We know that those delicious strawberries are good for us humans, but can dogs have strawberries? Are strawberries good for dogs? The short answer is yes! High in fibre and also a good source of vitamins, strawberries make a safe and healthy snack for our pooches.
Strawberries: a brief history
The earliest references to strawberries appear in ancient Roman literature. In the 14th century, French farmers began creating the first strawberry gardens. Strawberry cultivation then became popular through the rest of Europe before spreading to South America via Spanish explorers. The famous British dessert of strawberries and cream was created in 1578 by Thomas Wolsey, an English statesman and confidant of Henry VIII. It remains a popular treat for many British people and visiting tourists. Spectators at Wimbledon tennis championship consume roughly 27,000 kilos of strawberries with 7,000 litres of cream in just under two weeks!
Can dogs eat strawberries?
Yes, they can. In fact, strawberries are really good for your dog's health, and provided they are fed in moderation, they can be a vital part of your pet's diet! They contain fibre, which is good for digestion, and Omega-3, which is good for skin and coat health. These little nutritional powerhouses are also packed with folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins (C, B1, B6, and K, to be exact). Strawberries also contain high levels of an antioxidant called polyphenols. These micronutrients combat a range of life-threatening diseases like high cholesterol, obesity, and heart disease. They also help reduce inflammation, which is linked to many serious health issues. Other health benefits include:
- Stronger immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Helps combat arthritis and joint problems
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Better eyesight
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Helps maintain healthy teeth
Can all dogs have strawberries?
Too much of anything is never good for a dog. Strawberries are full of goodness, but they also contain naturally occurring sugars. Too many strawberries are likely to give your dog an upset stomach. Feeding your dog a small handful of strawberries a few times a week will help keep them healthy without disrupting their doggy digestive systems. If you're lucky enough to have a strawberry garden, limit your dog's access (especially if you use pesticides or herbicides)! These natural scavengers have little impulse control!
Avoid canned and processed strawberries. These are really high in processed sugars. The same goes for strawberry sweets and other artificial strawberry flavourings. They're full of excess sugar, syrup, preservatives, sometimes even xylitol, all of which can be toxic to dogs. Your dog isn't used to digesting this kind of stuff. If they eat too much, they'll probably need a trip to the vet.
My dog is diabetic. Can he/she still eat strawberries?
Speak to your vet about this one. They’ll give you an idea of how many strawberries your dog can eat, and how often. Much will depend on the size of the dog and other health factors.
Are some dogs allergic to strawberries?
Like their humans, dogs can be allergic to pretty much anything. If your pooch has never eaten a strawberry before, start slow. Feed them one or two, then wait 10-15 minutes. If you notice any swelling, or if your dog starts coughing or sneezing, then they could be having an allergic reaction. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Preparing the strawberries for your dog
Strawberries are small and soft, meaning they're not really a choking hazard. Still, it's a good idea to cut them into small pieces or mash them up. This makes them even easier to eat. You can put a few in your dog's bowl, mix them in with their food, or dish them out as a healthy treat to reward good behaviour. During the summer, when it's particularly hot, you can pop strawberries into the freezer and feed the resulting frozen strawberries to your dog as a refreshing treat. You could even mix them with some yogurt and make it into a doggy fro-yo! Whatever you do, opt for fresh, organic strawberries that haven't been treated with preservatives or pesticides. And always give them a quick wash before serving.
What other types of fruit can my dog eat?
Strawberries aren't the only fresh fruit suitable for dogs. They can also eat:
Like strawberries, these are full of vitamins and minerals that contribute to your dog’s overall wellbeing. Just go easy on the portions, especially to begin with, and always consult a vet if your dog has any health or dietary concerns.
Fruits and vegetables your dog should avoid include:
- Grapes, raisins, and currants
- Juniper berries
- Onions, garlic, and chives
- Peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries
- Tomato plants
At the very least, these foods will give your dog an upset stomach. But they can also lead to serious health complications, and may even be fatal.
Strawberries are packed with good stuff, and the right amount is really good for your dog. Just remember to control the portion sizes and always consult a vet if your pet is diabetic or has any other health concerns.