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You’ve just come home from work to the surprising discovery that your dog has helped himself to strawberries that you left lying around on the dinner table. The animal seems alright. But as a concerned pet parent, you can’t help but wonder if strawberries are okay for dogs or if you should expect some side effects. And like any dog owner in your situation, the one question that’s boggling your mind right now is – can dogs eat strawberries?
The short answer is yes, dogs can eat strawberries. Strawberries commonly feature among the numerous fruits that dogs can safely consume. The fruit (which is technically not a berry) is jam-packed with essential nutrients which your pooch might find useful. Examples include dietary fiber, manganese, folate, potassium, and antioxidants like vitamin C.
But as you might expect, there are several precautions to take while feeding strawberries (or any fruit for that matter) to dogs. This article sheds more light on that.
More About Strawberries
Strawberries are bright-red, juicy, and sweet fruits that grow on a tree of the same name.
The strawberry tree, botanically known as Fragaria ananassa, traces its origin in Europe. The tree has been cultivated on a large scale and for commercial purposes since at least the 18th century.
Strawberries are rich in useful minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. That explains why a plant once native to Europe can now be found on farms and plantations worldwide.
Nutrients Commonly Found In Strawberries
The most predominant nutrients in raw strawberries are water at 91%, carbohydrates at 8%, and protein at 1%. The fruits also contain negligible amounts of fats, calories, plus a host of vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C is the most abundant vitamin in strawberries. A 100-gram serving of raw strawberries provides 71% of the recommended daily value (RDV) of this important vitamin. In terms of mineral composition, manganese is the most abundant mineral in strawberries. A similar serving amount provides 15% of the recommended daily value of manganese. Although the RDV percentages are based on the human consumption of strawberries, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to state that strawberries may equally supplement your dog’s requirement of these vital minerals and vitamins.
Folate, potassium, and antioxidants are other notable beneficial compounds in strawberries. The fruits also contain lesser concentrations of vitamins B6, E, and K, as well as copper, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
Health Benefits of Strawberries for Dogs
1. Strawberries May Hydrate Your Dog
Strawberry is a juicy fruit with over 90% water concentration. Being such a moisture-dense fruit, strawberries can go a long way in hydrating your pooch. The fruit would be particularly useful during warmer weather or if your dog happens to be a fussy drinker.
2. Strawberries May Relieve Constipation in Dogs
Constipation in dogs usually results from consuming fiber- and moisture-deficient foods. Fortunately, strawberries are loaded with both nutrients.
Fiber relieves constipation by bulking up your dog’s stool whereas water provides stool-softening effects. This results in more frequent and less painful bowel movements.
3. Strawberries May Aid Weight Loss
Like humans, dogs suffer from weight-related health issues like obesity. Supplementing your dog’s diet with strawberries may go a long way in keeping the animal’s weight in check.
The weight loss benefits of strawberries are mainly attributed to the high concentration of fiber, water, and protein in these fruits. The three nutrients mainly help to manage your dog’s weight by stimulating the feelings of fullness for longer.
4. Strawberries May Support Your Dog’s Bone Health
As we’ve just indicated, manganese is the most abundant mineral in strawberries. The mineral plays an important role in the formation of bones and connective tissues. It’s also involved in the formation of sex hormones and blood clotting factors, as well as calcium absorption, carbohydrate metabolism, and blood sugar regulation.
5. Strawberries May Support Your Dog’s Heart Health
Strawberries abound in potassium, a mineral that regulates heartbeat while also maintaining blood pressure. Regular potassium intake is associated with a healthy heart.
6. Strawberries May Boost Your Dog’s Overall Immunity
Strawberries boast numerous antioxidants, including vitamin C and polyphenols like flavonoids, flavanols, flavonols, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids.
These compounds can play a vital role in boosting your dog’s immunity. Vitamin C is especially useful in skin rejuvenation, thanks mainly to its ability to reduce markers of premature aging as well as the risks of anti-inflammatory diseases like skin cancer.
Potential Risks of Strawberries for Dogs
Strawberries are associated with allergic reactions. Depending on the amounts consumed, your dog could develop gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. You may also expect respiratory problems like labored breathing, skin issues like hives, and oral allergy symptoms like hypersalivation.
Blood sugar spikes are another inherent risk of strawberries for dogs. A 100-gram serving of fresh strawberries contains as many as 4.9 grams of sugar. Although these are mainly simple sugars, the amount is still considerably high when you consider that dogs do not require sugar in their diets.
Other potential risks of strawberries for dogs depend on how the fruit is prepared. Remember that strawberries can be consumed raw and fresh or used to flavor foods like jellies, jams, pies, juices, ice creams, and desserts. You cannot always vouch for the safety of the other ingredients in these foods.
Strawberries are often ranked alongside apples, blueberries, raspberries, and watermelons as some of the fruits that dogs can safely eat. However, these fruits are only safe if served to dogs in moderation.
If your dog is new to strawberries, begin by serving him portions as small as a quarter of the fruit. It would also be great to consult your veterinarian before integrating strawberries into your dog’s diet.