There is not much I like more on a warm summers day that tucking into a punnet of Strawberries. The refreshing taste of these little red juicy fruits are a staple in our home and many other homes across America. Although we all love them as humans a common question asked by many German Shepherd owners is “Can German Shepherds Eat Strawberries?”. When we were searching the internet to see if we could share these amazing fruits with our two Shepherds, we struggled to find a conclusive answer and so, this article was born!
So, Can German Shepherds Eat Strawberries? German Shepherds can eat Strawberries. Strawberries make an amazing treat for your German Shepherd as they are full of antioxidants, high in fibre and full of Vitamin C. Strawberries can also help strengthen your German Shepherds immune system.
Let’s take a deeper dive into Strawberries to fully understand the benefits your German Shepherd can gain from eating Strawberries, the risks associated with eating strawberries and some handy treat ideas for your German Shepherd.
Table of Contents
Why can German Shepherds Eat Strawberries – Health Benefits?
German Shepherds are able to eat strawberries as they are full of incredible nutrients, low-calorie and high in both fiber and vitamin C as well as containing both Folate and Potassium. When paired together all these health benefits make a mini-super snack for your German Shepherd. It is important to remember that the keyword is snack, although packed full of health benefits strawberries should only be fed to your German Shepherd in moderation.
Let’s take a look at some of these benefits in a little more detail:
Antioxidants are amazing molecules that neautralize free radicals which are created naturally by your dogs body and stop them from harming healthy cells. Studies have shown that dogs who were fed a diet rich in antioxidants improved their body weight, lean body mass, red blood cell quality and also decreased susceptibility to disease. The study found that dogs with an antioxidant rich diet had a significantly longer life span.
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)
Vitamin B9 is a vitamin that is critical to the development of healthy red blood cells. Folate helps with cataracts, helps to maintain low cholesterol levels, and also stop arteries hardening. Research Just like when Human women are pregnant Folate is important for the development of the fetus as it is needed for the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B9 can also help to lower the chances of your German Shepherd having cancer.
Around 26% of a strawberry’s carb content comes from fiber. Fiber is great for your dogs digestive tract and helps Fiber can help to reduce constipation and diarrhea and has also been shown to reduce the risk of Colon Cancer in dogs.
Vitamin C is a vitamin that, unlike humans, dogs can produce in their bodies. Although able to produce Vitamin C naturally German Shepherds still need to get a large proportion from their diet. Vitamin C is an anti-carcinogen and can help your dog fight cancers it can also naturally help your GSD fight against illnesses such as respiratory infections, kennel cough and bacterial infections.
Also known as Thiamine, Vitamin B1 is an essential vitamin for German Shepherds. Vitamin B1 helps your Shepherd’s brain and organs to function properly.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for protein synthesis and can help facilitate healthy growth in your German Shepherd. Vitamin B6 also helps to promote the production of red blood cells as well as healthy brain function. Vitamin B6 also assists with keeping your German Shepherds heart healthy
Vitamin K, which exists in two natural forms – K1 & K2, is instrumental in assisting calcium in strengthening your Shepherds’ teeth and bones. Vitamin K also assists with Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and can also prevent heart disease. Vitamin K can also help reduce the risk of Prostate and Liver cancer.
Potassium is the third highest occurring mineral in German Shepherds. Potassium is essential for muscle growth and is key in improving your dogs motor skills. Potassium also helps to boost German Shepherds metabolism by encouraging the faster absorption of nutrients. Potassium is also important in boosting cognitive function as well as promoting healthy bones and helping to maintain organ functions.
Magnesium is a mineral that German Shepherds can find hard to absorb. Magnesium aids in the contraction and relaxation of muscles as well as assisting with muscle regeneration. Magnesium is also key for helping you German Shepherds liver and heart function at their best. Magnesium has also been discovered to assist with calming dogs.
Iodine is one of the most important trace minerals your German Shepherd can consume. Iodine is necessary for energy conversion and can assist your German Shepherd in converting their calories into energy.
Iodine is also partly responsible for helping your German Shepherd to maintain healthy body cells. Iodine can assist in maintaining a healthy heart rate and boost your German Shepherds immune system. There is some research to suggest that iodine can also shrink cancer cells in dogs.
Omega-3 is important to a German Shepherd Dogs health. Studies have shown that Omega-3 can contribute to healthy brain development in puppies. Omega-3 also helps to strengthen the immune system, fight cancer, benefit heart health and reduce inflammation in German Shepherds
Can German Shepherds Eat Strawberries – Potential Risks
Earlier in the article we mentioned treat when discussing Strawberries and this is exactly how they should be fed to your German Shepherd. Although packed full of amazing health benefits Strawberries should still be fed sparingly to your GSD. Let’s take a look at the potential risk of feeding your German Shepherd strawberries:
Just like any food strawberries can cause your Shepherd to have an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction will usually include swelling, coughing, difficulty breathing and sneezing. If you notice your Shepherd displaying any of these symptoms after eating strawberries stop feeding them immediately and consult your veterinarian.
Feeding Too Many
Like most fruit strawberries are high in sugar which some Shepherds struggle with. Feeding too many at once can cause your GSD to get an upset stomach, leaving a mess that no owner likes to have to clear up.
Being high in sugar naturally if your GSD is suffering from, or at risk of Diabetes Strawberries are best given sparingly to your Shepherd. While the odd treat should be absolutely fine, feeding your diabetic Shepherd strawberries regularly isn’t advised.
Not often considered when feeding your Shepherd the shape of strawberries make them a potential choking hazard, particularly the larger strawberries. Shepherds aren’t renowned for taking their time with their food and this can, on incredibly rare occasions, lead to choking.
Strawberry Leaves and Stems
You should avoid feeding your German Shepherd the leaves and stems of Strawberries if possible. The leaves and stems of Strawberries are slightly poisonous to dogs and although not likely to cause long term damage they can cause stomach upset.
What Strawberries should I avoid feeding to my German Shepherd?
Just because the fruit themselves are good to feed to your German Shepherd does not mean that all types of strawberry products are ok to feed to your dog. The below foods should never be fed to your German Shepherd:
Canned Strawberries or those packed is syrup should be avoided. These will be incredibly high in processed sugar which is harmful to dogs.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
This is a pretty obvious one but still needs to be said. Chocolate is toxic for dogs so Chocolate covered strawberries are a big no-no
Strawberry Ice Cream
Your German Shepherd will almost definitely love you for feeding them strawberry ice cream but their body won’t. Digestive issues are common from the consumption of ice cream made for humans and if your German Shepherd eating ice cream can cause nausea and diarrhea in your dog.
What about Jam? Can my German Shepherd Dog Eat Strawberry Jam?
Strawberry Jam is the only exception to both lists depending on the source. If you are feeding your dog homemade strawberry jam that is made without adding any additional sugar, preservative or pectin then Strawberry Jam should be ok for your German Shepherd to eat without issue. If you have purchased a shop bought Jam and are not 100% sure that it does not contain any sugar, preservatives or pectin then it should be avoided as these can be harmful to your dog.
How should you feed Strawberries to your German Shepherd
Now we’ve seen that on balance strawberries as an occasional treat are fantastic for your dog and provide a wide range of health benefits we need to look at what is the safest way to feed them to your Shepherd.
When feeding your Shepherd fresh strawberries you should ensure you have washed them thoroughly first, this helps to ensure any pesticides or other chemicals that may have been added to the strawberries are removed prior to feeding to your GSD.
Cut them into bitesize pieces
Avoid any potential choking hazards by cutting the strawberries into bitesize pieces, we would recommend quartering the strawberry prior to feeding them to your do.
Crushing them and adding them to food
Crushing strawberries and adding them to your Shepherds meal is a great way to give your dog a change of flavour while packing all the health benefits strawberries can provide.
Freezing some strawberries in summer can be a fantastic way of cooling your Shepherd on a hot day while providing them a healthy treat. You can either mush the strawberry up and mix it with water to make a small strawberry flavoured cube or freeze bitesize pieces and feed them direct to your Shepherd. Check out our bonus recipe idea below for the perfect frozen treat for your Shepherd.
How often can my German Shepherd Eat Strawberries?
It is recommended by veterinarians that treats should make up no more than 10% of your Shepherds diet and while strawberries can make a perfectly healthy treat for your German Shepherd we would advise against feeding them to your German Shepherd too frequently. Giving your German Shepherd strawberries 3-4 times a week is perfectly acceptable and, in our opinion, the ideal frequency to be feeding your German Shepherd strawberries.
The amount of strawberries you feed your Shepherd per serving will also vary depending on their size/age. Suggested serving size:
Puppy – 1 medium strawberry, cut into quarters.
Adolescent/Small Shepherd – 2 medium-large strawberries cut into quarters.
Adult Medium/Large Shepherd – 3 medium-large strawberries cut into quarters.
Bonus – Frozen Strawberry Dog Treat Recipe
- 10 Strawberries
- 1 Banana
- 1-2 tbsp Peanut Butter
- A little water
- 1 Ice Cube Tray
Step 1) Add the strawberries, banana and peanut butter to a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth and pourable. Depending on the peanut butter type you may need a little water to make the mixture smooth enough.
Step 2) Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and leave to set for at least 4 hours, longer if possible.
Step 3) Once frozen they are ready to feed to your Shepherd. We would advise against feeding too many to your Shepherd. 1 or 2 a day in the hot weather is enough.
Any leftovers that won’t fit into the ice tray make an amazing healthy treat for big and little humans too.
Strawberries make an amazing treat for German Shepherds. They provide a wide array of different health benefits including antioxidants, folic acid, fiber, Vitamins B1, B6, C & K, Pottassium, Magnesium Iodine and Omega-3. There are mild risks associated with feeding your German Shepherd strawberries and strawberries should be fed sparingly to your Shepherd.
So now we’ve answered the question “Can German Shepherds Eat Strawberries” we’d love to hear your experiences. Does your Shepherd eat strawberries? Do you have any recipe ideas using Strawberries for Shepherds? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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