Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) are one of the most popular fruits there are … delicious and versatile. They’re great in snacks, salads, smoothies, desserts, or even cocktails. But is it OK to share strawberries with your dog?
Yes, dogs can eat strawberries. Like many other fruits, they contain vitamins other nutrients that offer some health benefits. They’re a good source of fiber … and they’re the perfect size for a dog treat! They do have some sugar content, so it’s best to make them an occasional treat. But there are some things you need to know before you decide to feed them to your dog.
Yes … and no. Strawberries have many nutrients with excellent health benefits. But there are some important reasons to be cautious about giving your dog this special treat … because they can sometimes be harmful.
What Are The Benefits Of Strawberries For Dogs?
There are quite a few good reasons that strawberries can be a healthy snack for your dog …
Vitamins And Minerals In Strawberries
- Vitamin C: Dogs can make vitamin C and meet their own needs for this nutrient. But giving your dog an extra source of vitamin C through food can provide an extra boost of antioxidants. Read more about antioxidants in strawberries below.
- Potassium: supports many body functions, including heart and kidney function.
- Manganese: important for metabolic function, normal growth and reproductive function. It also supports collagen production to strengthen connective tissues.
- Folate: folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 (folic acid is synthetic, used in supplements). Folate works with vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells and help iron work in the body. It’s important for fetal development and in pregnant females, can help avoid birth defects like cleft palate or brain damage.
- Fiber: fiber promotes healthy digestion and strengthens your dog’s immune system.
Antioxidants In Strawberries
Strawberries are high in natural plant compounds like anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, and procyanidins. These offer many health benefits, including …
- Anticancer effects antioxidants prevent the formation of cancer cells. A 2016 study showed that ellagic acid has anticarcinogenic attributes in dogs.
- Help reduce inflammation: antioxidants inhibit the enzymes that cause inflammation.
- Slow down aging: antioxidants help control free radicals … damaged cells that lead to chronic disease. They speed the aging process and attack other cells in the body. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and reduce the chance of cell damage.
- Improve the immune system: polyphenols in strawberries feed beneficial bacteria, helping to balance the gut and support your dog’s immune system.
When Are Strawberries Bad For Dogs?
There are a couple of things you should know before giving your dog strawberries.
Strawberries May Contain Aflatoxins
Studies show strawberries can sometimes contain aflatoxin mold. Aflatoxins are known carcinogens so they are health hazards. There’s no way to know if the strawberries you buy have this mold, but it’s a strong reason to limit the number of strawberries you give your dog.
Strawberries Can Be High In Pesticides
Strawberries are on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that are high in pesticides. The list is updated yearly, and strawberries often top the list. This means you should always buy organic strawberries and never use the conventionally grown ones,
So these are both reasons to be cautious about giving your dog strawberries. Always buy organic berries to minimize the risks, and wash them before feeding. If you notice any upset stomach symptoms or any kind of allergic reaction (coughing, sneezing, rash, swelling) when you give your dog strawberries, stop giving them.
Caution: don’t give your dog the green stem. It can cause an allergic reaction in some animals.
Can You Give Dogs Canned Strawberries?
It’s best to avoid any canned fruits like strawberries in syrup. Any canned fruit is almost always swimming in syrup, meaning a ton of added sugars that can cause weight gain or even risk diabetes in your pup. Strawberries have plenty of natural sugar so there’s no need for excess sugar – for you or your dog!
Yes, you can, but check the ingredient label, because some frozen fruits have added sugars. Again, always buy organic strawberries, whether fresh or frozen.
Again, you’ll want to avoid this because it’ll mean unwanted sugar for your dog. If you want to give your dog a creamy sweet treat, and he tolerates dairy, you could puree some strawberries with plain organic kefir or yogurt. Freeze it in small portions in an ice cube tray if you want to give a frozen treat.
Always avoid fruit snacks for your dog. They may be a chewy treat, but they’re very high in sugar and not a good choice. Don’t give your dog fruit products with concentrated sugar, like dried strawberries or strawberry jam.
You can give fresh fruit and veggies up to about 10% of a balanced diet for dogs. Polyphenols in fruit have anti-cancer properties, can lower inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, improve your dog’s gut health and even help detoxify the liver.
How To Prepare Strawberries For Dogs
Organic, fresh strawberries are best for your dog … here’s how to prepare them:
- Always buy ripe fruit – studies show ripe fruit contains more nutrients
- Remove the stems and leaves
- Wash the berries in cold water (preferably filtered)
- Depending on your dog’s size, slice them up or give them whole
Can Dogs Eat Other Berries?
Yes! In fact other berries like blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries are all better for your dog than strawberries. They’re lower in sugar and a great source of dietary fiber. Add them to your dog’s food or give them as treats.
It’s always best to choose organic berries, whatever kind of berries you feed.
It’s okay to give your dog strawberries in moderation as an occasional snack. Because of concerns about aflatoxins and pesticides, don’t overdo the strawberries and save them for a special tasty treat.
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