It’s the question that gets asked every year as summer draws near: Are strawberries good for dogs? The answer is yes. However, it’s best to stick to feeding your pup fresh fruit as opposed to a canned variety or strawberries that are packaged with syrup. In addition to being able to feed your dog fresh strawberries, you can also incorporate them into homemade treats for a healthy, yummy snack.
If you are a pet parent and you’ve been enjoying strawberries as a healthy snack or even as part of a delicious dessert, then you’ve probably been tempted to toss a berry to your canine companion. Many people are reluctant to do so because they’ve heard that many human foods are actually dangerous to give to dogs. Moreover, some people believe that dogs don’t need produce in their diet.
In reality, dogs aren’t carnivores. Although they love meat and need the protein it gives them, dogs actually need other foods to maintain a healthy balance. Fruits and vegetables can certainly play a role in that. Of course, knowledgeable pet parents are typically aware that dogs can’t eat everything that humans do. This means that certain fruits like raisins and grapes are off limits to the family’s four-legged friend. However, strawberries are under no such restriction.
Loaded with Antioxidants
Vets actually suggest that giving your dog strawberries has a number of health benefits. These berries are simply loaded with antioxidants, and that is good news for your pet’s health. That’s because antioxidants are important components in the battle against free radicals that can do serious harm to your dog’s body. Free radicals are a metabolism byproduct that occur naturally in the body. They are present in especially large numbers in older dogs, those that are ill or in dogs that are receiving less-than-adequate nutrition. Because they are short of an electron, free radicals are highly reactive in the body. They try to steal electrons from other cells. The cell that loses an electron may in turn, become a free radical, exacerbating the cycle.
Antioxidants help to break this cycle because they are capable of donating electrons to various cells. Accordingly, cell damage is stopped in its tracks. This makes your dog’s immune system stronger and better able to fight off illness and infection. Often, dogs that receive a diet that is rich in antioxidants lead longer, healthier lives.
In addition to being an excellent source of antioxidants, strawberries also contain large amounts of vitamin C. Because dogs are one of the many animals that actually produce their own vitamin C, unlike humans, dog nutritionists have long debated whether or not it is actually necessary to supplement vitamin C in a pet’s diet. However, recent studies have demonstrated that dogs that are stressed or unwell deplete their supply of vitamin C very quickly. This means that there is evidence that giving your dog a boost of vitamin C can be an exceptionally good thing.
Studies show that vitamin C gives the immune system a particularly strong boost. It does this by improving the efficiency and functionality of white blood cells. Vitamin C has also been proven to increase levels of interferon in the blood. Interferon is a known anticancer and antiviral compound that occurs naturally in the bloodstream, thereby increasing an animal’s ability to fight off disease. Clearly, the vitamin C that is found in strawberries can have enormous health benefits for your pup.
What Nutrition are in Strawberries?
Strawberries also contain an impressive amount of fiber. Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, and this means that they require a certain amount of fiber in their diet. Rather than being detrimental, fiber is actually enormously beneficial in a number of ways.
As an example, fiber helps to prevent both constipation and diarrhea. That’s because insoluble fiber absorbs water outside of the dog’s colon, which means that the moisture is brought into the pup’s stools. This promotes regular bowel movements, which contributes to your dog’s overall well-being. At the same time, fiber is able to absorb any excess water found in the dog’s colon, which can put a stop to diarrhea. Moreover, dogs that get a diet rich in fiber are less likely to develop colon cancer.
Additionally, dogs that eat plenty of fiber have been known to maintain a healthier weight or even to lose weight. If your dog has any weight issues, then he may benefit from getting more fiber in his food. There is almost no end to the benefits your pup can derive simply from having an adequate supply of fiber.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your pooch’s mouth cleaner, then strawberries may be the answer once again. The natural acid that’s present in the fruit is pretty good at removing tartar and buildup, and so are the seeds that you’ll find in any strawberry. Dogs that have stinky breath or that aren’t particularly good about having their teeth brushed may benefit from regular servings of strawberries.
Fresh is Best
It’s easy to incorporate strawberries into your pup’s usual routine. Avoid canned or otherwise preserved strawberries as they may have been subjected to chemical processing or have added sugars that dogs just don’t need. Fresh or frozen strawberries are always best. Most dogs are happy to have a frozen strawberry as a treat on a hot day. Alternatively, you could toss your pup a fresh strawberry to enjoy. If you keep a few simple guidelines in mind, the experience should be enjoyable for you and your dog.
It’s rarely advisable to give your dog a whole strawberry. Usually, it’s best if you remove the stem and slice the fruit into smaller pieces. This helps to eliminate choking hazards. It can also ease digestion since some dogs have a tendency to swallow food whole when they get excited. If you have a small dog, consider serving her pureed strawberry. Give it to her by itself or mix it in with her usual food for a nutritious, tasty treat.
Pet parents who love to give their dogs homemade treats can use recipes that rely on strawberries in the list of ingredients. For a proven winner, give this recipe from The Doggy Dessert Chef blog a try. You’ll love that it also uses banana, another canine favorite!
Strawberry Banana Smoothie Dog Treats
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
1 mashed banana
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir all of the ingredients in a large bowl until a soft dough forms. It may be necessary to knead the dough to adequately mix all of the ingredients. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. If necessary, knead it a few more times. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough, moving the treats onto the prepared baking sheet. Leave one inch of space between each treat. Pierce dough with a fork to prevent air bubbles from forming. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, and refrigerate unused portions.
Dogs love this simple, straightforward, healthy treat. It packs a serious nutritional punch, and it also tastes great. Give this recipe a try the next time you want to tell your pooch how extra special you think she is.
No matter how you choose to serve them, fresh and frozen strawberries are always a good treat for your pup. If you’ve ever wondered, “Are strawberries good for dogs?” you have an answer now. Your pup can enjoy this summertime treat right along with you. Just don’t overdo it as strawberries do contain sugar. It’s a natural ingredient, but too much can spell trouble for your dog’s well-being.
Strawberries are an overall healthy treat for your dog. They make may a fresh, natural alternative to highly processed, commercial dog treats. Moreover, thanks to the many nutritional properties that strawberries possess, they can become a huge part of your dog’s health and longevity. Give your pup a piece of strawberry today to discover the many benefits your four-legged friend may derive from them.