Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

It can be difficult to keep your animals away from stray scraps of food, but one very common question, particularly in the summertime, is can dogs eat strawberries? There are many types of foods that dogs should avoid to maintain their overall health, but strawberries are safe for dogs to consume, provided they are fresh strawberries. There are potential side effects if dogs are given canned strawberries or those doused in sugary syrup.

Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

Dogs can eat strawberries because the primary constituents of this fruit are potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium and iodine, as well as vitamin K, vitamin C and various B vitamins. The sweet taste is a unique treat for dogs, since most of their food is savory in nature, but there are no inherent toxicities in strawberries that can harm your canine companion.

As is the case with blackberries and blueberries, dogs can safely consume strawberries in small to moderate amounts, and may actually benefit from these rich sources of nutrients.

Benefits of Strawberries for Dogs

Strawberries have a number of possible health benefits for dogs, such as a boost to their immune system and oral health, as well as help manage their weight.

Teeth: The rich supply of minerals and nutrients that are found in strawberries can help to protect your dog’s gums and teeth from decay and infection, thanks to the antioxidants and immune-boosting properties of vitamin C found in strawberries.

Weight: As opposed to many of the salty and carbohydrate-rich foods that we typically feed dogs, strawberries provide dietary fiber and diverse nutrients that can help your pooch feel full, keep them nutritionally satisfied, and avoid excess weight gain, which can be difficult to shed!

Immune System: Just as human beings benefit from the inclusion of vitamin C in our diet, that same vitamin can help protect dogs against a variety of pathogens and potential infections that they are exposed to every day.

Potential Side Effects

Although eating strawberries (both wild and common) is a safe practice for your dog, there are still some potential side effects that can leave your pup feeling ill, including stomach upset and risks for choking, as well as elevated sugar levels if they consume forms other than fresh strawberries.

  • Gastrointestinal Distress – As with any foreign food for canines, eating an excessive amount of strawberries will likely cause stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting. While 1-2 strawberries at a time can be easily digested and have positive effects on their health, eating too many strawberries will result in a strong gastrointestinal reaction.
  • Choking Hazard – Although dogs seem capable of eating anything, the semi-soft nature of strawberries can cause them to get stuck in their airway. For small dogs, it is best to cut strawberries into small pieces and add them to their normal food, whereas larger dogs won’t normally have a problem with eating strawberries whole.
  • Unhealthy Varieties – Dogs can only eat fresh strawberries, as the other forms of strawberries such as canned and ones that are rich in syrup will elevate their sugar levels to an unhealthy level and are more likely to cause stomach problems.
References
  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0260877406000070
  2. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/6/1720S.short
  3. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jat/18/4/18_6114/_article
  4. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf9908345

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