Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
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Do you love strawberries? So do many dogs!
But, can dogs eat strawberries without any ill effects? Should you share your strawberries with your favorite four-legged friend?
As it turns out, yes, you can give your dog strawberries – with a few precautions. As with many fruits and berries, you need to use a little care about giving them to your dog.
Find out more about how to safely give your dog strawberries in our short guide.
Strawberry Nutrition Stats
Botanically speaking, strawberries are not really berries. They are an “aggregate accessory fruit,” but most people just call them berries. For humans, one cup (152 grams) is considered to be a serving size.
It contains the following:
- 48.6 calories
- 1.0 grams protein
- 0.5 grams fat
- 11.7 grams carbohydrates
- 3.0 grams dietary fiber
- Vitamin C 89.4 mg
- Manganese 0.6 mg
- Folate (vitamin B9) 36.5 mcg
- Potassium 233 mg
There are about 4 calories in one strawberry, though it can depend on the size and variety.
Strawberries Nutritional Facts At A Glance
Like other fruits, strawberries are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They are also a good source of folate, potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.
Also like many other fruits, a large portion of the calories in strawberries come from sugars. These are mostly simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose though strawberries also contain quite a bit of fiber.
Strawberries have a glycemic index (GI) score of 40 which is quite low nutrition. Eating them should not result in blood sugar spikes – something that can be a concern for someone with diabetes.
Strawberries are made up of about 26 percent fiber.
They are also a good source of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds such as anthocyanins and polyphenols which are believed to have health benefits for the heart, among other things.
On the down side, allergies to strawberries are fairly common among humans. It’s hard to say how common strawberry allergy might be among dogs but it is a possibility.
Strawberries also contain goitrogens which can interfere with thyroid function in humans who have thyroid problems. It’s not known if they would affect dogs who have thyroid issues.
Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
Yes, dogs can eat fresh strawberries. You should be sure to rinse them to remove any dirt or pesticides. It’s also a good idea to inspect them for mold, especially if they have been in a basket or bag.
Strawberries are low in calories and can provide some beneficial vitamins and minerals for your dog. But you do need to give them to your dog in moderation. They are relatively high in sugar and too many of them can cause an upset stomach.
Are Strawberries Good for Dogs?
Strawberries can be good for dogs as long as your dog doesn’t have any health conditions that might pose a problem. If your dog is diabetic or has another chronic health problem, you should talk to your vet before giving him strawberries or other fruits and vegetables.
Otherwise, strawberries have many nutrients that are good for dogs such as antioxidants. They are also low in calories.
There are differing opinions about whether strawberries whiten teeth (including a dog’s teeth). According to some sources, strawberries contain the natural enzyme malic acid which can help whiten teeth. Other sources claim that the teeth whitening effect is just an optical illusion.
How Many Strawberries Can (Should) Dogs Eat?
It’s fine to give your dog a few strawberries occasionally but more than that can lead to tummy problems.
Even though strawberries are low in calories, your dog really doesn’t need to eat an entire cup of strawberries, even if he’s a Great Dane and eats 2000 calories per day.
Normally treats shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calories. A dog that weighs 30 pounds should get about 800 calories per day, for example.
He could eat about 80 calories in treats (leaving 720 calories for his dog food). Since a cup of strawberries is about 48 calories, if you gave this dog 10 percent of his calories in strawberries, that would be nearly two cups!
He really shouldn’t be eating that many strawberries in one day. He would be almost guaranteed to have an upset stomach, especially if he’s not used to eating strawberries or other fruits.
We suggest that you use caution and give your dog just a few strawberries at a time, especially at first.
We also recommend that you remove the stem and leaves from the strawberries and cut them into smaller pieces, especially for smaller dogs. While it is unlikely that a dog could choke on a strawberry since they are usually soft and a little mushy, it’s possible. Cutting or slicing them can help avoid this problem.
How Often Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
If your dog really likes strawberries, try giving them two or three times per week. You can rotate them with other berries, fruits, or vegetables so your dog has a good variety of tastes and textures for treats.
The Correct Diet Is Important
Dogs need to eat the correct diet for good health. This means that they require good quality protein and fat. Foods like strawberries should only be given as an occasional treat.
While there are many different ideas about good dog foods and different ways to feed dogs, your dog needs the following in his diet:
- Good Sources of Protein- All dogs need good sources of protein in their diet. Meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are all good sources of animal protein.
- Good Sources of Fat- Fat provides essential fatty acids (EFA) and helps distribute the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K so your dog’s body can absorb them.
- Named Ingredients- Look for named ingredients in your dog’s food and avoid generic ingredients. The more specific the ingredient is, the better. Otherwise, you can’t be sure what you are feeding your dog.
- Low to Moderate Carbohydrates- Many dog foods are loaded with carbohydrates. This is true even with some good quality dog foods. Carbohydrates are not “bad” and they can be beneficial (dietary fiber can come from carbs, for example). But carbs should not be a substitute for protein.
- Avoid Artificial Colors, Preservatives, and Sweeteners- Artificial preservatives and colors/dyes have been linked to some health problems in humans and animals. You should try to avoid these ingredients in dog foods.
- AAFCO- AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO sets voluntary standards for pet food labeling. Look for foods that follow these minimum standards.
- Fresh Water- All dogs need easy access to fresh water unless they are ill or have some other reason to be temporarily kept away from water. For example, you might keep water from a puppy overnight while you are house training him.
What Are Other Healthy Alternatives to Strawberries In A Dog’s Diet?
Strawberries are a healthy treat but there are many other fruits and vegetables that can provide some of the same benefits. You should consider these foods as treats. Give them to your dog occasionally and in moderation.
Check with your veterinarian if your dog has any health issues and you are concerned about giving any of these foods.
- Bell pepper
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Summer squash
- Sweet potato
How Do You Give Your Dog Strawberries?
Dogs usually love strawberries right out of the container – though we recommend washing them to remove dirt and pesticides. We also recommend cutting or slicing strawberries, especially if they are large and you have a small or medium-sized dog. This can help avoid any potential choking problems.
Other ways for your dog to enjoy strawberries include adding them to yogurt for your dog. If you mix in a blender you can make your dog a smoothie!
Try slicing a few strawberries and adding to your dog’s meal to make them more interesting.
We do suggest that you avoid giving your dog things like strawberry jams, preserves, and other human foods since these foods are loaded with added sugar. Foods with artificial strawberry flavorings are also out.
Many dogs love strawberries and yes, dogs can eat strawberries. They make a healthy, low calorie treat, full of nutrients. There is a remote possibility that a dog could have an allergic reaction but this is very remote.
Because some strawberries are very large, it’s best to cut or slice them for your dog, especially if your dog is small or medium in size. If your dog is diabetic or has any chronic health issues, talk to your vet before giving your dog strawberries.