Can dogs eat dragon fruit? The short answer is yes. Dogs can gain a handful of health benefits from dragon fruit, such as having a healthy and well-functioning heart and digestive system.
However, dragon fruit may also have an adverse effect on your canine companion’s health if you feed it to him without caution. Read on and discover how to feed dragon fruit safely to your dog.
What Is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit is an exotic and tropical fruit that is also known as pitaya or pitahaya. Its catchy name is inspired by the pointy scales surrounding its body, which is reminiscent of a dragon.
Dragon fruit comes from various cactuses native to Mexico and Central America. However, it has become popular in other parts of the world.
Today, this exotic fruit is cultivated in Australia, the Caribbean, Florida, and Southeast Asia. Many tropical and subtropical regions are growing dragon fruit too.
Is Dragon Fruit Healthy for Dogs?
Dragon fruit is a healthy snack for pooches. Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and many essential nutrients like selenium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, it offers the following wonderful health benefits to your canine companion:
1. Low in Calories
3.5 ounces of dragon fruit only contains 60 calories. It makes a healthy alternative dog treat for pooches that need to lose weight.
2. High in Fiber
This exotic fruit will give your dog a good amount of fiber. 1.8 grams of fiber can be found in 3.5 ounces of dragon fruit.
A dog’s digestive system can benefit from this as fiber improves its function. It also reduces the chances of stomach problems, such as constipation, and aids in weight management.
The fiber-rich dragon fruit also aids in regulating blood sugar levels in dogs and lowering cholesterol. Thus, cardiovascular diseases are also less likely to develop.
3. Vitamin C
Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C, which plays a big role in boosting the immune system of dogs. Vitamin C is also known to enhance brain function and alleviate body inflammation.
However, excessive vitamin C consumption should be avoided. Too much of it can cause kidney problems and other health problems.
4. Full of Antioxidants
Another reason why dragon fruit is good for your dog is its ability to strengthen his immune system. The tropical fruit contains high levels of antioxidants that primarily specialize in warding off free radicals.
This prevents serious health issues in dogs, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, from cropping up. The antioxidants of dragon fruit also shield cells from aging.
5. Loaded with Healthy Fatty Acids
Dragon fruit is a good source of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. These are crucial nutrients that dogs need but cannot produce on their own.
Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat, making them shiny and healthy. Both are also popular for their ability to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and allergies.
Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are also vital for the cognitive function of dogs. They aid in boosting puppies’ brain development and preventing cognitive degeneration in geriatric dogs.
6. Calcium and Iron
Calcium and iron are essential for human and dog bone growth and development. Both minerals can be found in dragon fruit.
Calcium is also needed to keep the cardiovascular system of dogs healthy. Aside from that, it supports proper nerve functions and aids in blood clotting.
Dragon fruit is a suitable snack for anemic dogs. It gives them the iron boost their body needs to manage iron deficiency.
Are There Any Risks with Feeding Dragon Fruit to Dogs?
Many fruits produce natural toxins. Fortunately, dragon fruit is not one of them so it is not toxic to dogs.
The major drawback of feeding this exotic fruit to dogs is its high sugar levels. Gobbling large amounts of dragon fruit can lead to several health problems such as:
1. Gastric Issues
Too much sugar in your dog’s digestive system can lead to tummy aches, loose stools, and diarrhea. Excessive sugar intake will also eliminate the good gut bacteria growing in his stomach.
2. Weight Gain
We mentioned that dragon fruit is a low-calorie snack that helps dogs shed pounds.
While this is true, consuming the exotic fruit in large amounts will reverse its effect. It can cause obesity due to the dragon fruit’s high sugar concentration.
3. Poor Coat and Skin Quality
High sugar levels can disrupt the endocrine system of dogs. This hinders the proper production of hormones that are crucial for keeping the skin and coat of dogs healthy. It can, later on, result in hair loss.
4. Tooth Decay
Sugar is one of the most common causes of tooth decay. For this reason, seldom give dragon fruit to your dog, and make sure to feed it to him in small amounts.
How Much Dragon Fruit Should You Feed Your Dog?
Pooches do not need to eat large quantities of dragon fruit to obtain its health benefits. Generally, 2–3 spoonfuls of dragon fruit for dogs already pack so many nutrients.
Make sure to cut the fruit’s white flesh into small pieces to keep your dog from choking on it. To make it a more interesting snack for your pooch, you can serve it frozen or mix it with his dog food.
What Types and Parts of the Dragon Fruit Are Safe for Dogs?
Dragon fruit is composed of several parts and comes in many varieties. Continue reading to figure out which parts and types of this tropical fruit are safe to share with your canine friend.
Can Dogs Have Dragon Fruit Skin?
No, do not feed your dog dragon fruit skin. He will have a hard time chewing and digesting the spiky and leathery skin. Be sure to remove it before giving him the white flesh of the fruit.
Can Dogs Eat Dragon Fruit Seeds?
Yes, dogs can eat dragon fruit seeds. These are small and soft thus they will not cause blockage in your furry friend’s stomach. So there is no need to remove the black seeds when feeding dragon fruit to him.
Can Dogs Eat Red Dragon Fruit?
Yes, your dog can eat red dragon fruit in moderation. Other common varieties of the fruit, such as the bright pink, purple, and yellow dragon fruits, are safe for your dog to eat too.
What Exotic Fruits Can Dogs Eat?
Dragon fruit is just one of the many exotic fruits pooches can eat. Here is a list of other exotic fruits you can give to your dog as a treat:
Boysenberry is a cross between the Pacific blackberry and raspberry. It originated in Anaheim, California. This exotic fruit is good for canines as it contains many nutrients, including vitamin K, iron, and potassium.
3. Blood Orange
Blood orange is a natural mutation of the orange. This exotic fruit originated in the southern Mediterranean. It is a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, and folate.
As with any fruits, always give them to your pooch in moderation. They are high in natural sugars, which can cause health issues if consumed regularly or in large amounts.
Also, note that the skins and rinds of kumquats and blood oranges are harmful to dogs. Make sure to remove them before feeding these exotic fruits to your furry friends.