Sharing our favorite treats with our dogs is a common practice for all of us dog parents. But, when you’re cutting up all those healthy fruits and veggies for your meal, do you wonder if what you’re eating can be safely shared with your beloved pup?
Not all fruits and vegetables are safe for your dog, but strawberries are one sweet treat that is not only safe for your dog but packed with powerful nutrients that support their health. After all, strawberries are a summer favorite in many home gardens and fruit salads.
Let’s look at why strawberries are a wise choice for your pup’s next healthy snack.
Benefits of the Strawberry
Like blueberries and cranberries, strawberries are packed with antioxidants, have low calories, and provide dietary fiber. They’re also a good source of vitamin C. Another bonus of this sweet berry is its teeth whitening capability.
Let’s look deeper into the nutrients of the strawberry:
Protein and fats: Strawberries are low in protein and fats, making them safe for dogs that may have kidney failure.
Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that goes after free-radicals that destroy or alter cells in bodies. It also helps reduce inflammation, boosts the immune system, and is believed to help reduce cognitive aging in senior dogs and fight cancer.
Manganese: This micro-mineral supports the metabolizing of proteins and fatty acids. It also supports energy production and the role of ligament and bone maintenance.
Folate (Vitamin B9 or folic acid): This is important for DNA synthesis and red blood cell production.
Potassium: Supports your dog’s kidneys and heart. It also maintains normal functions of the digestive system and muscle function.
Magnesium: Important for cell energy.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants combat the ability of free radicals to damage molecules and cells in your dog’s body brought on by stress, illness, age, environmental toxins, and disease.
Fiber: High fiber and water content of this sweet treat promote healthy digestion by pushing the food through the digestive system. It also assists with weight control and can prevent constipation or diarrhea.
Malic Acid: This enzyme is a secret bonus in strawberries. It helps to whiten your pup’s teeth!
As with most fresh fruits and vegetables, the vitamins and minerals strawberries contain help slow down the aging process, boost the immune system, and promote weight maintenance.
Is there a downside to strawberries?
As nutrient-rich as strawberries are, there are luckily only a few downsides to this yummy berry.
Natural sugars: Strawberries have high sugar content. The natural sugars can cause problems if your dog is overweight or has diabetes. Prior to offering your dog a berry, check with your veterinarian for safe serving amounts and only use it for an occasional treat.
Allergies: Strawberry allergies are not common in dogs, but they are possible.
The protein in strawberries that makes them such a beautiful red color, can cause some allergic reactions in both people and dogs. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, skin itching, and hives. If present, your dog may have had an adverse reaction and should be taken to a veterinarian.
Snack time! Feeding strawberries to your dog.
- Strawberries are small and soft, posing only a small choking hazard. Remove the stems and mash or slice them up to reduce the risk of choking or any intestinal blockage.
- Frozen and fresh strawberries have the same nutritional values, so either way you prefer to store your berries is healthy for your dog.
- Fresh strawberries are a quick treat that’s easy to carry on a day outing. They are inexpensive and can be found in most produce departments year-round.
- Blueberries, raspberries, bananas, apples, pineapple, watermelon, are all healthy additions to some plain yogurt for a tasty smoothie your dog will love.
- You can also puree the berries with green beans, apricots, or citrus fruits. Put the mixture into ice cube trays for a frozen treat on hot summer days.
There are many tasty recipes on the internet for strawberry treats. If you’re a dog treat DIYer, your pup may enjoy these berries added into their favorite treat recipes too!
Avoid canned or processed strawberries and syrups, or any products with artificial sweeteners (especially xylitol, which is very toxic to your dog). These products can have added sugars, preservatives, and dyes that can be harmful to your tail-wagger.
If strawberries are a new food for your dog, it’s wise to check with your veterinarian prior to offering any. If your vet approves, only offer small quantities at first. Too many could cause an upset stomach.
In short, if you want to offer your dog strawberries, they are a very healthy and safe superfood. Just offer them in small pieces to avoid choking or blockages.
Strawberries are packed with vitamins and minerals, are low in calories and carbohydrates, and carry minimal risks while adding a powerful nutritional boost to your dog’s health. You can’t go wrong with them!