When it comes to sweet-yet-healthy treats, it’s hard not to love strawberries…
But if you’ve been asking yourself “can dogs have strawberries” - you’re not alone.
Yes, dogs can have strawberries. In fact, these berries can even offer your dog several health benefits that we’ll share below.
But even though strawberries are safe and nutritious for dogs to eat, you still want to make sure you’re feeding them safely and in appropriate amounts. So, we’ll also walk you through everything you know to start feeding your dog strawberries safely.
Benefits Of Strawberries For Dogs
Not only can dogs have strawberries, but strawberries are actually a healthy addition to your dog's diet. They’re rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, which can benefit your dog's health in many ways.
Here are just a few of the benefits of strawberries for dogs:
Support Immune System
Just like humans, dogs can benefit from immune system support. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, which can help support immunity.
Promote Good Digestion
Strawberries are high in fiber, which is key for keeping your dog's digestive system running smoothly. Fiber helps to move food through the digestive tract and support colon health.
A healthy digestive system will also help with your dog’s nutrient absorption, and ensures that he’s getting all the necessary nutrients from his food.
Strawberries are packed with antioxidants that may help reduce oxidative stress by removing free radicals. Antioxidants may help maintain a normal inflammatory response in the body.
Low Calorie Snack Or Treat
Not only are strawberries delicious, but they're also a low-calorie snack that can be a great option for dogs. This makes strawberries a great option to treat your dog without worrying about his waistline…
While the natural sweetness of strawberries makes them a tasty alternative to high-calorie, processed dog treats, they do contain 8-12 milligrams of sugar per cup, so don't feed a lot of strawberries to diabetic or overweight dogs. Avoid canned or dried strawberries which are higher in sugar than the fresh berries
How To Feed Your Dog Strawberries Safely
Too much of anything can be harmful, and the same goes for strawberries. So while strawberries are safe for dogs to eat and packed full of the benefits listed above, it’s still important to feed them in moderation.
Here are some tips for feeding your dog strawberries safely:
- Wash Strawberries: Before feeding strawberries to your dog, make sure to wash them thoroughly. This will remove any pesticides or dirt that may be on the fruit.
- Remove Stems and Leaves: Many people wonder, “can dogs eat strawberry tops?” No, dogs should not eat strawberry tops. While the stems and leaves of strawberries are not toxic to dogs, they can be difficult to digest. So make sure to remove them before feeding strawberries to your dog.
- Cut into Small Pieces: Cut the strawberries into small, bite-sized pieces before feeding them to your dog. This will make them easier to digest and reduce any risk of choking.
- Introduce in Moderation: If your dog has never had strawberries before, introduce them in small amounts to see how he reacts. Some dogs may be allergic to strawberries, so it's important to monitor him for any signs of an allergic reaction.
Why Organic Strawberries Are Better For Dogs
Another thing to keep in mind if you want to safely feed your dog strawberries is to choose organic strawberries.
Organic strawberries are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, which can be harmful to both humans and animals. These pesticides can leave harmful residues on fruits like strawberries, and these chemicals can be ingested by your dog if they’re not washed properly.
EWG’s Dirty Dozen research for 2022 found that more than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
In other words… if you aren’t opting for organic strawberries, chances are your berries have been sprayed heavily with at least two different pesticides.
Also, organic strawberries are often more nutrient-dense than their conventionally grown counterparts, meaning they contain higher levels of essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your dog's overall health and well-being.
Other Toxin Risks In Strawberries
According to the USDA, strawberries are the type of fresh produce most likely to be contaminated even after washing. That's because some strawberry farmers use poisonous gases to sterilize the fields before planting. Fumigants endanger the health of animals and farmworkers in the areas where they are used.
So next time you're at the grocery store, opt for organic strawberries if you want to give your dog (and yourself) the best and healthiest treat possible!
Bottom Line | Can Dogs Have Strawberries?
Strawberries are not only safe for dogs to eat, they also offer many health benefits. Just remember to feed strawberries in moderation and follow the safety tips mentioned above. And if at all possible, always opt for organic strawberries!
Giampieri F et al. The strawberry: composition, nutritional quality, and impact on human health. Nutrition. 2012 Jan;28(1):9-19.
Basu A, Nguyen A, Betts NM, Lyons TJ. Strawberry as a functional food: an evidence-based review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(6):790-806.