When thinking about a healthy snack for yourself, fruits and vegetables likely come to mind. And if you’re used to sharing your snacks with your pup, you might wonder if these items are healthy for dogs, too. They do have different nutritional needs, after all, and many foods we eat (see: garlic, onions, chocolate) are actually harmful to dogs.
But what about strawberries? Can dogs eat them, too? Read on to find out.
Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat strawberries, says Dr. Donna Raditic of Nutrition and Integrative Medicine Consultants in Athens, Georgia.
Although strawberries are among the fruits and veggies that are safe for dogs, they should be consumed in moderation. Raditic says that too many strawberries could lead to diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, but they aren’t toxic.
Health Benefits of Strawberries for Dogs
Just because dogs can have strawberries, however, doesn’t exactly mean that they’re a health food.
We don’t know for sure if the nutrients in fruits like strawberries are a must-have for dogs to maintain optimal health, she says, “but from a more practical point of view, we are told fresh and variety of fruits and vegetables should be a part of our healthy daily diet.”
And of course, even health foods are best served in moderation, even for our canine companions. Strawberries should not make up the entirety of your dog’s diet, and you should keep track of what you’re feeding your pet, Raditic says.
“You should weigh treats and daily food intake to determine and monitor calorie intake,” she says, noting that a medium-size strawberry weighs about ten grams and is around three calories.
How to Serve Strawberries to Dogs
There is a myriad of ways that humans can consume strawberries, but it’s best to serve them in their most basic form to dogs (i.e. no added sugar or chocolate-coated strawberries).
“No sugar, spice or anything nice needs to be added,” Raditic says. “Fresh is best.”
Raditic recommends washing the strawberry, removing the leaves and stem and cutting it to an appropriate size for your dog before serving it. And she cautions against serving dogs frozen strawberries, as some have added sweeteners.
In addition to strawberries, there are a number of healthy fruits you can share with your dog. Raditic recommends pears, apples, blueberries, watermelon and bananas as alternative options. As always, check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet—including adding healthy snacks like strawberries—and if you notice any vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy as a result of these changes, contact your veterinarian immediately.