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Nothing beats biting into a plump, juicy strawberry during peak season. And the good news is, your dog can enjoy them right along with you. As long as you stick to fresh strawberries, this warm-weather favorite is a healthy, tasty treat for your pup (canned strawberries or strawberries in syrup are high in sugar and should be avoided). Keep reading to learn the health benefits of strawberries for dogs and how to add them to your pup's diet.
The Health Benefits of Strawberries for Dogs
Strawberries are a very low-calorie, nutritious fruit for dogs. They're a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and cognitive aging in dogs. They're also loaded with vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin K, as well as potassium, magnesium, iodine, and folic acid.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, strawberries can keep your dog's skin healthy and their coat shiny. Strawberries are also high in fiber, which can help aid your dog’s digestion. They even have a special enzyme that helps whiten your pup's teeth.
How to Add Strawberries to Your Dog's Diet
Start by washing the strawberries thoroughly. Remove the tops, stems, and leaves. Then cut the fruit into bite-size pieces to avoid choking and help with digestion. Strawberries can also be pureed and added to your dog’s food. Frozen pieces can be saved to be used later for tasty treats or even training incentives. To be safe, do not feed your dog canned or processed strawberries, or products with artificial strawberry flavors, as they could be hazardous to your pup's health.
Strawberries contain sugar so a little bit goes a long way. Eating too many strawberries may give your dog diarrhea or an upset stomach. (If you have a strawberry patch in your yard, do not give your dog free access to it.) A good rule of thumb is one strawberry per day for small dogs, 3 to 4 for medium dogs, and a maximum of 5 strawberries for large dogs.
Whenever you add a new food to your dog's diet, it's best to take it slow. Start with small quantities and see how your dog responds. Allergic reactions to strawberries are not common but can happen. To be on the safe side, check with your veterinarian before feeding your dog strawberries.
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Jane McGivern Levine
Jane Levine holds a master’s degree in Written Communication and Teaching. She loves spending time at her cabin in the woods with her husband and three dogs.