Delicious and full of health-boosting nutrients, it is well known that papaya is good for humans. But can dogs eat papaya? Yes, most dogs can eat papaya, but should not have the seeds or the skin.
Of course, some will like papaya more than others but if your dog likes the taste then you can feed it as an occasional treat.
Read on for everything you need to know about feeding papaya to your furry friend!
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What is papaya?
Also known as the papaw or pawpaw, this tropical fruit is native to Mexico but is also commonly grown in the Caribbean and Florida. It will grow well in most tropical countries and nearly half the world’s supply of papaya is now grown in India.
Papaya fruit grows on trees and when ripe, its yellow-orange flesh is slightly soft and sweet. Papaya is incredibly versatile, it is often eaten raw in fruit salads, or cooked in savory dishes. It is also used in salsas, chutneys, and marinades.
Is papaya good for dogs?
Fed in moderation, papaya is good for dogs and has many health benefits. It contains the following beneficial nutrients:
Vitamin C – Papayas contain more Vitamin C than oranges! While dogs can synthesize their own Vitamin C, adding a little extra to their diet can be beneficial to their immune system and as an antioxidant, it can help to prevent free radical damage.
Vitamin C also helps to reduce inflammation and can promote wound healing.
Vitamin E – is an essential nutrient that helps to maintain healthy skin, coat, and eyes. It also promotes a healthy immune system and acts as an antioxidant throughout the body.
Vitamin K – Papaya is high in Vitamin K, which helps to maintain a healthy liver and plays an important role in blood clotting.
Vitamin B9 (Folate) – is vital for normal metabolic function, DNA synthesis, cell division, and tissue growth. It is a particularly important nutrient for pregnant female dogs as it helps to ensure the healthy development of their puppies.
Beta-carotene – This is converted to Vitamin A in the liver, however, if your dog is getting enough Vitamin A in their usual food, the beta-carotene functions as an antioxidant instead.
This is particularly beneficial in older dogs as there is evidence that the antioxidant beta-carotene can significantly improve the health of their immune system.
Lycopene – A chemical compound found in papaya (and other plants) that acts as a potent antioxidant. Unlike beta-carotene, lycopene doesn’t convert to Vitamin A, but it may help protect against cancer and it plays an important role in maintaining the health of the heart, lungs, skin, brain and eyes.
Lycopene is more bio-available when the food is cooked so you may want to consider this when adding papaya to your dog’s diet.
Papain – is an enzyme found in papaya. It is destroyed by heating so your dog will only get the benefits of papain if you feed the papaya raw. Papain helps with digestion and in particular, can help your dog digest protein.
There is also evidence that it might help fight infection and heal wounds.
Lutein – is another potent antioxidant found in papaya. It is particularly beneficial for eye health and may help to maintain visual function in senior dogs. Lutein also contributes to a healthy immune system and may help prevent cancer.
Potassium – Papaya is high in potassium, which is crucial in almost all bodily functions. Potassium is an electrolyte, meaning it works (alongside sodium) to maintain homeostasis in the body and prevent dehydration.
It is also essential for nerve function and muscle contraction- including the heart muscle, so you can see it’s pretty important!
Magnesium – Papaya is a good source of magnesium, which is essential for normal nerve and muscle function, bone health, a strong immune system, and the production of energy within the body.
Calcium – We don’t tend to associate fruit with having high calcium levels, but papaya is surprisingly high in calcium. This mineral is essential for building strong bones and teeth and for maintaining normal nerve, brain, and heart function.
Calcium is particularly important for young dogs who are still growing.
Fiber – Papaya is high in fiber, which is important for digestive health and maintaining regular bowel movements.
Can dogs eat papaya - are there any risks involved?
Papaya is generally healthy and safe to feed to dogs but owners should always be aware of the risks and benefits of feeding any food. As papaya is high in fiber, it can cause digestive problems if fed in large amounts.
Papaya seeds can also cause an intestinal blockage if eaten in large amounts so it is important to remove them before feeding papaya to your dog. They also contain small amounts of cyanide, which is poisonous and best avoided.
Papaya skin can pose a choke hazard and it is not very digestible, so it is preferable to remove the skin before feeding the fruit to your dog.
Some dogs may be intolerant of, or even allergic to, certain compounds found in papaya so it is recommended that you only feed a small amount to begin with and monitor your dog for any adverse effects.
If your dog shows any signs of abdominal discomfort, bloating, vomiting or diarrhea after eating papaya, contact your vet
Suggested reading: How many treats can my dog have a day?
Can I feed papaya to my puppy?
Papaya is not poisonous to puppies but it would be sensible to only feed it in very small amounts and supervise them carefully. Puppies should not be fed papaya skin or seeds as there is a risk of them choking or developing an internal blockage.
How should I prepare papaya before feeding it to my dog?
Papaya can be fed raw or cooked and there are health benefits to feeding it both ways.
If feeding the papaya raw, first wash the fruit to remove dirt and any chemical residues if it isn’t organic. The skin and seeds should be removed and the fruit sliced into bite-sized pieces.
If cooking the papaya, the skin and seeds should be removed, the fruit sliced, and then roasted or grilled. You should not feed fried papaya to your dog as the high-fat content could cause a digestive upset.
Remember not to add any salt, sugar, or spices if cooking papaya for your dog.
Can dogs eat papaya seeds?
No, dogs should not be fed papaya seeds. They can cause internal blockage or other gastrointestinal problems. They also contain small amounts of cyanide, which is poisonous. If your dog eats papaya seeds by accident, contact your vet for advice.
Can dogs eat dried papaya?
Most dogs can safely eat a small amount of dried papaya occasionally. It may be beneficial to their oral health as it is quite chewy. It is not recommended to feed large amounts of dried papaya or to feed it too regularly.
Can dogs eat papaya skin?
No, dogs should not eat papaya skin. It is tough and difficult to chew so may increase the risk of choking. It is not very digestible and may cause an internal blockage or gastrointestinal problems. You should always remove the skin before feeding papaya to your dog.
My dog accidentally ate some papaya, should I worry?
If your dog accidentally ate a small amount of papaya flesh, it is not poisonous and your dog is unlikely to suffer any adverse effects. If they ate some seeds or skin, it would be a good idea to contact your vet for advice. They will want to know how much they have eaten relative to their body size.
How much papaya can dogs eat?
Papaya should not be fed in large amounts or fed too regularly. Although it has many health benefits, if you feed papaya in excess it may cause the dog’s diet to be unbalanced. If the dog fills up on papaya it may not get the other essential nutrients it needs for good health.
A small amount of papaya fed every once in a while will provide your dog with all the health benefits as part of a balanced diet.
Can I give my dog papaya juice?
Papaya juice is not poisonous so don’t panic if that long tongue found its way into your glass! However, it is not recommended to let dogs drink fruit juice on a regular basis as it is high in sugar.
My dog doesn’t like papaya, are there any alternatives?
You could feed small amounts of mango, apricots, or cantaloupe as an alternative to papaya. Ensure you remove the skin and any large seeds before feeding to your dog.
Can dogs eat papaya - final thoughts
Papaya is a safe and healthy treat that most dogs can enjoy if fed in moderation and only occasionally. Just make sure you remove the skin and the seeds before feeding it to your dog. If you have any questions or concerns about feeding papaya to your dog, contact your vet for advice