Can Dogs Have Strawberries?
Though we can use all sorts of fruit to satisfy our sweet tooth in a healthy, diet-friendly, guilt-free way, few fruits feel as decadent as the noble strawberry. While bananas make us think of monkeys and apples conjure up images of sticky-fingered preschoolers learning the alphabet, strawberries call to mind pure luxury: desserts cloaked in chocolate, romantic candlelit dinners, and festive, fruit-heavy summer brunches. Yet, unlike many of the traditional ‘classy’ foods (think caviar or lobster), strawberries are easy on the stomach, easy on the taste buds, and likely to please the little kids at the table. Strawberries, though decadent and sophisticated, are a joy to all.
Seeing as many of us consider our dogs to be our children, a good rule of thumb in determining a food’s puppy palatability is this: would a Kindergartner eat it? With a few exceptions, applying this rule usually leads to a happy dog. So, does this apply to strawberries? Can you give your dog strawberries?
The answer: yes, dogs can eat strawberries! Since most dogs share our voracious appetite for all things sweet, they tend to love eating many of our favorite fruits, including strawberries. These berries are completely nontoxic, delicious and easy to prepare. But, perhaps best of all, they also offer a multitude of health benefits for your pup—assuming you remember to practice moderation, of course.
Health Benefits of Feeding Your Dog Strawberries
Berries are considered to be among the healthiest of all fruits, and strawberries are no exception. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fiber, and plenty of beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Strawberries’ high levels of antioxidants are perhaps the biggest health benefit your dog can reap from eating small, regular servings of berries. When compared to other fruits on the market today, these tiny red morsels rank number four in terms of antioxidants. Antioxidants often serve other purposes in the body (for example, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which play key roles in full-body health, all double as antioxidants), but in the cancer-fighting and disease-preventing department, they go above and beyond. Antioxidants flowing through the bloodstream destroy the dangerous free radicals that can cause devastating cell damage. Left to their own devices, free radicals can wreak havoc with the body, causing mutations that can lead to cancer and other illnesses. More antioxidants means fewer free radicals, which means fewer potential cancer cells!
It probably does not come as a surprise to hear that strawberries have pretty powerful anti-inflammatory properties, too. The phytochemicals found in strawberries have been shown to decrease the levels of key inflammatory markers in the blood—even in those struggling with chronic inflammation. Decreased inflammation is most linked to a decrease in pain, such as muscle aches, headaches, or joint pain. Anti-inflammatory foods like strawberries are also noteworthy for their effects on chronic inflammatory illnesses like arthritis. There is some research suggesting that eating these foods can not only reduce pain, but improve mobility, too. While your dog probably should not eat massive quantities of these berries, they can still receive some of the anti-inflammatory benefits with smaller portion sizes.
Like most fruits, berries are great for your dog’s immune system and full-body health. In addition to their cancer-fighting antioxidant superpowers, they have Vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. Vitamin C is known for its effect on the immune system—and, while most dogs do not need dietary Vitamin C, those who are old, sick, or stressed may benefit from supplementing their diet with it.
Magnesium and potassium, which are both electrolytes, help regulate the fluid levels throughout the body. Potassium in particular is noted for its powerful effect on heart and nerve health; though it cannot counter the devastating effects of a high-salt diet, it certainly acts as a buffer. Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and preventing heart disease.
Things to Keep in Mind
Though the health benefits of strawberries are numerous, it is still important to limit the amount of fruit your dog eats on a regular basis. Dogs are omnivores, but many of them are not accustomed to eating high-water, high-fiber foods in the quantities that we do. If your dog is not used to eating fruit, start off with a couple of berries at a time to help ease their digestion into it. Eating too much fruit can result in upset stomach and diarrhea, which will certainly negate any potential health benefits!
Some other fruits that are OK to share with your dog include:
Overall, strawberries are an excellent treat choice for your canine companion—they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that can help boost your dog’s immune system, reduce the symptoms of existing illness, and lower their risk of developing chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes. Just remember to practice moderation. While binge eating a bunch of strawberries probably will not result in any devastating health problems, it can upset their digestion. And remember: skip the chocolate!
Dog Eating a Strawberry Video: