Food and man’s best friend
Most fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs, in moderation. And giving your dog a little diversity in his diet by giving him fruit or vegetables every now and then can provide nutritional benefits.
But some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables may not be good for dogs. What about strawberries?
This fruit packs a big flavor punch into a small bite. It is also rich in several vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants, or compounds that help prevent damage to cells.
But some strawberry flavored products contain ingredients that can cause problems for dogs, such as dairy products and added sugars or sweeteners.
Here’s what the experts want you to know about feeding strawberries to dogs, including if it’s safe and if there are any good reasons to start feeding your furry friend this fruit.
Why are some foods poisonous or unsafe for dogs?
Some foods contain compounds that dogs cannot break down properly, which can cause digestive symptoms. Other foods contain toxins or substances that can damage healthy cells.
In some cases, a food can be unsafe because a dog could choke on parts of it or the food could cause damage to parts of the throat or digestive tract.
Depending on the food, the amount a dog eats can also affect the potential damage. (We’ll get to that.)
Can dogs eat strawberries?
Strawberries are not toxic to dogs. So, in general, dogs can eat strawberries bought in stores, markets, or wild-picked.
But according to the experts, it’s best to feed dogs only raw strawberries — not strawberry-flavored foods.
The raw fruit contains no added sugar, fat and other ingredients that a dog may not be able to digest or tolerate well. The same cannot be said for strawberry flavored products.
It is also important to remember that fruit contains fructose or fruit sugars. Strawberries, in particular, are quite high in fruit sugars, which means they also have more calories than some other less sweet fruits.
How much should a dog eat?
According to the experts, it is safest to give puppies fruits such as strawberries in small amounts as dog treats.
It is also important to consider the size of the dog when determining how much of a treat to give to dogs. Large dogs can usually have larger portions, while smaller dogs eat smaller portions.
“The most important thing is that your pet should get most of its nutrition from its regular diet,” says Tina Wismer, DVM, the senior director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center.
“Snacks shouldn’t make up more than 5 percent of their daily calorie intake, so keep portion sizes small,” she says.
Carol Yepes/Getty Images
Are strawberries good for dogs?
Strawberries may be small, but they pack many health benefits for both humans and puppies. Some of the most abundant vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients in strawberries include:
Vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system. It may also contribute to the production of collagen-binding fibers that support the skin and aid in wound healing. And that’s not all: the vitamin also helps your body absorb iron from plant foods.
Fiber helps you feel full for longer because it takes longer to digest. And as it digests, soluble (digestible) fiber forms a gel-like substance that helps fill the digestive tract, helping you feel fuller for longer after eating.
That makes fiber ideal for puppies who need to lose weight – they don’t need to eat as many calories to feel and stay full.
Fiber also helps control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
This mineral is used in almost every bodily process. Potassium is important for healthy heart and kidney function, nerve cell communication and muscle contraction.
The body uses folic acid to make genetic material such as DNA. But it also needs folic acid (vitamin B6) for cells to grow and divide properly.
Strawberries contain several antioxidants, including tannins, anthocyanins, flavonols, phenolic acids and ascorbic acid. Antioxidants help prevent cells in the body from being damaged by free radicals, molecules that are a byproduct of the body that converts food into energy.
Exposure to free radicals also occurs in the environment, such as from air pollution, smoke or the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Eating antioxidants and fresh fruits regularly can slow the aging process and improve immune system health. Antioxidants can also help reduce inflammation and the risk of developing diseases such as cancer.
Strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid that can help whiten a dog’s teeth. Malic acid also increases saliva production, which can help prevent dry mouth and reduce the risk of oral cancer.
Other Benefits of Feeding Strawberries to Dogs
Vet Barbara Hodges, DVM, the director of advocacy and outreach for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, says she finds it tragic that some pets eat the same foods day in and day out.
“Some customers say their dogs won’t eat well,” she says. “The first thing I ask is, but will they eat treats? What about your food?”
If the answer is yes, the dog is probably just sick from the same food.
“We’re all looking for something new,” she says. “And variety really is the spice of life.”
dr. Hodges recommends switching food in and out of a dog’s diet every few weeks to give dogs a more varied diet. It can also make dogs look forward to or enjoy their meals or treats more.
Can Dogs Eat Strawberry Leaves?
Technically, the leaves, stems and other plant parts of strawberries are not poisonous to dogs, but they can cause other problems.
“Dogs shouldn’t eat any plant parts other than the berries — leaves, stems, it’s just not necessary,” says Dr. Hodges. “They are virtually indigestible. Stems and other hard or sharp parts can also increase the GI. to damage [gastrointestinal] tract.”
Can dogs eat strawberry ice cream?
The experts say ice cream and dogs don’t mix. Like many people, dogs are generally lactose intolerant to some degree. This means they have trouble digesting lactose, a type of sugar found in milk products.
Why are dogs lactose intolerant?
Puppies produce higher levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in the body.
Dogs produce much less lactase after weaning from breast milk. So most adult dogs will experience some mild, temporary digestive problems after eating ice cream, such as diarrhea, vomiting, gas and stomach pain.
Some dogs may also be allergic to proteins in milk or other ingredients that the ice cream has been exposed to during processing.
Other reasons not to give dogs ice cream
Ice cream is high in sugar and fat, especially saturated fats. This can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which increases the risk of diabetes.
Feeding dog food too much fat or sugar can lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) that could land your pet in the hospital, Dr. Wismer says.
Ice Cream Alternatives
While ice cream may not be the best treat for dogs, experts say frozen, sliced strawberries can make an excellent, refreshing snack.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) also recommends giving dog ice cream alternatives as a treat. Try “nice cream”, a mixed frozen ripe banana.
Some dog-friendly ice creams are also available at specialty stores, dog cafes, online, and even in some grocery stores.
Can Dogs Eat Strawberry Yogurt?
dr. Hodges says yogurt is a healthy option for dogs that can tolerate it. Yogurt is easier for dogs and humans to digest because the fermentation process contains bacteria that break down some of the product’s lactose. These bacteria, called probiotics, can also help improve digestion.
But always stick to yogurt with live cultures, she adds. Flavored yogurt usually has a lot of sugar and potentially harmful artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol.
Strawberry flavored foods to avoid
According to the experts, when it comes to feeding strawberries to dogs, stick to the raw fruit – fresh or frozen.
“Don’t feed fruit that has been sugared or packed in syrup, as this will add even more sugar and calories and negate the purpose of feeding a ‘healthy’ treat,” says Jerry Klein, DVM, chief veterinary officer of the American Kennel Club. .
“More importantly, some canned or sweetened berries contain artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, which is toxic to dogs,” he says.
dr. Hodges adds that you should avoid preserved, dried, or other types of processed berries because it’s unclear exactly how they’re made and what they contain or what they’ve been exposed to.
Fruit juices also contain more calories and sugar than regular fruit, without the nutritional benefits.
Tips for Safely Feeding Dogs Strawberries
“Berries should be fed the way they are to humans: washed to wash off any dirt or chemicals and cut appropriately for the dog’s size to avoid any potential choking hazard,” says Dr. Small.
Very small dogs may require their strawberries to be mashed or mashed. Remove any stems or inedible parts from the strawberry before feeding strawberries to a dog.
The experts say dogs should be introduced to strawberries gradually to ensure they don’t get any negative reactions.
“Always start a new food for your dog slowly for a few days to see if your dog has any gastrointestinal problems or allergic reactions afterward, such as intense scratching or itching,” says Dr. Small.
Food unsafe for dogs
Unfortunately, dogs can’t eat everything humans eat, just as humans can’t safely eat everything dogs do.
Here is a list of foods that are unsafe for dogs, based on expert advice and the recommendations of authoritative animal organizations:
- grapes and raisins
- onions and leeks
- cooking oil or butter
- most spices and salt
- macadamia nuts, walnuts and almonds
- yeast dough
- plant and fruit seeds, pips, cores, husks, leaves and stems
Then see why it feels so good to look into your dog’s eyes.