As a kid, there’s nothing quite like opening the fridge and finding freshly made strawberry jelly in the fridge. My mom has this special recipe where she puts other delectable stuff in each jar.
I’ve been making the same strawberry jelly for myself even as n adult which reminds me of home. My dog Bongo will usually be nearby watching me with close intent in case I spill some on the floor and he will be happy to mop up the mess with his tongue.
Can dogs eat strawberry jelly? No, our dogs should not be eating strawberry jelly. Strawberry jelly contains a very high amount of sugar which isn’t healthy for dogs. Furthermore, commercially made strawberry jelly can contain other ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. It is fine if your dog has a couple of licks but it should not be a frequent treat for your dog as it contains little to no nutritional benefit.
In this article, let us try to further understand why human food like strawberry jelly can have an impact on our dog’s health by looking at the individual ingredients.
What Is Strawberry Jelly?
Strawberry jelly is a spread that is largely made of strawberry juice, real strawberries and pectic. By adding some sugar, acid and heat, the pectin becomes a thickening agent which allows you to easily spread or mix the strawberry jelly on other food.
Once the mixture has cooled, a muslin bag is used to strain the mixture to remove all bits and pieces of fruit.
Here are some ways you can use your strawberry jelly:
- As a bread spread
- Mix it in your yogurt
- As a topping for cupcakes and muffins
- Pancake and waffle topping
- Eat it with cheese
- Add to your pudding
It goes well with almost anything when you want to add some tartness and sweetness to the taste.
Strawberry Jelly Ingredients
In this section, we will be looking at the list of ingredients that go into the making of strawberry jelly. When giving your dog human food, it is important to know what goes into the manufacturing process.
Even though the food might seem safe in general, there can be one or two minor ingredients that aren’t oo great for dogs.
The Main Event: Strawberries
You can’t make strawberry jelly without strawberries. The fruit is used in the making of strawberry jelly but the pulp is removed at the end of the process.
In general, strawberries are fine for dogs to consume. Like most fruits, strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants which can help lower the risk of cancer, reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels.
The fruit also contains malic acid which can help whiten up your dog’s teeth if that matters to you.
Although strawberries are lower in sugar as compared to other fruits like mango and grapes, it should still be fed sparingly to your dog due to the sugar content.
Strawberries Are High In Pesticides
The Environmental World Group (EWG) lists strawberries as the produce having the most amount of pesticides in them. I’m guessing due to the rather squishy nature of the fruit, more pesticide is required to keep the bugs away.
Thankfully, the pesticide levels aren’t high enough to do damage but it can build up in toxicity over time and cause health complications.
It might be a better idea to use organic strawberries when making the jelly. It costs more but it’s safer for your family and dogs.
Strawberry Jelly Is Pretty Sweet
I have a certified sweet tooth and even I find many of the strawberry jellies that are sold commercially to contain too much sugar.
Another major ingredient in making strawberry jelly is sugar and lots of it. I can understand the need for us to have a sweet fox or sugar rush but that doesn’t apply to our dogs.
Although dogs are carnivores, they are able to taste some level of sweetness. In fact, some dogs can get addicted to sugary food very easily.
You might come across articles or other dog owners claiming that dogs need some amount of sugar or carbs in their diet but I don’t buy that.
Dogs can be happy with zero carbs or sugar for their entire lives and just survive on good old animal protein.
It has been reported that more than 56% of dogs in America are overweight. I won’t be surprised if this is due to dog owners feeding their dogs dry food (which is very carb-heavy) and unhealthy human food.
Excess sugar in your dog’s diet can lead to many health problems like:
- Kidney and liver disease
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
My dad was never on point with his diet and always had too much sugar in his diet. He had a heart attack and had to undergo a quad bypass surgery to save his life. He now has to be on life-long medication to manage his symptoms.
I’m sure you love your dog/s to bits which is why you need to be mindful when feeding your dog human food that is high in sugar content.
Pectin isn’t a very well-known ingredient to many but it is a very commonly used ingredient in many human foods as well as dog food.
Pectin is actually a soluble fiber that is found in fruits and vegetables. It works as a gelling agent which is similar to gelatin. However, gelatin comes from animals and pectin is totally plant-based.
All mammals do not have the ability to digest fiber which is why fiber helps with our bowel movements.
But too much pectin in your dog’s diet can cause some health problems like:
- Digestive issues
- Difficulty breathing
When ingested, pectin tends to absorb a lot of fluids in your dog’s body and starts to swell up. When eaten in large quantities, it can cause a blockage in your dog’s esophagus or intestinal tract.
Once this happens it can affect your dog’s breathing and food absorption. The same thing can happen if your dog eats a lot of tapioca pearls or starch. It can absorb a lot of water and pose a blockage risk.
Lemon Juice Or Citric Acid
Lemon juice or citric acid is usually added to strawberry jelly to add some tartness to the taste. Lemons also contain natural pectin which helps to set the jelly. The acidic environment also helps prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
Such ingredients are ok for humans but a dog’s body doesn’t handle anything acidic too well. it can give your dog a bad tummy ache along with vomiting and diarrhea.
Citric acid when eaten in large amounts can affect your dog’s central nervous system.
Other Toxic Ingredients
You can pretty much find anything low-fat and sugar-free these days for the weight-conscious customer. One thing to note with sugar-free jellies is that artificial sweetener is used in place of actual sugar.
The use of artificial sweeteners is fine for humans but it is highly toxic to our pets. One common component that is found in artificial sweeteners is called Xylitol.
When our dogs or cats happen to ingest xylitol, it can cause a sudden drop in their blood sugar levels which can be fatal if left untreated. Xylitol is also known to cause liver failures in dogs.
Please keep your dog away from ALL products that contain artificial sweeteners. It doesn’t always have to be food items. Even toothpaste has xylitol.
What Are The Healthier Alternative To Strawberry Jelly?
I wouldn’t recommend feeding your dog any store-bought strawberry jellies. If your dog likes the taste, it would be best to feed your pooch homemade strawberry jelly. It is a lot safer as you can control the quality of the ingredients and the amount of sugar.
Another healthier method is to let your dog eat strawberries on its own or just blend the fruit with some water or ice. Or if you enjoy baking, you could always try making plain vanilla wafers for your dog.
It is a lot more natural and healthier for your dog as the sweetness is from the natural sugars in the fruit.
Strawberry Jelly Vs Strawberry Jam
The process of making strawberry jam is very similar to making strawberry jelly. The one big difference is that for jam, fresh fruit is used and cooked until the fruit starts to break down into the consistency of a sauce.
The texture of jam is a lot thicker and stickier than jelly as jams have more body to them.
Can dogs eat strawberry jam?
Yes, they can but the same rules apply when feeding them strawberry jam. Make sure that there are no toxic ingredients and feed only as a special treat.
Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter And Strawberry Jelly?
You have to be careful when feeding your dog peanut butter. This spread is high in sugar, fat from the peanut oil and some can even contain xylitol.
I would strongly suggest that you make your own peanut butter at home so that you can control what ingredients are used.
Are Strawberry Preserves Healthy For Dogs?
Strawberry preserves are very similar to having a bottle of strawberry jam but with large chunks or whole strawberries in them.
There isn’t much difference in nutritional benefits when it comes to jams, jellies or preserves. They tend to contain a lot of sugar which isn’t too healthy for dogs.