Can Dogs Eat Papaya? Is It Safe?
Is Papaya Safe for Your Dog?
Our dogs are our best friends in fur form! We love spending time with them and having them share in our experiences. One of the things we often love to do is share a delicious treat with them. If we think it’s yummy, then they will too, right?
Well, sometimes. It’s important to be careful what you’re feeding your furry friend because there are proteins and enzymes in certain foods that react negatively with a dog’s system.
Furthermore, many dog owners are moving toward feeding their pets a whole-food and/or raw-food diet as opposed to traditional dry or wet dog foods sold at grocery and pet stores. The reason? They believe that doing so gives dogs more nutrients in a bio-available form and prevents them from consuming too many preservatives, food dyes, and other substances which may be harmful.
However, since not all human foods are safe for dogs, it’s important to make sure that every food you’re adding to your dog’s diet is safe for them.
One of the foods you’re probably wondering about is papaya. Papaya is often included in many of the commercial dog foods available, which could be another reason you wondered about it, to begin with. It comes in about five percent of traditionally prepared foods—more often in wet brands than dry. Since it’s in foods you can pull right off the shelf, it should be fine to give your dog, right? In most cases, yes! Let’s look at the benefits of papaya and the situations in which you should take extra care.
Benefits of Papaya for Dogs
Papaya is a fruit, which means it’s full of important vitamins and minerals. It’s also a beautiful bright orange color, which usually means it’s rich in healthy properties. No matter how technologically advanced our food-creation systems are, there’s nothing that beats the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals in their natural form.
Fruit should be considered a treat for dogs. It’s sweet and juicy and is a great experience to expose them to food with a different smell, taste, and texture, as well as varied nutrients. However, just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it needs to be a staple of their diet. Too much sugar isn’t good for pets (or people!).
Papaya is also rich in fiber, which is great for encouraging healthy digestion. Indeed, if your dog suffers from gastrointestinal issues, diarrhea, or excessive gas, papaya might help move things along in the right direction.
Papaya tablets are another form in which you might find this digestive-aid fruit. Check with your veterinarian about the efficacy and safety of the brand of papaya tablets that you want to give your canine friend; if you find them in a pet store or labeled for animal
consumption, they’re probably fine, but it’s always best to be sure. Then, make sure that the amount you’re giving them is appropriate for their size.
Since papaya is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it will help boost your dog’s natural immunities, too! This fruit is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory enzymes, such as papain and chymopapain. It’s also one of the fruits with the highest concentration of vitamin C, which is great for fighting germs. There’s always a benefit in anything that can keep your animal pal healthy and happy for as long as possible.
Another benefit—papaya lowers the risk of colon cancer! Thus, if you have an aging dog for whom you’re wanting to improve their chances of being with you for many more years, papaya is a great choice of treat. It also makes food sweeter, so if your older pup is having a hard time eating in their later years, you could add some blended papaya to their food to make it more appetizing.
If you’ve come across an abundance of papaya and want to utilize it, you might think to dehydrate it and use it as dog treats for the future. Is it okay for dogs to have papaya in dried form? Yes! Remember, though, that dehydrated papaya (as with any dried fruit) contains more sugar per gram than its fresh counterpart. This is important to avoid if your dog has diabetes or any other condition in which you need to limit its sugar intake.
What to Watch for When Trying a New Food
When giving papaya (or any other fruit) to your dog, make sure to carefully remove the skin, seeds, shell, or pit. Since papaya is soft, you won’t need to cook it beforehand. However, make sure that the fruit isn’t overly ripe or moldy, as that could cause digestive problems. In the wild, dogs don’t get to pick over a produce basket for the most appealing and attractive food. Thus, a fruit that might not be entirely appetizing to you is going to taste just fine to them—but you still don’t want to give them something that has turned from “past its prime” to “inedible.”
Just as with any new food, if you’re trying papaya for your pup make sure that it’s sized appropriately for them. A German shepherd, for example, can consume papaya in large slices, while a chihuahua may need it diced into small pieces.
Then, watch for an allergic reaction or an aversion. If your dog seems to act strange or be uncomfortable, take them to see the vet and let them know that you gave them new food.
When you’re purchasing papaya for your dog, organic is always best—if you can find it. If those aren’t available, though, that’s okay. Just wash the fruit and rinse it well. Try to select fresh papayas that are soft to the touch—the perfect degree of ripeness means that they’re higher in antioxidants.
Other Fruits That Are Safe To Eat for Your Dog
Papaya isn’t the only fruit with health benefits for your canine companion. If your dog tends to turn up its nose at a treat that’s been offered many times before, or if you simply want to add variety to their diet, you can try these fruits as well:
Remember that grapes and raisins are never fruits you should feed your dog. These have particular enzymes in them that are toxic to dogs—avoid grapes and raisins around your dog like you avoid chocolate! We have compiled a big list of all the fruits your dogs should eat here.
Although some dogs will show a preference for certain foods and an avoidance of others, many will eat everything within their reach. They don’t necessarily know what human foods are good or bad for them, so it’s your responsibility as their owner and provider to ensure that the only things passing those lips are safe.
Papaya is a wonderful treat or addition to your dog’s diet. It’s full of nutritious vitamins (such as A, C, E, and K), minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium) and rich in fiber. These all add to the overall health of their digestive system, bone structure, and immunity. Papaya is also full of antioxidants, which fight cancer and help lessen the effects of environmental toxins. They also help promote shiny skin and coat. Everyone loves a beautiful, soft doggy! The specific enzymes in papaya, papain, and chymopapain are powerful anti-inflammatory elements, too, which can help dogs that suffer from any inflammation-related struggle.
Plus, it’s a juicy and delicious fruit, which gives your pup a burst of energy and some extra pep in their step! You can feel safe giving papaya to your dog.
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