Can dogs eat papaya?

Can dogs eat papaya?

Papaya, whose scientific name is Carica papaya , is a tropical fruit of the Caricaceae family. Despite the fact that it is a fruit native to Central America, its nutritional properties and its appreciated flavor have led to its cultivation today in countries around the world.

Knowing the value of this tropical fruit in people’s diets, you may be wondering if dogs can eat papaya . Indeed, it is a fruit suitable for dogs that can provide them with multiple nutritional benefits. However, a series of considerations must be taken into account before including it in the diet of our pets, in order to avoid any unwanted effects on their health. 

Is papaya good for dogs?

Papaya is a fruit that is generally liked by most dogs, due to its sweet flavor and the texture it acquires when ripe. Its multiple nutritional benefits, added to the absence of toxic substances for your body, make this fruit a suitable food for dogs .

However, there are some considerations that must be taken into account before incorporating this fruit into the diet of dogs. On the one hand, it should be considered that, like the rest of the fruits suitable for dogs, it should be provided in moderation . On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that, although the pulp of the fruit is edible, the seeds and the peel can have detrimental effects on the health of dogs. In the following sections we explain in more detail the effects that papaya seeds and peel can have on dogs.

Benefits of papaya for dogs

As we have already mentioned, papaya is a suitable fruit for dogs that can provide them with multiple nutritional benefits. Next, we collect the main benefits of papaya for dogs:

Papaya stands out for being a low-calorie fruit : due to its low carbohydrate content. For this reason, it can be offered as a low-calorie treat to those animals that require a low-energy diet, such as overweight dogs. 
Like most fruits, papaya is a good source of fiber : although the dog’s digestive system is not capable of digesting fiber, it is an essential nutrient in their diet. Among other things, fiber adds volume to the ration, creates a feeling of satiety, regulates intestinal transit, promotes the growth of a beneficial intestinal microbiota and regulates stool consistency. It has a high content of vitamin C : even higher than some citrus fruits such as oranges. This vitamin helps reduce oxidative stress, promotes collagen production and participates in the formation of the bone skeleton. 

It contains considerable amounts of vitamin A : this vitamin is involved in multiple functions in the body, including vision, keratinization, maintenance of the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, and the proper functioning of the immune system and reproduction.
It is a good source of minerals : among which calcium, magnesium and potassium stand out. Do not hesitate to take a look at Foods containing calcium for dogs to know more about the subject.
It contains an enzyme called papain : which helps in the digestion process and helps to neutralize gastric acidity. For this reason, it can be beneficial in dogs suffering from gastritis. If you want to know more about Gastritis in dogs: its symptoms and treatment , you can get more information here.


How to feed papaya to your dog

Once we know that papaya is a suitable fruit for dogs, we will explain how we should offer it to them. The best option is to offer the fruit in its natural state . You should avoid administering frozen papaya (due to the risk of suffocation that it entails) and dehydrated papaya (due to its high sugar content).

The first step to take into account is the selection of the fruit. The pieces that are in an optimal state of maturation must be chosen , which will be those that have a firm but soft texture and a color between yellow and orange.

Once selected, you must remove the shell and seeds to avoid the harmful effects they can cause in dogs. Once you have obtained the pulp, you can cut it into cubes and offer it directly to your dog. Remember that, like other fruits suitable for dogs, papaya should be offered in moderation. You can include it in their diet as a reward , occasionally, but it should not be a regular food in their ration.


Contraindications of papaya for dogs

Although papaya is a suitable fruit for dogs, there are some situations in which its administration may be contraindicated:

Food allergies: dogs with food allergies should be prevented from eating any food outside of their diet, to avoid unwanted hypersensitivity reactions. Chronic digestive pathologies (such as inflammatory bowel disease), food intolerances or dogs with a digestive system that is very sensitive to changes in diet. Here you can find more information about Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment .
Pregnancy : Although its effect on pregnant bitches has not been studied, it is advisable to avoid this fruit during pregnancy, since papain can induce uterine contractions and abortion in pregnant women.

What happens if my dog eats papaya peel?

The ingestion of papaya peel can cause several unwanted effects on your dog’s health:

Because of its texture and hardness, the shell can be a choking hazard .
The digestive system of dogs is not able to digest the bark, which can cause gastrointestinal symptoms characterized by diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
In addition, as it is not digested, it can cause intestinal obstruction .
What happens if my dog eats papaya seeds?
There are studies that show that powdered papaya seeds can have a natural antiparasitic effect , especially against coccidia and some helminths such as Toxocara.

However, the raw seeds (as found in the fruit) can have detrimental effects on the health of dogs:

They can cause intestinal obstruction : since the digestive system of dogs is unable to digest them.
They can be toxic: because they contain chloroform extracts.
In the long term, they produce significant reductions in sperm concentration and motility in dogs.
They cause damage to Sertoli cells and alter the environment of the epididymis.
For all these reasons, it is important that before offering papaya to your dog, you make sure to separate the pulp from the skin and the seeds. In this way, you will avoid any unwanted effects on your health.

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