Here in central NY much of our local food bounty is ripening. A few farms have pick your own strawberries now such as TassleBerry Farms in Clark Mills and other farms are offering pick your own raspberries and currants. Many farm stands like North Star Orchards in Westmoreland and the local farmers’ markets in Clinton, Rome, Utica and Westmoreland all offer fresh produce, including berries.
Fresh berries provide plenty of vitamin C and fresh antioxidants. Be sure to wash any produce you pick at a commercial farm before you offer it to your pets. Fertilizers and possibly herbicides may have been used.
All of the great health benefits that berries provide for us also apply to our pets. Many pets will enjoy fresh berries. While cats are universally thought of as obligate carnivores, some cats will enjoy some berries. Pet birds generally love fresh berries – beware berry juice stains from exuberant feasts however!
Dogs enjoy “pick your own”. They will seek out wild strawberries while walking in fields and cut grass areas. Wild blackberry bushes provide plenty of tasty treats. Dogs who are connoisseurs will carefully and gently pull on a berry to see if it is ripe. If it doesn’t fall into their mouths easily, they pass and move on to try another. Color does not seem to register with them. Wild berries have the advantage of no chemical sprays so they are safe for your dog to enjoy on his own.
Berries can be dried or frozen to give your pets treats in the off season as well. Blueberries seem to be a particular hit for many dogs. So share your local berry bounty with your pets for health and a tasty treat!
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