by Savannah Welna,Dogly Nutrition Advocate & Canine Nutritionist
Strawberries are a sweet,low-calorie summer fruit that can be safely enjoyed by dogs. Like many other fruits, strawberries have ahigh sugar content relative to other treat options, and so moderation is key when sharing asdog treats. There are plenty ofhealth benefits that strawberries provide and incorporating them into yourdog’s diet as anoccasional treat is easy!
AreStrawberries Good for Dogs
Strawberries are not poisonous to dogs. However, it is recommended to remove the tops (greens) and to prepare in sizes that are appropriate for yourpooch. While strawberries are naturally in a safe size for most dogs, cutting them up intosmall pieces may be required forsmaller dogs who are gulpers as a whole strawberry may be achoking hazard. With any newhuman foods, start insmall quantities. Each dog is different and each dog may react adversely - even if the food is considered “safe.” Dogs can technically have anallergic reaction to anynew food.
Strawberries containnatural sugar just likeraspberries,cranberries,blackberries, and blueberries. While there are many benefits, the key is to not make fruits the star of the show at every meal time. Some dogs may be more sensitive to fiber than others. If you feel your dog has a sensitivedigestive system, start small to avoid the risk of anupset stomach.
What Are TheHealth Benefits of Strawberries for Dogs
Strawberries contain essential nutrients such asmagnesium,potassium, and B vitamins. They also contain the non-essential nutrient known asVitamin C. While not essential,vitamin C is still beneficial because not every dog can synthesizevitamin C to optimal levels at every life stage (especially as they age!).Vitamin C is known for its role in a functioningimmune system, but it is also important for recycling essential nutrients (vitamin E) and preventing some joint conditions.Potassium and the high-moisture content of strawberries makes strawberries alow-calorie, hydratingsuperfood snack.
Strawberries are also unique because of theirmanganese content.Manganese is a mineral that is important for the function of the body’santioxidant defense system and is also critical for healthy joints.Manganese can be difficult to find in food. While commercial diets should contain sufficient levels ofmanganese, strawberries provide additionalmanganese at safe levels. This extra boost may be beneficial as the current nutrient guidelines formanganese is not solid or complete.
While providing an extra boost of essential nutrients is great, strawberries stand out because of the non-essential phytonutrients they provide. These provideantioxidants which are not found in most commercial dog foods. They are also anti-inflammatory in nature.
Strawberries contain lignans, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins. To take advantage of the phytonutrients, choose ripe strawberries - not too early and not too late. Because strawberries are particularly rich in polyphenolicantioxidants, there is growing research in regard to humans and thebenefits of strawberries on cardiovascular health.
How toFeed Strawberries as aHealthy Snack to Dogs
Stick to fresh whole strawberries - frozen is okay, too, for yourdoggy! Processed strawberries can be mixed with syrups. These can be loaded with sugars or evenxylitol (sometimes found inpeanut butter) - asweetener that is not safe for dogs.
While surrounded by controversy, it is recommended that strawberries be purchased as an organic produce because strawberries may contain higher amounts ofpesticide residues when purchased conventionally.
If you are unsure of how much to feed, start by feeding a half gram per pound of body weight. For example, a 56-pound dog would get one ounce of strawberries - about 2-3 medium strawberries maximum to start. You can feed them whole or cut them up if your dog is smaller. You can also blend them and make a pup smoothie for asweet treat!
Consider rotating strawberries with other dog-safe fruits -watermelon, banana, blueberries, orraspberries! When you feed a variety of these fresh fruit additions, you are exposing yourbest friend to all the differentantioxidants and fibers that they may not be getting from their commercial food.
For more nutrition advice, joinmy Community on Dogly where you can ask questions and get 24/7 access to me and other certified experts across nutrition, training & behavior, and wellness so we can all worry less and know we’re setting up our dogs to live long and well.
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