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Can Dogs Eat Papaya? Is Papaya Good for Dogs?

While enjoying a slice of your favorite tropical fruit, have you ever wondered whether your canine friend could share it? Here’s all you need to know about dogs and papaya!

Joanna Woodnutt

Last Updated: October 19, 2020 | 6 min read

Dog Eating Papaya

This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate papaya and is reacting negatively, contact your own veterinarian right away.

Can dogs eat papaya? The short answer is yes, dogs can eat papaya safely as long as it’s fed to them in moderation. Any type of food in excess can be harmful to dogs, but generally speaking, papaya is fine, as long as your pup doesn’t have an allergy. But usually, you’ll need a bit more information before feeling safe about feeding it to your pup.

We all know that some human foods can be poisonous to dogs; some of the most important being grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, and especially the sweetener xylitol. This, very sensibly, makes us wary of feeding our dogs human food without doing our research first.

Papaya is a tropical fruit originating from Mexico and South America. It is now grown in many tropical countries around the world. Papaya turns from green to yellow-green as it ripens. The riper it is, the sweeter it gets! The flesh is orange and juicy. It also contains black seeds. It can be bought fresh, dehydrated, or frozen. In the article below, we will answer all your questions about dogs and papaya!

Is it OK for Dogs to Eat Papaya?

So, can dogs eat papaya? For most dogs, papaya can be given as a healthy treat or snack. In fact, it has many nutritional benefits. However, just like humans, dogs can be allergic to any food. Therefore, it is always important to offer your dog a small amount of any new food initially. Watch for any reactions such as vomiting and diarrhea and avoid giving any more if these occur. This is recommended, no matter the food, especially tropical foods we don’t know as much about.

Severe allergic reactions to papaya are rare. If your dog did show any signs such as a swollen face/mouth, hives or difficulty breathing then call your veterinary clinic right away. If your dog is fine, then you can try offering some more a couple of days later. Of course, your dog may not like papaya! It is sweet and juicy but does have a slightly bitter aftertaste!

Is Papaya Good for Dogs?

Sliced up Papaya
Papaya has many nutrients that can be good for dogs.

Papaya has many nutritional benefits for dogs (and humans!). Before you start introducing Papaya into your dog’s diet, you may want to know what the benefits or nutrients are. So just what nutrients are in papaya?

  • Minerals: Potassium, calcium, folate. Good for healthy bones and blood.
  • Vitamins: A, C, E, and K: Good for the immune system, skin, and fur.
  • Fiber: Helps to prevent constipation due to the high water count.
  • Antioxidants: Good for the immune system and the heart.
  • Digestive enzymes: Help to break down proteins in food.

Although papaya is lower in sugar than some other tropical fruits, it is important to remember that papaya is a source of natural sugar. One medium papaya contains around 120 calories and around 1oz of carbohydrates, 0.6oz of which are sugars. So, it is important to remember that papaya can be given as a healthy treat, but not too much or too often! Moderation is key.

Will it Make My Dog Sick?

Feeding your dog any type of food can make them ill if fed to them in excess. Generally speaking though, unless your dog is allergic to Papaya, they will not get sick when consuming it in small amounts. You should always test your dog, feeding them little bits before letting them eat more. This is especially true with tropical fruits like kiwi or pineapple. If your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can Dogs Eat The Seeds?

Papaya Seeds
Papaya seeds should not be consumed by dogs, especially in large quantities.

The black seeds found within papaya are digestible. However, they can contain tiny amounts of cyanide. While the amount present is so tiny that it is unlikely to cause a problem; it is unwise to consume too many. The seeds also taste very bitter raw, which may put your dog off! It is safest to remove the seeds from the papaya before feeding it to your dog.

Does Papaya Have Side Effects?

Again, dogs can be allergic to any food, so it is important to feed only a little initially. It is also sensible to monitor your dog for a couple of hours after any new food; so don’t give it as you are rushing out of the door! Feeding too much papaya, as with any fruit, can cause tummy ache and diarrhea. Small amounts as a treat is best.

Can Dogs Eat Papaya Skin?

Papaya with skin
Papaya skin is very tough and can be difficult to digest for canines.

Papaya skin is very hard for dogs, and humans, to digest. Eating the skin could give your dog terrible tummy pains. It also poses a potential choking hazard. Worse still, if enough is eaten, the undigested skin could get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract, causing a blockage. Should this occur, it is an emergency! You should always remove the skin before offering papaya to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Papaya Whole?

Absolutely not! The skin is very hard to digest and can cause problems, as described above. You’d also be surprised as to the things that our canine friends can swallow whole! Whole corn on the cobs is a common example. Depending on the size of your dog and the size of the papaya, it is possible that your dog could swallow the papaya without chewing it up enough.

Because the skin is so indigestible, large pieces, or indeed whole papayas, can get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract and cause a blockage. This is a very serious condition and surgery would be required to remove the blockage. Best avoided! If your dog enjoys papaya, then store them safely out of reach so they can’t help themselves!

Other Questions

If we haven’t answered all your questions about papaya yet, here are a few less common questions we’ve seen in the past. Whether it’s dehydrated papaya or further questions about quantity, we’ve attempted to answer them all below.

Can Dogs Eat Dehydrated Papaya?

As with humans, fresh is always best! Fresh fruit of any kind has the most nutritional value. Dehydrated papaya is higher in concentrated sugar. This is particularly important if your doggy is overweight, has had pancreatitis or is diabetic. In these circumstances, you should not feed dehydrated papaya. Dehydrated papaya is best avoided anyway, due to its lower nutritional value and higher sugar content.

Does Dog Food Contain Papaya?

Papaya is not a common ingredient in commercial dog food compared to common ingredients like oatmeal. However, there are some dog foods on the market that do contain papaya (for example some of the ‘Diamond Naturals’ range). Of course. commercial tailor-made and home-made diets are becoming more popular. If you are considering papaya for a home-made diet you must always consult your veterinary surgeon for advice first. This is to ensure that your dog receives a balanced and nutritionally complete diet, that is appropriate for their individual needs.

When Should Dogs Not Eat Papaya?

So, what if my dog has a medical condition? There are some medical conditions where feeding papaya may not be sensible, or may even be dangerous. Although fiber can be good for diabetic patients, high sugar content is not (even if it is natural sugar). In addition, any changes to a diabetic dog’s diet can alter the daily amount of insulin needed. Never feed a new treat to your diabetic dog without seeking advice from your veterinarian first. If your dog has had pancreatitis (or has it now), they will likely be on a controlled low-fat diet.

Feeding too much papaya could disturb this. The problem comes with knowing how much is too much for your individual doggy. In this case, it is safest to avoid adding papaya to your dog’s diet without seeking advice from your veterinarian first. The same goes if your dog has a sensitive digestive tract or has inflammatory bowel disease.

Introducing a new food type to your dog’s diet when they have a medical condition can be nerve-wracking. Always seek advice from your veterinary surgeon first to be safe. No question is a silly question when it comes to keeping their patients safe and healthy! Your veterinarian would much rather you checked in first and would never mind you seeking their advice. 

How Much Papaya Can My Dog Eat?

As a general rule, any treat given should make up less than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. ‘Treat’ means anything outside their main complete dog food, whether that’s dry or wet food, and includes all the treats, human foods, chews and other snacks you may give your dog during the day.

You can use this pet nutrition calculator to decide how many calories your dog is allowed, and how many of these should be treats. Remember that the ‘treat allowance’ includes all treats: 1-2 slices of papaya for a medium-sized dog is plenty.

Final Thoughts

What is the best way to feed my dog papaya? Fresh papaya is best, although frozen papaya on a hot summer’s day is fine too! Just make sure not to serve it straight from the freezer as this can cause ‘freezer burn’ and the papaya may stick to your dog’s tongue. Always remove the skin and seeds first. Slice the papaya into manageable sized pieces. Avoid large chunks that could pose a choking hazard.

Papaya can be a yummy and nutritious treat that you and your canine friend can enjoy together. Always check with your veterinarian before feeding papaya if your dog has a medical condition; this goes for any new foods. Remember, as with humans, moderation is key with any doggy treat! 1-2 slices a few times a week is a sensible amount for a medium-sized doggy.

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