Can dogs eat strawberries?
Strawberries are chock full of vital nutrients that are good for dogs. However, before you offer this delicious and nutritious fruit to your canine friend, there are some important things you need to know. Although they don’t contain substances that are toxic to dogs, the sugar content of strawberries can have negative effects on your pet. Also, dogs with certain health issues may not tolerate strawberries. It’s always a good idea to ask your vet before sharing any human foods, including strawberries, with your pet. Keep reading to learn more!
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What are the benefits of feeding your dog strawberries?
Strawberries are a tasty and nutritious treat to share with your dog.
- Strawberries are low-calorie foods.
- Berries have fiber which supports digestive tract health and function.
- They’re also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Like other berries, strawberries contain natural antioxidants. However, their benefits for dogs haven’t been studied yet.
- Strawberries contain malic acid, an enzyme that is known for its tooth-whitening properties. It can also promote the production of saliva in the mouth which is important for digestive health.
Safe Ways to Feed Strawberries to Your Dog
If it’s your dog’s first time eating strawberries, start by giving a small amount first and monitor your dog closely for signs of any adverse reaction, such as an upset stomach. Checking with your vet first is also recommended. Some dogs have health issues that can be worsened by strawberries. You should also ask your vet or pet nutritionist about the appropriate amount for your dog.
You can also introduce strawberries to your dog by offering them as frozen treats. During summer frozen strawberry slices make yummy treats that your dog will always be looking forward to as temperatures start to rise.
The best strawberries to give to your dog are the fresh, organic ones, that have not been treated with pesticides, herbicides, or dipped in any preservatives before packing and shipping.
Before offering any of those juicy and sweet treats to your dog, always remember to rinse them thoroughly. Washing removes any dirt and residual chemicals that may be present. After washing, remove any stem or leaf because these are potential choking hazards for your dog. Then, cut the fruit into smaller pieces to prevent your dog from choking. Smaller pieces also make them easier to digest.
Strawberries can also be mashed up for smaller dogs. They can be pureed and mixed in with your pet’s meal. You can also make a smoothie by blending strawberry with other dog-safe fruits or make a tasty fruit salad.
Strawberries Can Pose a Potential Risk to Dogs
Strawberries are not a complete source of vital nutrients, which means they can never replace your dog’s premium quality diet.
Some dogs can have problems handling the sugar content of strawberries. A dog can suffer from stomach upset after eating large quantities of strawberries.
Dogs that have access to strawberry fields may eat strawberry stems and plants which can become lodged and cause an obstruction in any part of the gastrointestinal tract. These are also very difficult to digest. As a result, the dog can suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It may also cause dogs to strain when trying to defecate.
If you have a strawberry patch in your yard, take measures to restrict your dog’s access to it. When he knows that juicy strawberries are in the backyard and he can eat anytime he wants, he will surely try to find ways to get in there. Also, your dog may be exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers that have been applied to the plants.
The excess sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, food colors, syrup, etc. can pose risks for dogs; some, like xylitol or chocolate, can be toxic for dogs. Your dog could end up taking an emergency trip to the vet.
As with other types of foods, there is always a risk that your dog may experience an allergic reaction to strawberries. In very rare cases, this can lead to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. If you notice any changes in your pet, stop giving strawberries and talk to your vet right away.
Dogs that eat whole, large strawberries can choke on the fruit. This is especially true in dogs that just gobble up their food without chewing properly.
When it’s not strawberry season, canned or processed strawberries, baked products with strawberry filling, or food products artificially flavored with strawberry, should not be given to dogs. Offering any of these foods to your dog is defeating the purpose of providing a healthy treat. Strawberry jam, jellies, and preserves may be enhanced with xylitol or another artificial sweetener that may be harmful to your dog.
How many strawberries can my dog safely eat?
For small dogs, a medium-sized strawberry is good enough. Just make sure to cut the fruit into smaller pieces before offering them to your pup. For large-sized dogs, you can offer 3-4 medium-sized strawberries.
If your dog is diabetic or has been diagnosed with certain health issues, you should always consult your vet or pet nutritionist to determine whether it’s safe to give strawberries to your pet as well as the appropriate serving portions.
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