Can Dogs Eat Strawberries? - DogGear

Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

Thinking of giving your dog strawberries?

Go ahead! Strawberries are actually very good for dogs, just as they can be very beneficial for humans. That said, they aren’t quite as safe for dogs as they are for people, and thus there are a few caveats that you need to bear in mind. In this post, we’re going to explore what the benefits of strawberries are for dogs, what the risks are, and how you can help your dog to enjoy the best diet possible.

Are Strawberries Safe for Dogs?

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. Luckily, there are several diabetic dog foods that can help to ensure your dog’s health.

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.

Other Considerations

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, and give your dog only natural and unprepared strawberries.

The Health Benefits

With all those warnings and caveats out the way, it’s also important that we consider that there are many good benefits of eating strawberries.

In particular, strawberries are very high in antioxidants. For those not in the know, an antioxidant is a substance that combats the effects of free radicals. Free radicals meanwhile are agents in the body that roam around and impact with cells. There they can cause damage to the cell walls by reacting with them. This can cause damage that adds up over time and is eventually partly responsible for visible signs of aging!

More seriously though, free radicals can eventually penetrate all the way through the cells into the nuclei stored in the center. These house the DNA and when DNA gets damaged, it will become mutated.

Because cells reproduce via a process called mitosis, this means that they split and form exact copies of themselves. Each time they do this, they also reproduce any errors in the genetic code. Thus damage to the DNA will tend to spread and this is how we end up with cancers. And strawberries aren’t just good at this: they’re great. That’s because they are among the 20 best sources of antioxidants available.

For these reasons, consuming antioxidants regularly can be an effective way to avoid the development of cancer and therefore to actually extend the lifespan of your dog!

Strawberries also contain a lot more goodness, too. For instance, they are rich in potassium, which means that they can help to fight cramps and keep your dog’s muscles working well. They are also a good source of manganese and have been shown to regulate blood sugar (actually helping to prevent the onset of diabetes), as well as boosting eyesight, combating gout, helping to avoid arthritis, and even lowering blood pressure. Seeing as several of these are common problems in dogs, this is a very good reason to keep giving dogs strawberries if you do so safely!

One last point is that strawberries are very high in vitamin C, containing about 58.8mg per 100 grams. This is excellent news seeing as vitamin C has a whole host of benefits. Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system and combat against flue and cold. Vitamin C is also a great precursor to the feel-good hormone serotonin and so can act as a great way to improve your dog’s mood. On top of all that, vitamin C might actually also help them to sleep better at night by increasing melatonin – the sleep hormone.

Closing Thoughts and How to Prepare Strawberries for Dogs

The fact of the matter is that too many of us will rely on a single packaged food for our dogs. We think that it’s okay to buy one type of food from the store and to use this every single day to feed our dogs.

But while these products might advertise themselves as being complete meal replacements for dogs, the truth is that no single product can ever provide the full range of nutrients that a dog needs. The same is true for humans – you can’t get by on just one meal replacement shake with no need to eat other foods. No matter how well-designed that shake may be! If you could then you likely wouldn’t bother with eating a varied diet and spending so much time and money cooking and eating out!

The same goes for your dog and if you only give them one dog food brand, they will undoubtedly be missing out on the full spectrum of different nutrients and ingredients that they could be enjoying. And this will undoubtedly show itself in their health. You might not notice right away, but chances are that eventually your dog will start to have less energy. They might be more inclined to get broken bones or sprains. They might start to show mood troubles, or they might suffer from damaged or dry skin.

It’s important that you groom your dog, play with them, get them enough exercise… and that you ensure they are eating enough of a balanced diet.

One great way to do this is by giving them a little fruit. Strawberries are a great example and by mushing a few up and using them on top of their regular food, or by cutting them into very small bits and hiding them in their food bowl, you can help them to enjoy a healthier meal that will also be tastier and more interesting for them!

If you want to encourage your dog to enjoy more fruit and vegetables there are some other things you can do too. Other good examples of fruits that dogs can enjoy include apples, bananas, apricots, and blueberries. As with strawberries, you should keep these to a limit and not give your dog too many. At the same time, you can also give your dog some vegetables. Thanks to their lower amount of sugar, vegetables are generally even safer for your dog than fruits – though they do contain a lot of fiber, so you still need to go easy. Good vegetables for dogs include broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, and carrots. Celery is also good, as is the occasional bit of kale (but keep this to a minimum).

On top of all that, it’s also important to vary your dog’s food by giving them different brands or different flavors and recipes from within the same brand. Let them occasionally enjoy some human food, and always read the ingredients and think about how all the different things they eat interact together. That’s a recipe for one happy dog!


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