If there’s any pet that requires constant attention, it’s a dog. And what should you pay the closest attention to? His diet!
As you’re probably aware, dogs are quite happy to sniff out and chow down on anything and everything. Some dogs seem to be hungry all the time, whereas others are just curious about how something might taste. Your doggo might wolf down all sorts of things without you even noticing. Unfortunately, this means that he might end up eating something that isn’t good for him, or may even make him sick.
Of course, it’s not always your dog’s fault: owners may also be guilty of feeding their precious companion a particular food that they think is okay, but it turns out to be harmful. Thankfully, there are lots of foods out there that harbor nutritional benefits for both humans and dogs—some of which you can even eat together (on separate plates, of course!).
So, how do you know what’s good for him and what’s not? One food group that often confuses dog owners is fruit. We all know that fruit is good for humans, and it’s possible for your dog to enjoy a variety of fruits if they’re prepared properly. Let’s take a look at a very popular fruit: strawberries.
Are strawberries good for dogs to eat?
Strawberries are a delicious summer fruit known for their distinctive aroma, bright red color, and sweet taste. They’re a fantastic addition to any breakfast, smoothie, dessert, and they make a great snack, too! What’s more, strawberries are packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. But can dogs eat strawberries?
Fortunately, yes! Strawberries are a yummy, low-calorie treat for your beloved companion. They not only make an excellent alternative to those commercial dog treats (which are often full of unhealthy ingredients), they have loads of benefits for a dog’s wellbeing.
The benefits of giving your dog strawberries include:
Immune system booster. Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C. Most mammals can produce vitamin C naturally, but your dog could always do with more! Vitamin C is a powerful immunity booster, as well as an effective antioxidant. Vitamin C also works with collagen to support your dog’s joints and the condition of his fur.
Maintain healthy vision. The antioxidant properties in strawberries may also help to prevent your dog from developing cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens. This can lead to blindness as your dog ages. His eyes require vitamin C for protection from exposure to free radicals from the sun’s harsh UV rays, which can damage the protein in the lens.
Vitamin C is also helpful in strengthening the cornea and retina.
Help reduce inflammation. Strawberries are packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals which can help to reduce inflammation. These antioxidants are particularly helpful for protecting inflammation of the joints, which may lead to arthritis as your dog gets older. Chronic inflammation can also contribute to long-term health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Support digestive health. Like other fruits, strawberries contain a good dose of fiber, which is essential for keeping your dog’s digestive function in good order. It helps move waste through the intestines while also supporting the ‘friendly’ bacteria that live in the digestive tract. Fiber is also valuable in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes because it helps to slow the absorption of sugars (i.e., glucose) in the blood.
Manage healthy blood pressure. Yes, dogs can have high blood pressure, too! But strawberries are a great way to keep it down. The high potassium content of strawberries can help to negate the effects of sodium in the body. Even if your dog doesn’t have high blood pressure, he’ll still benefit from more potassium—it’s required for numerous daily functions in the body.
- Nutritional top up. As well as adding texture, color, and flavor to your dog’s diet, strawberries are a fun way to boost the nutritional content of a meal. They contain good amounts of vitamins B1, B6, and K, as well as the important nutrients iodine, magnesium, and folic acid. That’s enough to beat a commercial dog treat any day!
Can strawberries be bad for dogs?
Too much of any food isn’t good for dogs—the same way it’s not good for you. Strawberries contain quite a lot of fruit sugar (called fructose), which can be difficult for a dog’s digestive system in large amounts. Eating too many strawberries in one sitting can lead to an upset stomach, along with gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Remember, also, that excess sugar can result in unnecessary weight gain.
It’s best to keep strawberries in moderation, just as you’d eat them yourself. It’s also a good idea to ask your veterinarian about appropriate serving sizes for your particular dog. If you grow strawberries at home, monitor your dog’s access to the garden and make sure he can’t get in and eat them! Avoid using pesticides or herbicides on your fruit if you do feed them to your dog.
How to prepare strawberries for dogs
The best way to serve strawberries to your pooch is in limited amounts. After all, they should be a treat, not a meal. First, wash the strawberries thoroughly, then cut them up into small pieces. A whole strawberry can pose a choking hazard—especially if your dog is prone to inhaling his food rather than chewing it up! Small pieces will also be easier for him to digest. For smaller dogs, try mashing the strawberries up into a puree before adding them to your dog’s food.
You might also like to try freezing small pieces of strawberry and serving them to your doggo as a sweet summer treat—one that you can both share!
Learn more about foods that dogs can and can't eat