What is more associated with summer than a bowl of red, juicy and delicious strawberries? So small, but so packed with flavor, and snack adults and children love to munch on whenever they are in season.
Let’s not forget our furry family members, though, because while you’re eating away at those strawberries – your dog is probably looking up at you with those big and round eyes.
Is it okay to let a strawberry fall to the floor for your furry friend to have a taste? There are so many human foods that are great for dogs, and the food news is that strawberries are one of them!
Strawberries are small red berries (more on this below) that grow on plants, and it is known for its sweetness, juicy and easy-to-chew texture, and unmistakable aroma. It is a hybrid species belonging to the genus called Fragaria, and a berry known and enthusiastically consumed all over the world.
Artificial strawberry is also a popular fragrance and/or flavor for candy, body lotion, lip gloss, body splashes and more, but that – of course – should not be fed to your dog or left within their reach.
It was originally bred in the 1750s in the region Brittany in France, and what might come as a surprise to many is that it isn’t really a berry, but an aggregate accessory fruit! This changes little to nothing for the common strawberry lover, but it is an interesting fact that not all people know.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries are low in calories thanks to the elevated water content, which basically means that a strawberry consists mostly of water. They are also packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C – known to reduce the risk of infections and viral diseases – and fiber for improved digestion.
They can also help boost the immune system, and considering the immune system is the backbone of a dog’s health – it is something you should want for your pooch. A strong immune system means that the canine body is more likely to fight off bacterial- and viral infections and more, and what better way to build it up than by feeding fresh fruit?
Strawberries also make a great vegan treat for dogs that need to lose weight thanks to being low in calories, and they contain teeth-whitening enzymes (this is beneficial also for us humans) that could help restore the natural color of your dog’s discolored teeth. A big plus is that even picky eaters are likely to enjoy the flavor and texture of strawberries, so don’t be surprised if you give away one of your juicy treats – only to look down and see your dog begging for another one.
How Much is Too Much?
Common sense goes a long way when sharing a bowl of strawberries with your dog because it doesn’t matter how healthy and nutritious something is – too much is never a good thing. You don’t want to replace the dog’s normal meals with strawberries or other treats, so think of it as something extra, and not as part of their regular diet.
There is no harm in slipping your dog a strawberry or two per day, but you probably shouldn’t give them the whole package (unless you are ready for some digestive backlash). Strawberry overdoses are not known to cause any serious issues, other than possible loose stools and diarrhea, but you should still try to regulate the dog’s strawberry intake in accordance with their size and weight.
Best Way to Introduce Strawberries to Your Dog
Handing over a whole strawberry might not be appealing to all dogs, and you might find that they’ll simply sniff it and walk away – especially if your dog has never tried a strawberry before. If you find this to be the case, try slicing it up in smaller pieces as it will bring out the scent.
In the unlikely event of your dog still not being convinced, and if you want him or her to try it, you can always dip a corner in peanut butter, as that will be truly hard to resist. Every dog is different, and it might require different approaches to get your pup to try something new, but you know your dog, so see if you can figure out a way to inspire your pup to want to try a treat they will benefit greatly from.
Strawberries can also be added as a food topping if your dog is already a fan, and it could be a great way to motivate them to finish their meal if they tend to be a little fussy.
Fresh Strawberries Vs. Canned Strawberries
While fresh strawberries offer many nutritional benefits for dogs – canned strawberries or strawberries in syrup is a terrible idea. These contain too much sugar to be anywhere near healthy for our pets, and it is not the same as feeding fresh strawberries. One canned strawberry is unlikely to cause any harm, but they should not be given to pets regularly.
Look for strawberries at local markets if you have one close by, as it is always a nice gesture to support local farmers, or shop at your local grocery store or supermarket if not.
Always Wash Fruit & Berries
One thing that is easy to forget is to wash any fruit, vegetables or berries before giving them to your dog, and this includes strawberries. It isn’t just us humans that can get sick from unwashed produce (E. coli being one known health problem), so take the strawberries and rinse them carefully before eating them yourself, and/or giving them to your furry little friend. You can either buy a product made for washing fruit and vegetables or rinse the strawberries thoroughly with water.
Strawberries do not propose a threat to your dog, and it is completely fine to let them have a bite or two whenever you are treating yourself to these natural delights. Use it as a reward and apply the 90/10 principle; where 90% of the total food intake during a day should be your dog’s regular kibble or wet food, and the other 10% should be treated. So, head down to the store, buy some strawberries and introduce them to your dogs – we bet they’ll love it!