Fresh berries are one of the best things about the summer. But are strawberries bad for dogs? The problem is that strawberries are not just a summer specialty anymore. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of feeding strawberries to your dog.
Benefits Of Strawberries For Dogs
Most dogs will eat and like the taste of berries. There are also nutritional benefits of feeding strawberries as an occasional snack. The benefits of giving your dog strawberry include:
Berries contain polyphenols, which are beneficial for the good bacteria in your dog’s colon. The bacteria digest polyphenols and make short-chain fatty acids that boost your dog’s health. Polyphenols also help protect your dog from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
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Antioxidants help slow the aging process in your dog. The body naturally produces free radicals, which are damaged cells that can harm other cells and even your dog’s DNA. Antioxidants can help control free radicals in your dog and are an important part of his diet.
Berries are rich in quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. This means it is a good natural remedy for allergies. It can reduce the production of histamines, soothe inflammation, and reduce itchiness.
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Vitamins And Minerals
Strawberries are loaded with Vitamin C, which is crucial for your dog’s immunity and good for her skin and coat. They also contain folate, a B vitamin that is important for normal growth and cell function.
Besides vitamins, strawberries also offer minerals such as potassium and manganese. Plus, they provide dietary fiber and enzymes that help keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Despite the nutrients found in strawberries, there are a few reasons to be cautious when feeding your dog strawberries.
4 Reasons Strawberries May Be Bad for Dogs
Here are some reasons to limit the amount of strawberries you give your dog.
1. Non-Organic Strawberries Are Full Of Pesticides
The popularity of strawberries has created pressure to produce them year-round. Growing strawberries in seasons they are not meant to be grown in involves the use of a huge number of pesticides and fertilizers.
Strawberries topped the 2021 Dirty Dozen list put out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce that’s most contaminated by pesticides.
Several pesticides have been linked to health issues. Tests of strawberries in the U.S. showed that they contained nearly eight different pesticides per sample … much higher than most other types of produce that had only two types of pesticides per sample.
Many pesticides are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, neurological problems, and more. Allowable levels of pesticides are based on adult humans. Because our dogs are smaller than us they’re more vulnerable to the health effects of pesticides.
2. Farmers Use Poisonous Gases To Sterilize The Fields Before Planting
According to the USDA, strawberries are the type of fresh produce most likely to be contaminated even after washing. Fumigants endanger the health of animals and farmworkers in the areas where they are used, which is an ethical issue.
3. Strawberries Contain Sugar
Strawberries contain 8-12 milligrams of sugar per cup. Canned or preserved strawberries are even sweeter than fresh ones, so definitely avoid those. This means you should not feed too many at once and should avoid giving your dog strawberries if she’s diabetic or overweight.
4. Strawberries May Cause An Allergic Reaction In Some Dogs
As with any new food you’re introducing to your dog, start with a very small amount to make sure your dog doesn’t have a bad reaction. If you give your dog strawberries and notice diarrhea, vomiting, or general discomfort, you should avoid giving your dog strawberries again.
Now that you know some reasons to be wary of feeding your dog strawberries, here are a few things to keep in mind if you do decide to let your dog have some.
- Make sure you give raw, fresh, or frozen organic strawberries with no additives.
- Make sure the strawberries are ripe.
- Wash them thoroughly to remove contaminants.
- Make sure your dog doesn’t have an allergy – feed a small piece first and pay attention.
- Don’t feed fruit to dogs with diabetes.
What Is the Healthiest Fruit for Dogs?
You’ve seen why berries can be a good source of nutrients. Other fruits that are great to give dogs include apples, bananas, cantaloupe, cucumbers, pears, pineapple, ripe tomatoes, and watermelon.
What Other Fruits Are Bad for Dogs?
Now that you know about the benefits and downsides of strawberries, you might be wondering what other fruits are bad for dogs.
Other fruits that are on the Dirty Dozen list (fruits with the highest contamination with pesticides) are:
- Grapes (which are toxic for dogs anyway)
Some of these fruits are okay to give your dog as long they are organically grown. Adding some organic fruit to your dog’s diet can provide great health benefits so make it a regular part of his meals.
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