Are Strawberries Safe for Your Dog?
Strawberries practically scream “summer” with their light flavor and rich color. They’re the perfect combination of sweet and sour, and it’s this duo that leads to an annual binge on these red treasures. Whether you pick them straight from the garden during a hot evening or scatter them over fluffy angel food cake for a delicate dessert, there’s no wrong way to eat a strawberry. If your dog has a tendency of sharing your food with you, you should take a few precautions before you let them munch on strawberries.Are Strawberries Safe for Dogs?Strawberries are fine for dogs to eat as long as you don’t let them sit and eat a huge helping in one sitting.
Strawberries are notoriously rich in vitamin C, which is best known for the effects it has on the immune system. While dogs aren’t susceptible to things like colds or the flu, and they’re vaccinated for the most serious of diseases, vitamin C is still important for well-balanced nutrition. When dogs are stressed out, they can deplete their stores of vitamin C. This can occur from a new addition to the family, a move to a new house, or a change in their schedule. A study in 1942 showed that dogs with chronic skin conditions have low levels of vitamin C. Heavy exercise has also shown to rapidly decrease vitamin C levels, especially in hunting and sled dogs. If your dog has been stressed or working especially hard and you notice a change in their health or behavior, you should consider talking to your vet about vitamin C depletion.
Strawberries are also packed with powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol. These antioxidants are shown to reduce the risks of developing certain kinds of cancer, as well as fighting off arthritis and inflammation. The potassium found in strawberries is good for dogs with kidney problems or even kidney failure because they’re often deficient in potassium. Of course, if your dog has kidney problems, you should always work with your vet to organize a diet most suitable for your dog. Fiber is great for your dog’s digestion, creating regular bowel movements and helping the body absorb nutrients more effectively. Fiber is also important for dogs on a diet. If they don’t get enough fiber, your newly-dieting dog will feel like they’re starving all the time and take to rooting through the trash or stealing food from your kids.
Taking Precautions When Feeding Strawberries to Dogs
Strawberries may be dense with nutrients and vitamins, but they’re also pretty heavy with sugar. While the sugar is natural, that doesn’t mean it’s good for your dog. Dogs can’t handle sugar as well as humans do, so excessive sugar leads to vomiting, diarrhea, and most definitely weight gain. You’ll need to take all of the fruit’s fiber into consideration, as well. If there’s an abundance of fiber in your dog’s diet, it’s going to jump-start their digestive system and cause loose stool or diarrhea.
There’s also a concern if your dog is eating strawberries on a daily basis. Strawberries contain something called goitrogens. Goitrogens are naturally occurring chemicals found in many foods, including berries. They have the ability to interfere with the function of the thyroid, suppressing its function and limiting its ability to produce its hormones. If the thyroid is functioning normally, it would take a lot of strawberries to create a problem, but it’s not uncommon for dogs to have an underperforming thyroid (hypothyroidism). Dogs with hypothyroidism should definitely not be eating strawberries because the thyroid will try to compensate and wind up developing a goiter, which is a swelling or inflammation of the thyroid gland.
If you have a very successful strawberry garden, try to keep your dog away from the plants if they have developed a taste for the berries. This is also important if you’ve been battling pests and spraying your plants with pesticides. The chemicals found in the sprays are not safe for your dog, and the berries certainly aren’t being washed off before they get eaten.
Your dog is a carnivore, and if they’re eating a high quality dog food, they don’t need anything additional in their diet unless they have a medical condition requiring supplementation. Strawberries are fine in moderation, so just take care not to overdo how much you’re feeding them. Strawberries should be considered a snack and not a main part of their overall diet. Moderation will ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from any side effects. If you ever have any questions about the safety of a food, you should always talk to your veterinarian first.