Strawberry season will soon be here again. Fresh, sweet and juicy, the berries are perfect plain, in pies, smoothies and homemade ice creams. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that give your immune system a boost, hydrate your skin, and contribute to good gut health. But can dogs eat strawberries? Should you be concerned if you drop one on the floor and Fido grabs it before you do?
Can dogs eat strawberries?
Though it’s always good to check with your vet before feeding your dog something new, strawberries aren’t harmful to dogs.
“Strawberries in their whole, natural, off-the-stem version are safe,” says Antoinette Martin, DVM, head veterinarian at Hello Ralphie, a Telehealth company that connects dog owners to licensed veterinarians.
Dr. Martin spills on some sweet benefits your dog might get from eating strawberries as well as some red flags to watch out for.
Benefits of strawberries for dogs
Strawberries boast many of the same benefits for dogs as they do for humans.
“There’s fiber in them and Vitamin C,” Dr. Martin says.
In other words, strawberries can aid in digestion and immune health.
Are strawberries ever harmful to dogs?
While the answer to, “can dogs eat strawberries?,” is yes, it’s not a free-for-all. Fresh or defrosted berries are fine, but Dr. Martin advises pup parents to steer clear of anything canned or in syrups.
“It may have xylitol and other sweeteners that aren’t safe for dogs,” she says.
Chocolate-covered strawberries are also a no-no for dogs.
How to introduce strawberries
First, you’ll want to get clearance from your vet before intentionally letting your dog eat strawberries.
“Some dogs are just more likely to have issues with certain dietary things,” Dr. Martin says. “It’s always a good idea to make sure that any specific disease your dog might have or be predisposed to that you don’t risk setting it off by feeding them something different.”
After getting the vet’s okay, start small. “Small” will be relative to your dog’s breed.
“Somewhere between a small piece and a whole strawberry,” Dr. Martin says.
If your dog does not have an adverse reaction to the strawberry, you can give more the next day — just don’t overdo it.
“Anything you choose to add to the diet should only make up a maximum of 10 percent of their total daily food intake,” Dr. Martin says.
For small breeds, always cut the strawberries before feeding.
“They can be choking hazards,” Dr. Martin says.
Are strawberries bad for dogs?
Though dogs can eat strawberries, not all pups should. The biggest drawback of feeding your dog strawberries is the potential for a stomach ache.
“Symptoms include diarrhea or loose stool,” Dr. Martin says, adding these issues will usually present within 24 hours. “Also, any time you introduce anything new, there’s a small possibility of an allergic reaction.”
If you notice your dog having issues, call the vet.
Depending on the severity, it might be as simple as monitoring and making sure they get enough fluids for a couple of days, or they might ask you to bring the dog in for a closer look,” Dr. Martin says.
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