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Nothing says summer quite like the taste of a juicy, jewel-hued strawberry picked at the peak of ripeness. It's no surprise that these bountiful berries are a steadfast favorite when it comes to healthy summertime snacks. But is it safe to give strawberries to your dog so he can enjoy them too? The short answer is, yes! Strawberries are one sweet summer treat that can be savored by dogs and humans alike.

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Are strawberries safe for dogs?

If you caught your pup "red-handed," you can rest assured that strawberries are not poisonous or toxic to canines. However, you should always check with your veterinarian before sharing any human food with your pet just in case, because certain medical conditions or medications might interfere with your dog’s ability to digest certain foods.

Something smells good! androsov58 / Getty Images
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How many strawberries can I give my dog?

Too much of any kind of food can do a number on your dog’s digestive system, and strawberries are certainly no exception. You should always give strawberries to your pup in moderation. Experts recommend that strawberries make up no more than 10% of your dog’s calorie consumption in a single day. You can offer a handful here and there as an occasional treat but bear in mind that a whole bowlful of berries probably won’t do your dog’s belly any favors.

Pomeranian sniffing a strawberry ValeriMak / Getty Images
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What happens if my dog eats too many strawberries?

If your dog has devoured more than his fair share of strawberries in one sitting, he'll most likely be fine, but the side effects probably won’t be particularly pleasant. Most likely he will vomit or experience loose stools soon after. Just keep an eye on your pet if he seems uncomfortable, and call your vet if symptoms persist or if you notice a change in his behavior.

Yellow lab eating a strawberry Sanja Cokolic / Getty Images
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What kind of strawberries are bad for my dog?

While fresh, ripe strawberries are great for dogs, canned, pre-sweetened, or berries with added syrup are quite the opposite. Heavily processed strawberries are jam-packed with refined sugars, and any nutritional benefits are processed right out of them. It goes without saying you should also avoid giving your pet the chocolate-covered ones at all costs as chocolate is highly toxic to canines.

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What nutritional benefits do strawberries offer dogs?

Strawberries are a far healthier snack than most of the highly processed dog biscuits sold in stores. They are a natural source of fiber, rich in antioxidants and packed full of essential vitamins. They can even help quench thirst on hot days, thanks to their high water content. If your dog has weight management issues, strawberries can offer a low fat, low-calorie way to satisfy his appetite. Some studies have shown that strawberries slow the aging process and strengthen the immune system, and as a bonus, they might even whiten your dog’s teeth!

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What other fruits can dogs eat?

Your dog is omnivorous just like you are, and he can safely enjoy a wide variety of unprocessed fruit, including:

  • Bananas
  • Apples and pears
  • Apricots
  • Raspberries and blueberries
  • Whole cranberries
  • Seedless watermelon
  • Mangoes
  • Cantaloupe

Just make sure you always remove any choking hazards from any fruits before you give them to your dog, like pits or seeds.

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What fruits are not safe for dogs?

Unfortunately, not every fruit is as safe as strawberries. Certain fruits are dangerous for dogs and should always be kept out of reach from your curious canine at all times. These include:

  • Avocado
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Tomatoes of any kind, including the vines
  • Citrus fruit, such as limes, lemons or grapefruit
Bichon puppy observing strawberries Bratislav Stefanovic / Getty Images
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How do I serve strawberries to dogs?

Organic and pesticide-free strawberries are always the best choice for pets. Give the berries a good wash and rinse them thoroughly, and make sure you also remove any stems and leaves. While many strawberries are naturally bite-sized, larger strawberries should be cut up into smaller pieces to reduce the risk of choking. You can also puree or mash up strawberries and add them to your dog’s food. On hot days, unsweetened sliced strawberries make a perfectly cool summertime treat.

Parson Russell Terrier puppy and strawberries nmsamore / Getty Images
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Can dogs be allergic to strawberries?

Occasionally, strawberries can trigger an allergic reaction in some sensitive pups. For this reason, it’s important to carefully introduce your pet to small amounts of one type of fruit at a time to monitor their reactions. If your dog starts experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, changes in behavior, or skin problems soon after eating strawberries, contact your veterinarian.

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Can I use strawberries to make dog treats?

Definitely. You can find countless recipes for homemade dog treats with fresh strawberries as a primary ingredient, so take your pick! This is a great way to use up fresh, ripe strawberries if you have more than you know what to do with.

A healthy summer snack Fertnig / Getty Images

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