June 29, 2020

Can Dogs Eat Papaya?

Risks, Benefits & Serving Size

Fact checked by Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

Unlike cats, dogs are not true carnivores, but rather omnivores. They get most of their energy requirements from animal fat and protein, but they also benefit from some fruit and veggies to supplement their meat intake.

We love our canines, and it can be tempting to feed them the stuff that we find tasty – care is needed here, though. Many dogs will happily snap up whatever tidbits you toss their way. They don't stop to think, but not all fruit and veggies are safe for dogs. It's up to you to make sure your dog doesn't eat something that's bad for him.

Can Dogs Eat Papaya?

Yes, dogs can eat papaya, and it can be a healthy treat for your canine. However, the seeds should be removed because they contain trace amounts of cyanide and may cause intestinal blockages. Also, papaya may cause health issues and is not suitable for all dogs.

Papaya is one of the healthier fruit choices for your dog. This tropical fruit contains some useful nutrients and has several health benefits. Many dogs love the taste and will enjoy eating this soft fruit. [1.]

The flesh of the fruit itself is good to feed to your dog. The skin and seeds are not, and are best avoided. The skin is not toxic but is not very digestible either. Papaya seeds, on the other hand, do contain small amounts of cyanide.

If your dog swallows a few seeds, nothing much will happen, as the cyanide content is very low. But ingested in larger quantities, it may cause problems.

Health Benefits: Is Papaya Good for Dogs?

A dog's main diet should consist of well-balanced dog food from a quality manufacturer. But dogs will gladly enjoy fruit as a treat. And provided it is fed as an occasional snack, it can have lots of benefits for your doggo.

Papaya is a great, healthy choice of fruit to feed your dog. 

Rich Source of Vitamin C

Dogs can synthesize their own vitamin C and do not necessarily require a daily dose in their diet. However, an occasional booster dose really doesn't hurt. It is especially true if your dog is recovering from injury or illness.

Vitamin C is essential to the body for several processes. It is needed in healing wounds and forming scar tissue. The body also uses it to repair and maintain cartilage, teeth, and bones. And finally, vitamin C is a component in building blood vessels, skin, and connective tissue.

This vitamin also plays a crucial role in the immune system. It is a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect cells from free radical damage. Papaya is a very rich source of vitamin C.

Papaya

Good Fiber Content

Papayas are relatively high-fiber fruits. It is a good reason to choose papaya over some other fruits when selecting a treat. Dogs, just like humans, need fiber in their diet to help with digestion.

Fiber is especially useful when digesting sugars. It slows down absorption, preventing blood sugar spikes from happening. For this reason, fruit rich in fiber is better to feed your dog than one having little or none. It is also the reason fruit juice is not good for dogs. Juice contains all the sugar and none of the fiber.

Can Help with Minor Digestive Issues

Papaya is a soft, fibrous fruit that is easy to swallow but takes some work to digest. It is known to be beneficial in minor digestive issues like bloating and mild constipation.

If your dog is suffering from a minor tummy upset of this nature, papaya could help clear it. For anything more serious, you will, of course, have to ask your vet for advice.

Papaya Contains Antioxidants

This tropical fruit is a rich source of several antioxidants, including beta-carotene and lycopene. These play a vital role in keeping your dog healthy. Antioxidants are responsible for limiting and sometimes reversing damage to body cells caused by free radicals. They have anti-inflammatory properties and help to boost the immune system.

Your pet should be getting all the nutrition he needs from a well-balanced food designed for dogs, but the occasional helping of papaya and other fruit containing antioxidants will help boost your dog's overall health.

Good Source of Vitamin A

Papaya is also quite rich in vitamin A, an essential nutrient for your dog. It acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells against damage from free radicals.

Vitamin A is also important for maintaining good vision and overall eye health. It is especially crucial for maintaining night vision. One of the first symptoms of a lack of vitamin A in your dog is the loss of night vision.

This vitamin is also used in the formation of white blood cells, mucus membranes, and soft tissues. And it is also necessary for repairing skin tissue. It signals cells to grow at a faster rate, bringing healthy new skin cells to the surface.

Health Risks: Is Papaya Bad for Dogs?

Papaya has lots of health benefits for dogs, as we've already seen. It's a good source of some vital nutrients and comes with a good amount of fiber. But there are some things to consider before feeding any to your dog.

If your pooch has any health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, or a sensitive tummy, you shouldn't give them papaya without discussing it with your veterinarian beforehand.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Skin Can Be Problematic

The skin of this fruit is not toxic to dogs in and of itself. There is no risk of poisoning if your dog accidentally swallows some. The problem is that papaya skins are hard for a dog to chew through. Many times your dog will not bother and simply swallow it as is. It can cause a choking hazard for your dog, especially if it is on the smaller side.

The other problem is that your dog cannot digest papaya skins. If any are ingested, they may end up getting stuck in your dog's gut and causing intestinal blockage. It's always best to remove the skin before feeding your dog any papaya.

Seeds Contain Cyanide

Papaya seeds are known to contain cyanide. Thankfully, it is in very small amounts. There's no need to panic if your dog has accidentally swallowed a few papaya seeds. The cyanide content is too small to cause any serious issues.

But you do need to make sure your dog doesn't ingest a larger quantity of seeds. It could upset the digestive system, causing mild to medium discomfort. If you're concerned, you should always contact your veterinarian immediately.

Sugar Content

Papaya offers excellent nutrition and provides some health benefits to your dog. But these can be offset if you feed too much too frequently. Papaya, like most other fruits, is quite high in sugar. Dogs were not built to digest large amounts of sugar. It can upset the balance of the flora in their gut systems, causing gastrointestinal issues.

Another issue with feeding your dog too much sugar is the risk of obesity and related conditions. If your dog is pre-diabetic or already has diabetes, it is probably best to avoid feeding fruit altogether. In cases like these, it's best to consult your vet on the best diet for your dog.

Papaya Can Be a Laxative

Papaya has properties that make it good with handling minor flatulence and constipation. But if ingested in larger quantities, these same properties turn it into a laxative. Avoid giving your dog too much papaya at once, as it can cause diarrhea.

Serving Size and How to Feed?

Papaya is good for an otherwise healthy dog but needs to be fed in moderation. It works best when fed as an occasional snack.

Serve as an occasional treat.

Peel and Remove the Seeds

To prevent any intestinal blockages and poisoning, be sure to remove the peels and seeds before feeding. Cut a couple of small slices and let your dog enjoy it.

Don't Feed Daily

Daily doses of papaya, or any other fruit, are likely to overdose your dog on sugar. Papaya is best served as an occasional treat.

Nutrition Facts

Papaya is a rich source of some essential vitamins. It contains a hefty 60.9 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. It also contains 950 IU of vitamin A and several vitamins in the B complex in smaller quantities. [2.]

This fruit also contains all 10 essential minerals, although in smaller quantities. Among these are calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper.

The thing to remember is that papaya is quite high on sugar, containing 7.8 grams for every 100g. It is for this reason you shouldn't feed your dog too much of it.

Bottom line: Can Dogs Have Papaya?

Papaya is a great, healthy choice of fruit to feed your dog. Rich in vitamins C and A, it is also a good source of several antioxidants. It even contains the whole set of essential minerals, although in small quantities.

Removing the skin and seeds eliminates any risks of choking, blockage, and poisoning.

Just remember not to feed too much or too frequently. A couple of small slices occasionally is generally safe. If your dog is predisposed to gaining weight or has some pre-existing medical conditions, consult your vet first. They may recommend avoiding fruit altogether.

Papaya for Dogs - FAQ

Does papaya hurt my dog?

Yes, papaya can hurt your dog if fed incorrectly. Papaya will not hurt your dog as long as it is peeled and the seeds are removed. Papayas can be a healthy treat for your dog, but the seeds should be removed first because they can cause intestinal blockages, and they contain trace amounts of cyanide, which is a toxin. Also, the skin of papaya can be hard to chew and digest, and it may cause intestinal obstructions too. You should also be aware that the fiber and sugar in papaya may cause an upset stomach for dogs with a sensitive tummy.

Vet's Comment

Pups love papaya as a general rule! A tasty, juicy treat that's also high in fiber is great for your pet, but there are some reasons to be cautious.

If your pooch has any health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, or a sensitive tummy, you shouldn't give them papaya without discussing it with your veterinarian beforehand.

The skin of papaya isn't toxic to our canine companions, but it's not very digestible and can cause an intestinal obstruction (which may need surgery to treat). Also, pesticides used in commercial food production tend to concentrate within the fruit's skin.

Tiny amounts of cyanide are found in papaya seeds, so while the odd seed won't bother most dogs, it's best to avoid them altogether as smaller pups won't need to eat as many before they may cause problems.

- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Dr. Edele Grey Veterinary Surgeon

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Edele Grey
DVM

Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your dog's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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