your Dog: What You Should Know
Always assume that any berry fruit bush you find while out on a walk is unsafe. Many nightshade berry varieties look red and tempting but are actually poisonous and deadly for both humans and dogs.
If your dog does happen to leap and take a bit of an unknown fruit, call Animal Poison Control immediately and they will best advise you on your next step.
Bad Fruits For Your Dog
- Raw tomatoes
- Plums (may easily cause diarrhea even if pit is safely removed)
Key Points and Conclusion
- Strawberries are safe
- Use moderation, start with a very small amount
- Ask your vet first
- Avoid sugar-added berries
- Berries, including strawberries and blueberries, have a lot of antioxidants that benefit dog health
- For the teething puppy, cut up cold strawberries may soothe sore gums. Also, try frozen sliced bananas for teething or frozen blueberries. Just like with toddlers, it really helps
- Look for holistic treats with strawberry or other berries
- Pureed strawberries are an option if choking is a concern
Remember to always back off if you have a bad feeling or if your puppy’s behavior or digestion changes. You know your puppy better than anyone. A whole food diet of puppy food with treats making up only a small portion is the best way to go.