If you’re a fruit-lover, chances are that your dog is too. Summer fruits are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins, fiber, and minerals. But can dogs eat fruit safely? While you may assume that all fruits are safe for dogs, there are some that can cause severe problems and should be avoided altogether, such as grapes and raisins.
Luckily, strawberries are safe. Unlike grapes, they don’t contain any toxins or harmful substances that can be dangerous or fatal to your pooch. In fact, strawberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber that make them an excellent low-calorie snack.
Fruits make an excellent supplement for dogs of all ages, and keeping your dog’s diet varied has many benefits for their health. Fruits can help slow down the aging process thanks to their antioxidant content. They can help with weight loss as a low-calorie alternative to commercial treats. They can even help whiten your dog’s teeth and prevent gum disease.
Feeding Strawberries Safely
As with most treats, strawberries should be cleaned and cut up into small bite-size pieces. Be sure to remove the stems as well, since nobody – dog or human – enjoys the stems. Though strawberries are soft and relatively small, they can still pose a choking hazard, especially to small dogs. You can even mash or puree the strawberries to minimize the risk of choking. Frozen strawberries make a great summertime treat that both you and your dog can enjoy. You can use strawberries as a reward during training, or just as a small treat during the hot summer months.
Even though strawberries are considered safe for dogs, it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet before feeding your dog something they haven’t had before. Some dogs may have medical conditions that prevent them from eating fruit, while others may struggle with their weight and be on a strict diet that doesn’t include snacks of any kind. By speaking to a nutritionist or vet, you can be 100% sure that you won’t be doing your dog any harm by giving them strawberries.
There is also a very slight risk that your dog may be allergic to strawberries. Allergies can manifest in a number of different ways, including sneezing, hives, coughing, and swelling. In very rare instances, these allergies can even lead to anaphylaxis, which can be potentially life-threatening if left untreated. Be sure to feed your dog a small number of strawberries first and monitor them for any sign of an allergy. If you do notice any allergic symptoms, take your dog to vet right away.
The Risks of Feeding Your Dog Strawberries
While strawberries aren’t inherently dangerous to dogs, you should still be cautious while feeding them to your pooch. In addition to a lot of healthy nutrients, strawberries also contain a lot of sugar. Some dogs struggle to handle sugar and will suffer from an upset stomach if they get too much of it. Even dogs that don’t get gastrointestinal problems from sugar still shouldn’t get too much of it in order to maintain their good health.
Different dogs can tolerate different amounts of sugar. Consult with your vet about the appropriate strawberry serving sizes for your dog and stick to these guidelines. If you have strawberries growing in your garden, make sure your dog can’t freely get to them and that they aren’t sneaking off with your entire strawberry patch.
What About Other Forms of Strawberries?
It’s not a good idea to feed your dog strawberry jelly or any other type of jelly (in any amount). Not only is most of the nutritional value gone, but strawberry jelly is mainly made from sugar and preservatives, which aren’t good for dogs. Some jelly may even contain xylitol, which is deadly to dogs, in order to curb the amount of sugar.
Strawberry yogurt and ice-cream
In general, you should avoid strawberry yogurt and ice-cream for the same reasons you’d avoid giving your dog strawberry jelly. Most sweets that contain strawberries are packed with additional extras such as sugar and preservatives, and artificial strawberry flavors to enhance the taste. None of these foods are good for your dog, even in moderation.
Another reason to avoid giving your dog strawberry ice-cream is that many dogs are lactose intolerant. Yogurt is a better option as much of the lactose has been fermented away, but you still run the risk of the yogurt containing chocolate or xylitol. If you’re tempted to cool your pooch down with some chill ice-cream, rather opt for frozen strawberries instead.
Strawberries make an excellent treat for dogs as they are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. As with any new food, start out with small pieces and monitor your dog carefully for any signs of gastric distress. Soon you and your canine companion will be enjoying fruity treats all summer long.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Blueberries?