Your dog eats a strawberry off the carpet. Should you be concerned? Not at all.
Good news: Strawberries are not toxic to dogs. In fact, you can even let your dogs eat strawberries as an occasional treat.
Benefits of Strawberries for Dogs
Are strawberries good for dogs? They are! Strawberries are fat-free and contain fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.
“They may help strengthen the immune system and slow issues related to aging,” says Dr. Sarah Nold, DVM, staff veterinarian at pet insurance company Trupanion.
Strawberries are also low in calories and can help with managing the weight of your dog. While berries are by no means essential to a dog’s diet, they are a healthier snack option than high-fat, salty foods.
How to Feed Your Dog Strawberries
To feed your dog strawberries, make sure to first remove the green tops. Although most strawberries are bite-size, cutting them into small pieces eliminates any choking hazard and may make them easier to digest. For smaller dogs, mash up or puree the berries and add them to your dog’s regular food.
If your dogs eat strawberries and like the taste, you can try out dog treats such as strawberry-flavored crunchy dog treats, jerky dog strips or other dog treats. You can also add a fruit-filled meal mixer to your pup’s food for that extra boost of nutrition.
Things to Avoid When Giving Your Dog Strawberries
Don’t give your dog canned strawberries or strawberries in syrup because they are high in sugar, which can be harmful to dogs. And skip the chocolate-covered ones.
“No chocolate-covered strawberries or fruits, since chocolate is toxic to dogs,” warns Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH of Animal Acupuncture.
Never overfeed strawberries to your pup, as too much of any kind of food can cause digestive distress.
Beyond strawberries for dogs, let’s look at fruits dogs can eat and fruits dogs can’t eat safely.
Other Fruits Dogs Can Eat
There are a variety of fruits safe for dogs to eat in moderation. However, be careful with cores, pits, seeds and the like because they are choking hazards and also can cause digestive distress.
Dr. Nold provides this list of fruits dogs can safely eat:
- Apples and pears (remove the core/seeds)
- Apricot—fleshy part (remove the pit, seeds and stem/leaves)
- Blueberries and raspberries
- Cantaloupe (remove the skin and seeds)
- Cranberries—raw, cooked and dried (avoid cranberry sauce or cranberry juice)
- Mango (remove the pit and skin)
- Orange—fleshy part only (remove the seeds, peel, stem/leaves)
- Pineapple (remove skin and hard core)
- Watermelon—fleshy part only (remove seeds and rind)
But don’t go overboard; Dr. Nold advises moderation when feeding your dog fruit.
Avoid These Fruits
Fruits dogs can’t eat safely include:
- Unripe tomatoes and tomato plants
Avoid feeding your dog lemons, limes and grapefruit. These citrus fruits contain toxic chemical compounds called psoralens, which can cause an upset the stomach.
If in doubt about any food, ask your veterinarian.
Watch for Adverse Reactions
Sometimes a dog may be allergic to a certain food. Vomiting, diarrhea and skin problems may be symptoms of an allergic reaction. Consult your veterinarian if any of those occur.
Introduce only one type of fruit at a time to your dog. That way you can monitor your pet for an adverse reaction. Plus, gradually introducing new foods to your dog’s diet helps avoid stomach upset.
If your dog is on a special diet or under treatment for an illness, always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog a new food.