FoodFact: Are Strawberries Safe for Dogs & Cats?
It’s quite hard to imagine a world without our favorite strawberry flavored items – be it milkshakes, ice-creams or cakes. Strawberries make the world go pink, quite literally. The obsession with this fruit is not only because of its taste but also because of its nutritional value. Strawberries are so popular that even the Beatles couldn’t stay without making Strawberry Fields Forever. But should you and your pawpaw be sharing this fruit?
ABSOLUTELY YES. Strawberries contain vitamin C, manganese, folate and potassium, and provide your pooch with iron and copper as well. But always remember that strawberries cannot substitute the proteins and fats that your pet needs to get from a more fulfilling diet comprising of meat, bones and a variety of other veggies and fruits. Pets aren’t used to plant based diets, and their bodies are not always ready to accept the nutrients the plants provide. But that shouldn’t stop you from providing all the good stuff the plants have to offer to your pet, in a way that doesn’t harm them. And that is why it’s important to understand what quantity of a fruit is safe for our pet dog or cat, and if we need to feed it in a special way to minimize any risks to their health.
Where did Strawberries come from?
Strawberries found their first roots in Brittany, France, during the late 18th century. Before they began to be cultivated in gardens, strawberries were only a wild fruit. They began to be domesticated in French households due to the patronization it received by the French king, Charles V. Strawberries were believed to be an antidepressant. He was so convinced of their medicinal benefits that the royal garden had more than 1200 strawberry plants at the time.
Word spread to other European countries and despite their rivalry, England was soon convinced to grow strawberries. In fact, royal orders directing people to grow the red fruit have been discovered by historians.
What do strawberries contain?
Botanically called Fragaria Ananassa, strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese, potassium and folate. They also contain iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins B-6, K and E. A rough estimate suggests that strawberries are composed of 91% water, 7.7% carbs. Fat roughly squares up to be around 0.3% and protein to about 0.7%. Every 100g of strawberries contains 32g of calories with only 7.7g of carbohydrates, 4.9g of which are sugars.
What does that mean for my pet?
A good fruit for your pet is one that contains essential nutrients and vitamins, is low on sugar and fat, and keeps your pet hydrated. Fruits can never be used to replace a meat-based diet, but go a long way in helping your pet’s digestive system by keeping them constipation-free, and reducing bowel troubles. The vitamins and minerals are important for the upkeep of your pet’s bones, teeth, skin, and hair. To keep obesity and diabetes in check, it is important that the fruits in question are low on sugar and are non-toxic.
Strawberries are absolutely safe for your pets to relish. Vitamin C assists in the upkeep of bones, teeth, skin and hair. It is also responsible for the formation of collagen, which is the building block of all connective tissue. Collagen from natural sources is the safest way to strengthen your pet’s bones and teeth. It can even add that layer of glimmer to your pet’s hair.
As fresh strawberries are high in water content, they add very few calories to the body. This is good news for diabetic, obese and aging dogs, as the total digestible carbs are very low and are present as simple sugars, which are water soluble. The fiber present in strawberries helps get rid of constipation. Strawberries have anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer properties. Folate is one of the B-vitamins and is needed to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA.
When giving strawberries to your pet, ensure that the leaves and stems are removed, as they may upset your pet’s stomach. Be sure to wash the fruit thoroughly to ensure that no worms make their way to your pet’s tummy.
Strawberries are a go! Feel free to add this fruit to your pet’s diet. Limit each serving to small portions, and remember to remove the leaves and the stems. Always wash the fruit nicely and cut up into smaller pieces to avoid the risk of choking. Strawberry as a fruit is good for your pet, but stay away from strawberry flavored ice-creams and milkshakes. They contain artificial sugars and often colors and flavors that may be toxic for your dog.
Got a strawberry recipe to share? Post them in the comments below.
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
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