The most important question to ask when considering giving your dog any “human food” is whether or not that food is going to be safe for your dog. Some fruits and vegetables simply aren’t safe for dogs because they contain traces of cyanide (really!), or because they are too high in sugar and therefore likely to cause issues like weight gain and diabetes.
Chances are that if you’re thinking of giving your dog fruit, it’s because you want to improve their health. The last thing you want to do is to inadvertently make it worse! That’s why you should continue reading this article, where we’ll be discussing in depth how to do this correctly.
As to whether strawberries are safe for dogs, the good answer is yes: they can enjoy strawberries for the most part, as long as it is in moderation.
To give your dog strawberries, the secret is simply to keep it to a small amount. Give your dog the occasional few strawberries with their dinner as a treat and don’t make it a staple of their diet.
The Risks of Strawberries
With that said, this is not an unequivocal yes and you shouldn’t let your dog go mad and raid the fridge for strawberries whenever they like!
The reason for this is that while strawberries contain a great many nutrients that are very good for dogs, they are also very high in sugar for dogs.
Dogs aren’t designed to eat as much sugar as humans. Dogs wouldn’t naturally have eaten many fruits or vegetables in the wild as wolves, and doing so can cause them to gain wait – or experience more serious issues.
Not only that, but dogs are much smaller than humans. Even a big dog is much smaller than a small human! Therefore, what might seem like a very small strawberry to you, is actually a rather large hit of sugar for Fido!
And when a dog consumes too much sugar, it can end up saturating their blood too readily. This then can cause nerve damage, inflammation, and a host of other issues. These are issues that are also present in humans, but because we’re a lot bigger and we’re designed to cope with sugar, we can handle it better.
If you give your dog too much sugar in one go, this can even be fatal!
While that’s unlikely to happen with strawberries, giving them too many strawberries too regularly can present issues of its own. For instance, it means that their blood sugar will keep spiking and dipping. This means they will keep spiking their insulin levels too. Insulin is produced in response to high sugar, and that is what the body uses to absorb that sugar and then use it for a whole host of different processes throughout the body.
When you keep repeating this process, the body will eventually adapt and stop producing insulin in response to high sugar. As you might imagine, this can be a serious problem. In fact, it can eventually cause the body to become unable to utilize sugar at all, which is a condition we know as diabetes. Diabetes then causes the sugar to build up to even higher extents in the blood, causing nerve damage and host of other issues. Dogs with diabetes may lose their vision or even require the amputation of a limb – this is no fun for Fido!
If you think this sounds far-fetched, know that diabetes is actually a common issue for dogs and something that you very much need to avoid.
So yes, giving your dog a few strawberries every now and then is fine, but if you give them a whole tub, then you could be in for trouble.
Something to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter where the sugar comes from: sugar is sugar.
What we mean by this is that just because you’re not giving your dog too many strawberries, that doesn’t mean that they might not still be overdosing.
The other big risk here is that you could accidentally give your dog too many fruits in general. If you read the advice that you need to keep your dog’s diet of strawberries to a limit, then you might only give them the occasional strawberry one or two days a week. Great! But if you do the same thing with apples, pears, or nectarines… then there could be a problem.
The same is also true if your dog’s diet contains too many other sugars. Maybe the food you’re buying in store is also high in sugar? You need to think about your dog’s diet in a holistic manner and consider how all the different ingredients interplay – it is not enough to consider them entirely on their own.
Keep fruit to a minimum as a rare treat where you give your dog one or two bits twice a week.
Another important thing to consider is that canned strawberries or otherwise pre-prepared strawberries are not a good idea for dogs. These often contain syrup, added sugars, preservatives, food coloring, or a host of other additives that just aren’t good for dogs. Make sure you don’t let this be a problem by giving your dog only natural and unprepared strawberries.