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Can Dogs Eat Papaya?
Does your canine friend covet your papaya? With its sweet golden-red fruit and smooth, butter-like texture, papaya is a delicious tropical fruit that brings plenty of nutrition benefits to us humans. Rich in Vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and other enzymes, papaya enhances digestive health and provides a healthy snack alternative over-processed sugars and sweets.
We know that dogs also benefit nutritionally from adding a controlled portion of fruits or vegetables to their daily diets. But can dogs eat papaya?
The simple answer is YES! You can feed your dog papaya, but please read on to learn more about the benefits and potential hazards of feeding your dog this fruit before you toss a papaya to Fido!
Benefits of Papaya for Dogs
Vitamin-rich papaya can have a positive impact on your dog’s health. Papaya’s vitamins may be especially beneficial for puppies and young adult dogs that are still growing, since both potassium and calcium from the papaya promote bone health and density.
Think of papaya as an occasional special treat you are feeding your dog rather than a critical part of its daily diet. Since fruits and vegetables are not a necessary or essential part of a dog’s diet, specialists recommend that you limit your furry companion’s intake of these foods to a maximum of 10% of their caloric intake daily.
As with all the snacks, if given occasionally and in limited portions, papaya could contribute to the nutritional health of your dog and help maintain a balanced diet.
Potential Hazards to Your Dog
Although papaya is generally safe, you should be aware of several hazards connected to papaya consumption by dogs. Please become familiar with these before allowing your dog to eat papaya.
The most obvious issue is the fact that papaya skin can cause gut irritation and blockage in dogs. Avoid feeding papaya skins or whole fruits to your dog.
The papaya seeds located at the center of the fruit pose an even more significant hazard. Not only do they cause gut irritation and blockage, but they contain small amounts of cyanide, a well-known super-toxin harmful to both humans and dogs.
A third hazard to consider is how papayas might contribute to your dog’s high glucose level. Because of the high sugar content in the fruit, diabetic dogs should steer away from papaya as well as other sugar-rich fruits.
Finally, papaya presents a possible choking hazard. Unless the papaya pieces are the right shape and size, and without skin, dogs might have trouble swallowing the larger chunks of the fruit.
How to Feed Papaya to Your Dog
If you decide to feed your dog papaya, hoping that its benefits may help improve your pet’s health, what’s the best way to do so without endangering your dog? Be sure to pay attention to the following tips:
- Peel it and seed it. Never feed your dog the whole papaya fruit. Always remove the skin, as it may cause blockage and gut irritation. The same goes for the seeds, which contain small amounts of cyanide, a common toxin.
- Chop it up. Slice the fleshy fruit of the papaya into bite-sized chunks that your dog is comfortable eating. Small pieces will avoid the choking hazards presented by papaya fruit.
- Introduce it gradually. Start by offering your pet only bite-sized pieces of papaya to avoid overdoing it. Carefully track your dog’s reaction to papaya, and act accordingly in the future.
- Limit portions. Remember the 10% rule for all fruits and vegetables combined, and do not overfeed fruits to your dog.
- Be aware of sugar content. If your dog is a diabetic, avoid papaya altogether, as well as other fruits with high sugar content.
In summary, papaya is a safe and healthy choice as a small treat for your pup. However, be sure to only offer it only in small portions—peeled, seeded, and chopped—and to observe your pet for any signs of digestive problems or a problem with glucose metabolism for a diabetic dog.